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Rabbi puts his faith in ‘tolerant particularism’
2008-05-14
Wednesday, 14 May, 2008, 01:34 AM Doha Time


Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller

By Sarmad Qazi
A leading Jewish scholar has urged the followers of Abrahamic religions to adopt a “tolerant particularism”.
“Each one of us is a particularist. The claim that we are universalist is nonsense,” Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, who is attending the 6th Doha Conference of Interfaith Dialogue, told Gulf Times yesterday.
“Let’s create religious outlets that have the capacity to allow people to be passionate about their traditions while being accepting of others. Can we do it? Can we passionately believe in our own faith and at the same time believe in the others?” argued Rabbi Seidler-Feller who is the director of Yitzhak Rabin Hillel Centre for Jewish Life at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
When asked about the much-talked about “Jewish dominance” of the US, Rabbi Seidler-Feller explained: “Until after the WWII there was a culture of anti-semitism that prevented the Jews from rising in the society. They couldn’t get jobs in oil companies or banks and elsewhere, so the only way out was through a type of commitment to traditions and education. It’s not because Jews have an inborn capacity for education. It’s just a matter of Jewish immigrants coming to the US and working very hard to provide education to their children.”
“And in terms of political power, that’s a game that any one can play. It’s open to all parties. It’s just how the US system works,”he added.

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