In this week’s column for “Figuring Faith,” Dr. Robert P. Jones considers the values associated with Passover, a ritual feast that commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the Israelites were emancipated from slavery in ancient Egypt. These values, he explains, include a strong commitment to social justice, which remains a fundamental component of American Jews’ political activities and identity:
This Friday night after sundown, as they move through the Haggadah, the text that sets forth the order of the Seder, celebrants will read aloud the classic line: “Let all who are hungry come and eat; let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover.”
One of the most significant findings of the 2012 Jewish Values Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, is the centrality of a general commitment to social and economic equality, which upholds that specific text.
These values were present in direct questions about values that are essential to Jewish identity and political beliefs. They are also plainly visible in American Jews’ opinions on a range of policy questions. When asked which single quality is most important to their Jewish identity, for example, nearly half (46 percent) of American Jews name a commitment to social equality-twice as many as cite support for Israel (20 percent) or religious observance (17 percent).
To read the full column, head to “Figuring Faith,” Dr. Jones’ Washington Post blog.