Today, what Hellenization looks like for the Jewish people is Zionism, and complicity in Empire and white supremacy.
The notion that the Land of Israel is real estate, that the Torah is our deed of ownership, that the Jewish people were, for over 2,000 years, little more than a nation-state in waiting, and that now, with the state of Israel and its capital Jerusalem, we have blossomed into our true stature as ‘a nation like all other nations’;
The notion that militarism represents our pride and glory as a people, and that Jewish identity requires little more than cheering on the state of Israel, as one would a football team;
The notion that our self-determination and safety as a people can be won through allying with the Trumps of the world, the might and power of American empire, the white evangelical movement, and the forces of Christian hegemony more broadly-
These, and so much more, are the creeping forces of modern-day Hellenization that have worked to fundamentally warp our identities, our institutions, our communities. This worship of power, of Edom, of survival at all costs; this readiness to forego solidarity, to forget our histories, to mimic the oppressors of the world and inflict oppression upon the powerless.
Unlike the Maccabees, let us not zealously demand a return to any ‘fundamental’, true or pure Judaism- these notions of authenticity are ultimately as oppressive as those which we struggle against.
But like the Maccabees, let us not be afraid to name, call out, uproot and smash the forces of assimilation, self-deception, falsehood and corruption that threaten to destroy the body and soul of the Jewish people, from within.
May we ensure that this self-replenishing flame of justice and internal critique burns brighter in our day, and in days to come, and may the forces of wickedness be banished from the earth!