Chicago synagogue designates itself 'anti-Zionist'
Tzedek Chicago, which was partially founded to attract Jews who are not overly focused on "Israel", had officially designated itself as "non-Zionist".
Tzedek Chicago was created seven years ago, in part, to create a Jewish community that was not overly focused on "Israel". This Monday, the congregation went beyond its original "non-Zionism" to become what is possibly the country's first expressly "anti-Zionist" synagogue.
“I’m so proud of the thoughtful way we engaged with each other in this process,” Scout Bratt, the shul’s president, said in a statement Wednesday announcing the decision. “While we knew individual members would have their personal opinions, we ultimately treated this as a communal decision, not an ideological litmus test.”
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After the board unanimously backed the decision in December, the congregation's 200 member families voted to add a statement condemning "Israel's" founding as an "injustice against the Palestinian people — an injustice that continues to this day."
It is worth noting that 73% of households supported the motion.
There is limited evidence on how many American Jews identify as Zionists or support Zionism, but many establishment organizations use proxy questions to suggest that the vast majority of the community supports Jewish nationalism's beliefs.
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“There are increasing numbers of Jews out there, particularly young Jews, who don’t identify as Zionist and resent the implication that somehow to be Jewish today one must be Zionist,” Rosen told Religion News Service in 2015. Rosen, who was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, had previously helped found the rabbinical council of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is in itself anti-Zionist.
However, while Rosen told RNS that he believed Tzedek Chicago was the first community to purposefully reject positive affiliation to "Israel", according to a Forward investigation, the synagogue is one of at least a half-dozen congregations that have taken similar attitudes.