I have been attending a series of lectures given by various Jewish rabbis as a prerequisite for the purpose of conversion. The last rabbi's lecture stated plainly that "real" Jews are socialist liberals, and the more politically liberal you are the more "Jewish" you are.The same lecturer said that the founders of the nation of Israel after WWII suffered from "PTSD" and that Bibi Netenyahu "makes me sick" and is "not very Jewish".

As someone who supports Israel, but does not support abortion, homosexual marriage or Marxist socialism, should I rethink my conversion since it seems only political liberals are "real Jews"? Any thoughts?

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    I've met Jews who spanned the political spectrum. In the Orthodox community, I know folks all the way from the left-wing to the right-, with every shade of view possible on Israel, social and economic views. FWIW, I agree with David that if you're having an Orthodox conversion, you wouldn't need to deal with politics, which I personally feel are highly inappropriate to bring to a Shabbat sermon, let alone a conversion class. Oct 12, 2015 at 0:31
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    FWIW I don't think this question should be closed. This question isn't "primarily opinion based." Judaism does not require any particular political orientation. Full-stop. The question isn't asking about which political views are correct. It's asking whether a particular political view is considered necessary for Judaism. There is an unambiguous answer to that question.
    – Daniel
    Oct 12, 2015 at 12:32
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    Rather than focusing on whether Jews have historically been Liberal you should focus on whether they were socialist, to which the answer is mostly yes. In the Torah, you might own the land and the farm, but the corners of it belong to the poor and needy who can just walk up and take from it. In Socialism, everything belongs to the people, so personal ownership is limited. In the Torah, everything belongs to God and so personal ownership is limited. Your first fruits go to the Kohanim, and first animals, etc.
    – Aaron
    Oct 12, 2015 at 16:56
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    @Aaron I beg to differ with the assumption that the Torah is socialist oriented, especially with the proof of tithing. The Halacha states that the owner has the Tovat ha'na'ah of choosing with whom he would like to share his produce. That is, he retains the right of the prerogative of donating his tithes to whomever he chooses. This is much closer to a conservative position than to a liberal one. Dec 6, 2015 at 21:39
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    @RYisroelMeirVogel tithing, per se, is not as close to socialism as some might think, but the Halachic concept of kupat tzedaka, as described in Yoreh Deya' 256:1 is significantly closer: Halacha requires a committee of representatives of the people to collect, compulsorily (256:5), funds for providing for the poor, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (not a direct quotation, but a pretty fair paraphrase). The people so-taxed do not get tovat hana-a.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 8, 2015 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5/13) states succinctly, "One who says, 'that which is mine, is yours and that which is yours, is mine,' is an Am haAretz." Sharing everything (by edict..."What is yours IS mine!") sounds nice but is very much not practical! That attitude led the Soviet Union, which had had overwhelming abundance of wheat fields etc., to fail miserably in the 40s because there was no "capitalistic" incentive to harvest the crops.

Earlier, in chapter 2, the Rabbis give strong advice "(Mishnah 8) One who increases Tzedaka, increases Shalom." But "(Mishnah 17) the money of your colleague shall be as dear to you as your own."

Despite the statement that increasing Tzedaka increases peace, nonetheless, the Rabbis frown on giving more than 20% of your income to Tzedaka (except perhaps, when one is blessed with vast wealth), for fear that one might not be able to recoup in the following year and be forced to collect charity himself!

Clearly, there is a balance between the concepts of Chessed and Gevurah, which is reiterated throughout Judaism and leads to Tiferes, glory.

There is certainly room to navigate these issues in halachic Judaism but to state that liberal views on "abortion, homosexuality and Marxist socialism are the ones of 'real Jews'" is absurd, to say the least. As usual, the Torah Halachic view on, e.g., abortion is neither strictly liberal (late term permissible) or strictly conservative (never under any circumstance).

I have heard a Jewish abortion activist attempt to "prove" that abortion was perfectly alright because "don't blame me, the Halacha states that a baby/fetus can be aborted until the last moment!" based on Mishnah in Oholot, quoted in Gemara Sanhedrin, 72, that "a fetus who is endangering the life of the mother may be taken out "limb by limb" up until the head presents itself." This argument is false for two reasons.

(1) It is permissible because of the concept of Rodeph - i.e. one who is "pursuing" someone in order to murder him may be "saved" from "committing murder" by killing the Rodeph/pursuer. Ergo, one may take out the fetus "limb by limb" when the fetus threatens the life of the mother. BUT, the rule of Rodeph also states that if you are able to "save" him by hurting him, thus stopping the murder while not killing the potential murderer, you would be liable yourself for murder due to overreach. In the same way, to propose late term abortion (in all circumstances Other than when the fetus is literally endangering the mother's life, rather than giving birth and offering the baby up for adoption seems to be overreach and forbidden. This is the position of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. Although the Israeli poseik Rav Eliezer Waldenberg is lenient in cases of severe emotional situations, as well as rape and incest, or Tay Sachs.

