Some time ago, I wrote a post called "is there such a thing as Jewish feminism?". Since then, after participating in a few online discussions, I have discovered that far from wondering about whether there is a connection - there are people who are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jews are the ones to blame for all ills of modern society that stem from Marxism and feminism, such as destruction of the family, devaluing of men, promiscuity, "no-fault" divorce and "safe and legal" abortions.
The logic? "Karl Marx had been Jewish. Betty Friedan and other feminist leaders had been Jewish. Thus, Jews are, of course, guilty". You might be rolling your eyes now, but some people claim - with full conviction - that the feminist promotion of abortion "rights" is actually part of a Jewish conspiracy to eliminate as many non-Jewish children as possible.
Are you shocked? I'm not. After all, we were the ones accused of using blood of Christian children as a part of our traditional Passover matzo recipe. And that didn't end in the Middle Ages, either. Remember the trial of Beilis? It was in 1913, people. The irony of these specific, recurring blood libels is that it's absolutely prohibited under Jewish Law to consume blood - any blood, in any form - and anyone who knows just a wee bit about Jewish dietary laws could testify to that.
Still, many of the leaders of social movements that wrecked havoc throughout the last century had been Jewish. However, none of them - as far as I remember - had been observant. Karl Marx was born into a family of Jews who rejected their faith and heritage for the possibility of social acceptance and career, and eventually became an atheist. Betty Friedan was far from being a religious Jewish woman. I could go on and on, but you get the idea - none of these people could represent, even remotely, the Jewish faith, philosophy, tradition, values or culture.
In Proverbs 3, wisdom based on the Lord's teachings is described as "more precious than rubies"; it is "a tree of life to those who embrace her". As Jews, we are given tremendous potential and a powerful drive to change the world for the better, but to use it wisely, we need to align our thoughts, plans and desires with the holy Torah - our tree of life. Unfortunately, there have been some misguided Jews in every generation, which gave us people like Karl Marx, Betty Friedan and Moshe Rosen.
Letting go of the tree of life inevitably results in death - death of family, of motherhood, of society. Death of millions of innocent children murdered in their mother's womb. Jews have impacted the world tremendously, considering the fact that we are, perhaps, 0.1% of the world's population and never made any particular effort to expand our numbers. A Jew who abandons his faith remains a carrier of great potential, which can become destructive.
Imagine how different our world could be, if instead of atheist-Jew Karl Marx, we had rabbi Karl Marx, who dedicated his entire life to studying the matters of social justice and treatment of the poor and downtrodden according to Jewish Law. Imagine if instead of feminist Betty Friedan, we had rebbetzin Betty, the proud mother of twelve children and a Jewish marriage counselor.
Nothing like it can happen once Jews no longer embrace the Torah, our tree of life. Let's hold on to it.