To label 2017 an annus horribilis might be a stretch, but there’s no doubt the past year has been difficult for our Jewish community.
Rifts have widened between American Jews and Israel, as disagreements over religious pluralism and West Bank settlements in particular continue to plague that crucial relationship.
On the domestic front, Jewish organizations and numerous individual Jews have locked horns with the Trump administration over immigration, travel bans, environmental protections and what many consider the steady dismantling of the country’s social and economic safety net. This week’s passage of the tax overhaul — which will balloon the deficit, open the Arctic to oil drilling and deliver a body blow to the Affordable Care Act — only adds fuel to that fire.
The past year also has seen a marked increase in public expressions of hatred and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. Swastikas on campus, white supremacist rallies and anti-Israel vitriol are on the rise, and present a very real danger.
These destructive changes affect everyone. No one could be blamed for feeling especially gloomy heading into the new year.
And yet, our responsibility here at J. is not just to bring you this news, but to provide discussion, context and analysis. What does it all mean? How are people standing up against hate? How are we building a better society, here in the Bay Area and around the world?
We take seriously our mission, and want to highlight some of our upcoming issues.
In January, you will hear from local Jews who support Trump — among the nearly 30 percent of American Jews who voted for him, many of whom feel ostracized because of it. How can we listen to each other more thoughtfully?
In February, the S.F.-based Federation is releasing the results of the most comprehensive demographic study to date of the Bay Area Jewish community. From this data, we will learn more about who we are, where we live and what we believe. J. will be digging into the study results in granular detail.
In April, Israel celebrates its 70th birthday. J. will cover this monumental event with articles and opinion pieces examining how the Jewish nation has developed and changed, and how we have changed with it.
Despite the thousand natural shocks we endured in 2017, as Jews we know that where there is life, there is hope. And there is an abundance of life in our vital Jewish community.
We wish our readers a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.