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Rabbi Blane is a Universalist Jew, and while JSLI encourages the Universalist philosophy, students are multi-denominational and affiliate with the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements.
Jewish Universalism, as interpreted by Rabbi Blane, believes the following:
- While traditional Judaism teaches that God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with G-d and were charged by the Torah to be a light unto the nations, this view does not preclude a belief that G-d has a relationship with all other peoples too.
- All faiths are loved and supported by G-d, and all paths to the divine are equally holy. G-d does not choose a favorite child.
We should never fear nor diminish any other paths that people take to reach G-d.
- We can accomplish “Tikkun Olam” (repairing the world through shared responsibility with G-d) through having an unconditional acceptance of each other’s peaceful doctrine and through “G’milut Chasadim” (acts of loving kindness).
- Jewish Universalism therefore goes beyond religious tolerance, which is the condition of peaceful existence between adherents of different religions or religious denominations.
Biblical references as well as rabbinic literature support this Universalist view. For example:
- Moses refers to the “source of the breath of all flesh” (Numbers 27:16) to appoint someone over the community of Israel.
- In the classic story of the prophet Bilam and his donkey, the Torah identifies and acknowledges a prophet outside the community of Israel.
- The Mishnah states that anyone who kills or saves a single human – not Jewish – life, has done the same to the entire world.
- The Talmud states: “Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come” (Sanhedrim 105a).