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Remapping the Destination

Remapping the Destination

(p.100) 4 Remapping the Destination
Days of Awe
Atalia Omer
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the grassroots emergence of prophetic moral leadership and alternative conceptions of Jewish tradition. Several key trends are the focus here: the revival of Jewish tradition as social justice oriented and joyful, rather than beholden to narratives of death and destruction and exclusionary forms of tribal solidarity; the work of rabbinic activists in re-figuring Jewish traditions along lines dictated by grassroots communal authority; and various tactics for creative hermeneutical engagement with text, history, and memory. The upshot is a conception of Jewish liberation as interlinked with that of others--and thus freed from the constraints of a Zionist teleology and the balkanization of non-intersectional identity politics. The process of critical caretaking, meaning a critical unlearning but also constructive re-scripting, sheds light on the transformative capacities of moral shocks to generate new communal meanings or public narratives, revealing multifaceted layers of tradition-specific historical, symbolic, and textual interpretations and memories. The chapter situates the current turn to valorize diaspora Judaism within its deeper history of modern Jewish though and political imagination. It also examines the process of religious innovation as multiperspectival, relational, and intersectional, unfolding through social movement dynamics.

Keywords:   critical caretaking, Constantinian Judaism, diasporic Judaism, Jewish humanism, prophetic Judaism

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