Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 27 - Professor Michal Mushkat - Barkan

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

 “I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him” (Genesis 43, 9), thus said Yehuda to his father while convincing Ya’acov to entrust him with Benjamin on his journey to Egypt, to bring food at a time of hunger.                   

Mutual responsibility is the broadening of this feeling of liability. It is the willingness to see the public and to take care of others from a broad perspective.

This liability has positive sides, such as:supporting the weak, caring for minorities, but also has warning signs for the bad influence of those working on our behalf in an inappropriate manner.

They will stumble over one another” (Leviticus 26, 37) - does not mean “one over another” but “one against another”. All Israel are responsible for one another, is written in our sources. We are mixed together, for better and for worth. The iniquity of one of us failing all of us, while caring and supporting one another will strengthen us all. Mutual responsibility arises from seeing our community as a living body. The willingness to step forward and say - “I myself will guarantee his safety” does not arise from an ideological agreement and does not add up in passive support, rather, obliges actions. I am willing to do for others, for the public, and I am willing to bear the consequences. 

Our country knew many heroes, such as Hannah Senesh, who said: 

A voice called and I went. I went ‘cause the voice called”. 

As Israel turns 75, I want to remind us that our liability includes all those who belong to the Jewish people in this land and all over the world and also all the citizens of this country, Jews and non Jews alike. Our responsibility includes the morality of this country and our personal concern to the well being of its inhabitants and to their prosperity. 

Love the truth, “love truth and peace” (Zechariah 8, 19). Love law and justice, love the Torah, love the land, love yourself and your people, love men, women and all human beings, and hate rabbinate that differentiates between brothers…(Rav Uziel, from “Ahavat Reim ”).


Professor Michal Mushkat - Barkan

Michal Mushkat – Barkan is a professor of Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College. She is the head of an MA program “Rikma – Leadership for Change”, a joint program of HUC and the Melton Institute at the Hebrew University. She is the head of “Teachers Lounge” – an academic program named after Shira Banki, which brings Jewish and Arab teachers for a shared learning experience together. Michal is an expert in educational leadership, pluralism and multiculturalism in education.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.
This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.