(2)Secondly, abortion is not looked upon as a right of the woman rather as a protection for the woman. Halacha looks at abortion as a last ditch, very "b'dieved" (to be dissuaded, secondary) approach. Much closer to a right wing perspective.

For a much fuller treatment of this issue, see Jewish Virtual Library, issues in Jewish Ethics: Abortion. Also, Aish.com Dr Daniel Eisenberg

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    I don't understand why there is an extensive discussion of halacha's perspective on abortion in this post.
    – Double AA
    Dec 7, 2015 at 19:48
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    The questioner claims that a rabbi told his conversion class that "real Jews" are social liberals. He concludes that [his perception of these] "real Jews" are those who support abortion, homosexual marriage and Marxist socialism. Because of this, he is reconsidering his conversion because he is a conservative thinker in his political beliefs and sees little intersection between his range of beliefs and so-called "real Jews" outside of support of Israel. I am not one to encourage conversion, as Halacha advises. [cont] Dec 8, 2015 at 6:17
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    [cont] But a potential Ger Tzedek (righteous convert) should be dissuaded because of concerns of upholding rigorous standards of Judaism, not because of political beliefs popularly held held by many Jews by birth that have no basis in Torah. Dec 8, 2015 at 6:17
  • I got all that already. I'm not sure how this explains why there is an extensive discussion of halacha's perspective on abortion in this post. I motion for its removal.
    – Double AA
    Dec 8, 2015 at 6:23
  • @DoubleAA I wouldn't have included so much on that specific issue here either, but I think this is a case where the author gets to decide (it's not blatantly inappropriate), and the community is free to factor that into their voting decisions. Dec 10, 2015 at 15:09

Jews come in all shapes and sizes, and that includes the political spectrum.

Here in Canada, we're currently in the final run of an election cycle, and when it comes to marketing to the Jewish community the Conservative Party of Canada has chosen its declared support Israel as its main, and often only, talking point.

While position makes Jews one-issue voters in their eyes, the strategy, overall, happens to be quite effective. Recent events in Israel have definitely played in their favour, cringe-worthy of a thought as that may be. So that, alone, can probably tell you that the answer is a definite "No".

That said, I can tell you that I, personally, lean more to the centre-left, and there are many other Jews in a variety of observance levels that, again, fill all spectra as well. There are many Jews who also realize that, while support for Israel is important, we need to make sure that the country we actually live in has a solid economy, social services, and more. We also need a government that works to bring out the best in us, not the worst. (Edited to remove opinion statement)

You can look to the niqab issue - http://www.cjnews.com/canada/guest-voice-when-it-comes-niqab-debate-where-are-jews - started by the Conservatives, not just to see what I mean, but to see how divisive an issue it is even within the Jewish community. Sadly, though it, and its marketing, are driven by bigotry, fear-mongering and simultaneously claiming that it is helping women while taking away their right to practice their religion as they choose, it, too, has been very effective in raising the party's popularity.

Finally, regarding that rabbi's comments, it's important to think for yourself, to do proper research into issues, and not be afraid to have different positions on different issue, basing them on facts more than anything.

I hope that's helpful.

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    Hi Eli. Thanks for posting this answer. I think it would be greatly improved if you removed the statements of your political opinion. You're right that Judaism does not have a prescribed political orientation, and for that reason we try to stay away from making political statements on this site which is for facts about Judaism.
    – Daniel
    Oct 12, 2015 at 12:36
  • @Daniel, eh. Usually we shy from politics, I guess, but this question asks what people believe in and the answerer is using him/herself as an example. I think it's fine. (Just MHO.)
    – msh210
    Oct 13, 2015 at 14:14
  • @Daniel Are you considering my political opinion to be my statement of which way I lean, or my point on the niqab issue? A political question was asked, and I felt that including some reference, both as to where I stand, so I wasn't hiding anything, and to provide a specific example in relation to the question. Essentially, yes, what msh210 was saying.
    – Eli Green
    Dec 6, 2015 at 17:19
  • What I mean is that your answer would be improved by removing statements of opinion. It's fine to say that you lean center-left. That's a counter-example to the idea that Jews must lean right. I suggest removing the parts that imply that people who lean right want a government that brings out the worst in us as well as suggestions that the right engages in fear-mongering etc. That's opinion.
    – Daniel
    Dec 6, 2015 at 17:24
  • I thought you were focusing on the part about the niqab issue. I see what you mean now. I'm not quite sure how to edit that given the Conservative Party's specific advertising platform to Jews. It was primarily focused on Israel. Everything else was secondary/ancillary. But I will remove the final note from that paragraph.
    – Eli Green
    Dec 6, 2015 at 17:46

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