People who do bad things should be punished. It is something we learn in our schools and teach in our synagogues.
But as Jews, we are often conflicted when one of our own commits a crime. While a sense of community may give some the urge to protect a community member, we are embarrassed that the crime has come from someone who carries a Jewish identity. And we are steadfast that those responsible must face the same punishment as everyone else. Advocating for or even anticipating anything less would send the wrong message about our community.
The case of little Ela Reyes raises many thorny issues about church/state entanglement, parenting in a multicultural world, and the challenge of religious pluralism. Ela’s parents, Rebecca Reyes (born Jewish) and her now ex-husband Joseph Reyes (raised Catholic, converted to Judaism, and now returning to the Church) found themselves in court over the issue of his right to bring Ela to church. Cook County (Illinois) Judge Renee Goldfarb ruled that Mr. Reyes has the right to do so.
It must be nice to live in a world of Jewish absolutes. Denizens of the black and white Jewish world experience no discomfort. For them life is simple. Neither the extreme left nor the extreme right has any doubts. Their belief system permits no dichotomies, allows for no flexibility, and frowns on compromise. This is especially true of religion, and politics. More so when they are combined.