Neumann, Jonathan. “To Heal the World?: How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel”, AllPoints Books, 2018.
Jonathan Neumann provides a devastating critique of the presumed theological basis of the Jewish social justice movement; the concept of healing the world.
Tikkun olam is an obscure Hebrew phrase that literally means “healing the world.” According to Jonathan Neumann, it is the master concept that is at the core of Jewish left wing activism and its agenda of transformative change. Those who follow this claim that the Bible asks for more than piety and moral behavior—Jews must also endeavor to make the world a better place.
Tikkun Olam has permeated Jewish teaching, preaching, scholarship and political engagement and has led to overwhelming Jewish participation in the social justice movement due to the belief such actions are biblically mandated. However, the Bible says no such thing.
Neumann shows that tikkun olam is an invention of the Jewish left and has diluted years of Jewish practice and belief into a vague feel-good religion of social justice. Neumann uses religious and political history to show how the Bible was twisted by Jewish liberals to support a radical left-wing agenda.
We learn that the Jewish Renewal movement aligned itself with the New Left of the 1960s, and redirected the perspective of the Jewish community toward liberalism and social justice. This has no real biblical basis.
Today there is a strong and growing group of Jews who are critical of liberal ideology and of their fellow Jews who embrace it. Some say that this book “is a devastating exposé of one of the worst vices in American Jewish life — the penchant of many rabbis and communal leaders to pass their own progressive politics off as continuous with the classical Jewish sources. It also opens a window onto a conception of Judaism that is broader, less partisan, and spiritually richer than many Americans have ever known.”
For too long, the Jewish left has used Jewish sloganeering to serve their leftism, claiming that ‘tikkun olam’ dictates their politics. Neumann shows that the combination of Judaism and leftism is damaging to Jewishness itself, and that those who claim they are healing the world on God’s behalf. In actuality, Neumann says, the roots of Judeo-Christian civilization are being torn apart.
Neumann documents “the distortion and destruction wreaked by an assortment of misguided and agenda-driven left-wing icons and activists during the past half century.”
We have a new generation of Jews that values traditional Judaism in its wholeness, and wants to be specifically Jewish. They value religious freedom and see how tikkun olam has been imposed on Judaism by a corrupt and gradually dying left-wing American Jewish establishment.
Neumann gives a detailed analysis of how most American Jews, aided and abetted by the Reform and Conservative movements, have abandoned traditional Jewish thinking and practice) and replaced it with a relatively minor concept in the Jewish tradition known as Tikkun Olam or social justice. Unfortunately, many Jews have been taken into Tikkun Olam without having a clue as to what it’s all about, or even what their tradition is all about. The author does a brilliant job of showing how many Biblical texts have been re-interpreted to fit the theology of Tikkun Olam, and Judaism is being replaced by a leftist political movement.