Where Freedom Confronts Communal Values

In the U.S., our cultural ideal is “freedom”: freedom from restrictions, individual freedom to do anything we want that is not illegal. Freedom is not so much an Israeli ideal, rather “sustaining community” – belonging to something sacred and larger than oneself – is what moves Israelis.

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During one of my recent trips to Jerusalem I visited the Kotel, as I often do for a spiritual uplift. But this time I was disheartened. All I...