What are Jewish values?

If you hang around liberal and non-Orthodox Jews for a bit you start hearing some key phrases over and over again. Tikkun Olam and Jewish Values are two that come to mind and I’ve been wondering lately about Jewish Values. Mind you, these phrases are spoken ¬†without the context of religion, God, Torah or halacha and mostly in the supposedly tolerant nature of culturally yet not religious Jews. Maybe someone can help me out here but if you want to talk about Jewish values outside of the context of the Torah or God, how do your Jewish values differ from anyone else?

I hear a lot of talk about community, tzedaka, fondness for minorities and social justice, but these are not Jewish values, they are across the board mostly liberal people values. What does being Jewish have to do with wanting to fix the world and rid it of it’s intolerance and poor inhabitants? Why always the talk of Jewish values? Then again, I fear that if the liberal Jewish values espousing crowd would try to use Torah and Halacha to back up their views, they may be shot down in the name of many anti-Jewish value ideas expressed within these two¬†fundamentals¬†of Judaism.

I’ve noticed that religious Jews rarely speak of Jewish values and when they do they sound like extreme versions of the Republican party. It seems that Judaism follows politics when it comes to values, we take what we want from the Torah and choose to ignore what doesn’t fit our agenda. We must ban gay marriage, but honest business practice gets thrown out the window. On the left there is much talk about treating everyone with respect, then why can’t religious people be treated with respect as well?

More on 4torah.com about Jewish values.

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