By Simon Rocker
February 22, 2013
Diaspora Jews generally pay little attention to what Israeli politicians say in the Knesset.
But one speech has won the admiration of many in the Jewish world.
It was the maiden parliamentary address by Ruth Calderon, one of the MK’s for Yair Lapid’s new Yesh Atid party.
Dr Calderon is the founder of secular study centres where Israelis of all kinds can study Torah, Talmud and other rabbinic texts in an independent and pluralist setting.
Her passionate belief that classical Jewish literature is the heritage of all Jews has made her inspiration to those looking for ways to straddle the religious-secular divide.
As she told the Knesset, “I am convinced that studying the great works of He Hebrew and Jewish culture are crucial to construct a new Hebrew culture for Israel.”
The Torah, she said, “is not the property of one movement or another, it is a gift that every one of us received”.
How good a politician is we will have to wait and see. But there is no greater calling in Judaism than to be a teacher and she is one of the finest teaching today.
You can see her speech, with English subtitles,