And seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you and pray to the LORD in its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper.
CIVruta, a winner of the 2018-19 Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applying Jewish Wisdom to Democracy and Civic Engagement, convened emerging leaders from across Los Angeles County for a day of civic learning about how to bring the democratic values of diversity, inclusion, and dignity to service on public boards and commissions. A multi-partner initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los ANGELES, CIVruta aims to equip civic volunteers to be in productive public service relationships with people from across the rich diversity of LA’s ethnic and religious communities. More information at http://civruta.org
(א) וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: מֶלֶךְ בְּמִשְׁפָּט יַעֲמִיד אֶרֶץ, וְאִישׁ תְּרוּמוֹת יֶהֶרְסֶנָּה (משלי כט, ד). מַלְכָּהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה, בְּמִשְׁפָּט שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה, מַעֲמִיד אֶת הָאָרֶץ. וְאִישׁ תְּרוּמוֹת יֶהֶרְסֶנָּה. אִם מֵשִׁים אָדָם עַצְמוֹ כַּתְּרוּמָה הַזּוֹ שֶׁמֻּשְׁלֶכֶת בְּזָוִית הַבַּית וְאוֹמֵר מַה לִּי בְּטֹרַח הַצִּבּוּר, מַה לִּי בְּדִינֵיהֶם, מַה לִּי לִשְׁמֹעַ קוֹלָם, שָׁלוֹם עָלַיִךְ נַפְשִׁי, הֲרֵי זֶה מַחֲרִיב אֶת הָעוֹלָם. הֱוֵי וְאִישׁ תְּרוּמוֹת יֶהֶרְסֶנָּה.
(1) The just king establishes the land, but the person who sets himself apart from others overthrows it (Prov. 29:4).
[This verse means] The person of learning who rules through justice causes the earth to endure, but the person who sets themselves apart overthrows it.
This implies that if any person acts as though they were "set apart" by secluding themselves in the corner of their home and declaring: “What concern are the problems of the community to me? What does their judgment mean to me? Why should I listen to them? I will do well (without them),” they help to destroy the world, as it says, "the person who is separate overthrows it."
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville 1835
Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: religious, moral, grave, futile, very general and very particular, immense and very small; Americans use associations to give fêtes, to found seminaries, to build inns, to raise churches, to distribute books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they create hospitals, prisons, schools. Finally, if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate. Everywhere that, at the head of a new undertaking, you see the government in France and a great lord in England, count on it that you will perceive an association in the United States.
In America I encountered sorts of associations of which, I confess, I had no idea, and I often admired the infinite art with which the inhabitants of the United States managed to fix a common goal to the efforts of many men and to get them to advance to it freely....Thus the most democratic country on earth is found to be, above all, the one where men in our day have most perfected the art of pursuing the object of their common desires in common and have applied this new science to the most objects....
In democratic countries the science of association is the mother science; the progress of all the others depends on the progress of that one.
Gov. Ralph Carr, Radio Address, 1942
. . . In justice and fairness, let us pause here to speak a word in behalf of loyal German, Italia, and Japanese citizens who must not suffer for the activities and animosities of others. In Colorado there are thousands of men and women and children—in the nation there are millions of them—who by reason of blood only, are regarded by some people as unfriendly.
They are as loyal to American institutions as you or I. Many of them have been here—are American citizens, with no connection with or feeling of loyalty toward the customs and philosophies of Italy, Japan or Germany.
The world’s great melting pot is peopled by the descendants of every nation in the globe. It is not fair for the rest of us to segregate the people from one or two or three nations and to brand them as unpatriotic or disloyal regardless.
Elizabeth Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments, 1848
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.
We hold these truths to be self - evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they accustomed. ...
Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation - in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.