The great religions, Christianity and Islam, along with the great political and intellectual movements of modernity, from liberalism to democracy to modern science, all share an aspiration to speak equally to every person on earth. They understand themselves as universal. But Judaism is different. God’s covenantal relationship with the Jewish people was born in His love for Abraham and his descendants, whom He delivered from Egypt and made into a nation in the wilderness of Sinai. Judaism is thus particular, not universal, and its particularity is bound up with a national home in the Land of Israel, and its ancestral capital, Jerusalem. But in its very particularity, the Jewish people also have a universal significance that inspires other nations, and women and men of other faiths. The rabbi of Shearith Israel—America’s oldest continuously active Jewish congregation—Meir Soloveichik, asks why so many non-Jews around the world are so profoundly moved by Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem, and the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy there, while exploring the universal significance of Jewish Jerusalem.

Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik

Meir Y. Soloveichik is Director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and the Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Prior to this, Rabbi Soloveichik served as Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in Mosaic, the Wall Street JournalCommentaryFirst Things, Azure, Tradition, and the Torah U-Madda Journal. In August 2012, he gave the invocation at the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. He is the son of Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik, grandson of the late Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, and the great nephew of the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.