For our students and constituents, many of the concepts and assumptions inherent in Jewish Peoplehood are largely positive and non-controversial: belonging to a global community, being part of a long chain of history, having access to and connections with diverse Jewish customs and languages.
All of these things are relatively easy to “sell” to our students and they also provide a means for positive engagement. Not everything however, is so simple in the realm of Jewish Peoplehood. One of the most difficult subjects that almost always arises is the debate between the competing values of particularism and universalism.
It is the tension between these two concepts that can make a conversation about Jewish Peoplehood complex and potentially difficult, and perhaps even deters some educators from engaging in the conversation at all.
In this chapter, we address the values of universalism and particularism in the context of Jewish Peoplehood. We suggest how the tension between them can be seen as a source of positive energy that can fuel, rather than deter, a meaningful and constructive educational process.