What makes the Jewish approach to repentance and atonement relevant to North American and global politics is that it does not focus only on the ways we as individuals “sinned,” (actually, the real meaning of the word sin is to miss the mark; not some sense of being drenched in evil, but just getting off course) but rather recognizes us as part of a community for which we must take collective responsibility.

North Americans are so used to the extreme individualism promoted by capitalist values that we rarely think of ourselves as having responsibility for each other. But that is precisely what is needed. So we at Tikkun, the interfaith and secular-humanist-and-atheist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, and Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls, have developed a set of confessions in the form of “we have sinned when . . .” that mention many things that you...

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