2017-10-25 / Editorial

#MeToo is an issue of deep concern to Jews


Jews worldwide should connect to #MeToo, the viral response to widespread sexual misconduct accusations leveled against Harvey Weinstein earlier this month. This has nothing to do with the fact that Weinstein, a media mogul accused by dozens of Hollywood’s A-listers and other women of sexual assault and harassment, is Jewish, and everything to do with Jewish values and morality.

Respect of the individual is a central theme of Judaism. The abuse of others – sexual, economic, physical or otherwise — goes against basic moral values and also breaks the law.

The Torah recognized the unacceptability of abuse thousands of years ago and prohibits one person from belittling another person through word or deed. Moreover, the Talmud states that it is forbidden to even raise a hand against another except in self-defense.

Jewish tradition also clearly mandates our involvement in putting an end to oppression and harm. “Do not stand idly on the blood of your neighbor” (Lev. 19:16) is an example of the Torah’s call for action. In addition, the concept of “tikkun olam” (repairing the world) is an expression of the prophetic calls for social justice and responsibility.

Since so many powerful and accomplished women in Hollywood have gone public with their harrowing accounts of alleged abuse against Weinstein, social media worldwide has been flooded with stories of other women, some famous, some not so famous, telling their own accounts of abuse. In North America, we have #MeToo; in Israel, the rallying cry is “Gam Ani.” French women too have their own version.

This is clearly a societal issue – and it demands that Jews pay attention. 

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