Language has the potential to be used for good or for bad. Even at the best of times, when words are treated with care and respect for that potential, translating what a word means in one language into another is fraught with difficulty. When language is underpinned by darker concerns and motives, religious zeal, fanaticism and the like can turn potential into actual. Religions know how inadequate words can be to describe ultimate experience and have a particular responsibility to use language with great care. They have been at the receiving and giving ends of the ability of language to inflame passions, arouse anger which spills over into destructive action. Tsedakah, Charity and Sadaqa may not mean exactly the same thing - but exploring together what they mean helps us to build bridges between us.
A Jewish View
A Chief Rabbi at War
In office, from the 'New' rather than the 'Old' World, indeed the first ordinand of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Joseph Herman Hertz moved among kings and grandees, ministering to two communities, different religiously, culturally and socially. One, an established 'West End' community, was assimilated and integrated; the other was a newer, larger, faster-growing, immigrant 'East End' community. He had to be a bridge between these two communities. Within a year of taking office, this American Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire was thrust into a world conflict that confronted him with tensions and challenges to his patriotism, his authority and his faith. Ultimately his period of office would be 'bracketed' by two world wars.