Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Knesset Passes the Disengagement Plan

The Knesset (Israel's parliment, in case you didn't know) has passed the plan to pull out from Gaza. The vote has already had some interesting politcal ramifications and I image there will be more. Israel is going to, at long, long last, pull the people and troops out of Gaza. It is about time (and it will be by the time it takes effect).

There are many sides to this issue and many questions in the air, like "Will a non-negotiation de-facto pullout mean the Palestinians will govern themselves?" What will this mean for the larger peace issues. We will have to wait and see.

For more see:
Jerusalem Post
and, for an interesting and different perspective, Al-Jazeera (yes, I know, but it is interesting to see how others view things.)

Friday, October 22, 2004

Presbyterian endorsement of terrorism

Recently, an official delegation from the Presbyterian Church (USA) met with leaders of Hizbollah. They praised Hizbollah for their work. (they have claimed responsiblity for many terrorist attacks in Israel.)

I support interfaith discussions, dialogue and disagreement. While I understood the Presbyterian church's statement this summer for divestiture from Israel, it saddened me for it did not include a statement against terrorism. Well now I think we are beginning to see the true stripes of the PC USA leadership - support of Palestinians and terror.

The leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Palestinians must work for peace, mutual acknowledgement and the ability to live side-by-side without killing each other. However, for PC USA to take such a blatently pro-Palestinian step as praising Hizbollah without even mentioning their terrorism is wrong.

I pray that things can change and that the leadership of the PC USA will acknowledge the pain this move is causing those who support Israel.

The PC USA church issued a statement which somewhat deliniates the full Church position as opposed to those in Lebanon engaging in the meetings, but it doesn't seem to go far enough.

The leadership of the Reform movement has issued a statement in response. The statement includes a letter sent by Rabbi Yoffie and Rabbi Menitoff to the leadership of PC USA. The letter includes,

We are especially offended by Elder Stone’s remarks that meeting with Hezbollah “is a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders.” To suggest that dialogue with terrorists is preferable to conversations with the American Jewish community is appalling and has overtones of anti-Semitism.

Based on our recent dialogue, we had hoped that you would swiftly and strongly denounce these meetings and statements by individuals who speak in the name of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Yet your statement does no more than repeat an earlier blanket condemnation of terrorism with no attention to the meetings of and statements from this delegation.

As we said when we met, there can be no religious justification whatsoever for words that serve to encourage terror and justify terrorism.  Surely all people of decency, especially those whose tradition calls on us to “choose life” and “seek peace,” can see that Hezbollah is not praiseworthy.  We hope and pray that you will exercise the moral leadership required at this moment and repudiate these deplorable words spoken in the name of your church. "

May G-d bring wisdom, courage, understanding and peace to us all.

Shabbat Shalom

Shabbat shalom to everyone. May this be a sabbath of peace, learning and love for all.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Weekly Torah Commentary - Noah

It is hard to believe that we are already in the second week of our new Torah reading cycle. Noah contains the familiar story of Noah and the flood as well as the mult-lingual outcome of the story of the Tower of Babel.

There are a number of wonderful commentaries on this week's portion:

Velveteen Rabbi has an engaging commentary on language.
David Nelson writes on Noah and violence.
Noah's righteouness & affirmative action
The Tower of Babel and Common Language

Go and Learn!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Judaism and Social Justice

Throughout the writings of our tradition we are commanded, urged and advised to engage in acts of social activism and justice. Rabbi Amy Scheinerman recently wrote a piece for the Forward elaborating on this idea. Her words are clear, elegant and forceful. Go and read her words.

Friday, October 01, 2004

From the New Editor of the Jerusalem Post

David Horovitz is the new editor of the Jerusalem Post. In today's editorial he wrote of the goals he has for his leadership of the JPost. Among his comments were...

"I regard it as an immense responsibility to be editing The Jerusalem Post at this fragile juncture in the short history of modern Israel. .... Similarly, honored that you, our readers, come to The Jerusalem Post to learn the details of Israel's daily development, and conscious that you make personal, business and all manner of other decisions based on what you read here, we will strive to maintain the highest reporting standards, with coverage and analysis as informative and fair-minded as we can make it. English is not the main language of Israel, but it is the language most widely spoken by Jewish people. The Jerusalem Post is the most resonant name in daily English-language journalism in Israel and the Jewish world, in an era when this article, and every other, can be accessed globally in an instant. We at the Post acknowledge the responsibility, and relish the opportunity, this brings us."

Read the full editorial here (You may need to log in, but it is free.)

Wishing everyone a shabbat shalom,
May G-d spread a sukkah of peace over Israel and over the world on this sabbath of Sukkot.