The Schmooze

The Strength of Judaism and the Courage of Social Justice

Eric Greitens‘s most recent book, “The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL,” is now available. His posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


In the preface to “The Heart and the Fist,” I explain to the reader that I’ve been lucky enough to learn from amazing warriors and humanitarians alike. Through this book, I hope to share how their work and their stories inspire me.

How do stories relate to the narrative of social justice and Judaism? The human mind is narrative; we tend to think in stories, and there is a strength in story and tradition. In some of our most dire times, we look to stories because they give us strength.

I spent time in Rwanda working with unaccompanied children who had survived the genocides. I spoke to many children, women, and men that had endured the unimaginable. One young man, who had studied English in Kigali and hid with his sister and two young neighbor girls during the violence, told me that during the violence he thought of [Elie Wiesel](I spent time in Rwanda working with unaccompanied children who had survived the genocides. I spoke to many children, women, and men that had endured the unimaginable. One young man, who had studied English in Kigali and hid with his sister and two young neighbor girls during the violence, told me that during the violence he thought of Elie Wiesel—the Holocaust survivor—and he asked me if I’d read “Night.”

The world is full of stories of courage, too infrequently told. I’ve read accounts of courageous people who took risks to care, and they often drew upon stories from their faith and their family. These stories were enough to assure them that, though they may have felt alone at the time as the only person providing secret shelter, they were in fact standing in a deeper, wider stream of conscientious people throughout history who have stood against injustice.

Check back on Thursday for more from Eric Greitens, author of The Heart and the Fist.) — the Holocaust survivor — and he asked me if I’d read Night.

The world is full of stories of courage, too infrequently told. I’ve read accounts of courageous people who took risks to care, and they often drew upon stories from their faith and their family. These stories were enough to assure them that, though they may have felt alone at the time as the only person providing secret shelter, they were in fact standing in a deeper, wider stream of conscientious people throughout history who have stood against injustice.

Check back on Thursday for more from Eric Greitens, author of “The Heart and the Fist.”

The Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the reading, writing and publishing of Jewish literature. For more Jewish literary blog posts, reviews of Jewish books, book club resources, and to learn about awards and conferences, please visit www.jewishbookcouncil.org.

MyJewishLearning.com is the leading transdenominational website of Jewish information and education. Visit My Jewish Learning for thousands of articles on Judaism, Jewish holidays, Jewish history, and more.

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The Strength of Judaism and the Courage of Social Justice

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