Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Baruch dayan ha'emet

This morning as I awoke I was greated with the news that one of the heroes of our time, Simon Wiesenthal, died overnight. Wiesenthal was a survivor of the Holocaust who spent his life in search of truth and through that truth, freedom. His search for Nazis hidding from their past inspired a center named for him, The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC).

Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Center, said,
"I think he'll be remembered as the conscience of the Holocaust. In a way he became the permanent representative of the victims of the Holocaust, determined to bring the perpetrators of the greatest crime to justice,". (Quotation from Ha'aretz.)

Many have written about his life much better than I can. Some links include:
Simon Wiesenthal Center Obituary
Ha'aretz Obituary
Biography of Wiesenthal's life (by the SWC)
Jerusalem Post Obituary
Comments by general people on Wiesenthal's life and death
Ynet Obituary

[By the way, if you are unfamiliar with the phrase "baruch dayan ha'emet" it means "blessed is the true Judge" and is a phrase which many Jews say when they hear of a death.]

May his family find comfort in this difficult time.
May his soul rest with the Divine Holy One.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Some Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9-11

It is hard to believe that the tragedies of September 11, 2001 happened four years ago today. In far too many ways, nothing has changed since that horrible day. We aren't any closer as a country (in fact, I think recent events show that we are farther apart than ever) and more parts of the world dislike American than before.

This afternoon I participated in a small, quiet and relfective memorial. We each left the service with a clear marble for a tear and a flower for hope.

I pray that all those touched by 9-11 find some comfort and I pray that the day comes soon when our world will be focused on peace and not hate.

May salaam, shalom, peace spread thorughout the world.

A New (to me) Blog of an Imam

Through Sister Scorpion, I learned today of Hijabman, the blog of a young man going off to become an Imam. InshaAllah, all will go well for him.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Timely Torah Portion - Justice and Roberts

This week John Roberts may begin testimony to become the next Cheif Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

As we form or solidify our own opinions and pay attention to the hearings (to begin after proper honoring of the late Cheif Justice Renquist), we can turn to this week's Torah portion for some ideas on what justice means.

Shofteim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) includes the famous and important exhortaition tzedek, tzedek tirdof - justice, justice shall you pursue. The rabbis teach us that no repetition is meaningless. Repetition adds emphasis, depth and urgency. Many have commented on the text throughout the ages, examining this text for connections and applicablilty to their lives.

Rabbi Marc Israel writes about the application of justice, read his fine words in a commentary titled Pursuing Justice for All.

Go and learn.
May our learning bring justice and peace to the world.
Shalom, salaam, peace.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Yalla Journal

Sister Scorpion kindly emailed me about a co-existance art site called the Yalla Journal. Here is the information about it:

After a successful first issue in 2004, Yalla is back for another year. If you are between 18 and 30, we want your short stories, poems, photographs, stories about personal experiences, visual art, and short essays about the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Yalla isn’t a collection of political pieces. We’re looking for expressions of feelings about the conflict, to help each other understand where the other side is coming from. We look for submissions mainly from Canadian Arabs and Jews, but all are welcome to contribute.

So what is Yalla looking for? You can tell us what the role of the diaspora communities should be in bringing peace. What’s the best way to build trust in the Middle East? What’s your vision of the Middle East in 2030? Have the two sides managed to settle their differences? These are just a few suggestions - the only limit is your imagination.

The selections will be made by a balanced Arab/ Jewish editorial board. We will be in contact with contributors whose pieces are inappropriate or need editing. Longer pieces should run to a maximum of 2,500 words. Send contributions and questions to yallajournal@yahoo.ca by September 30. Please include your contact information and a brief biography, and let us know if you’d like us to publish your e-mail address in the journal.

Share the art, share the peace, share the hope,

Hodesh Elul Tov

Greetings again.
Hodesh tov. (Happy new month of Elul.)

Today the month of Elul beings, our month of preparation for the High Holy Days. Each day we build and progress towards the days of awe.

This year, the immense tragedies of the world make this time seem especially poignant and meaningful. So many lives have been devestated, so many now homeless. Elul and the holy days are times of reflection on the meaning of our lives and our daily choices. Many of us have been engaging in such reflection as we try to process the horror of Katrina and try to find a way to help. Perhpas this Elul will be a time of help and a time when hope can grow day by day.

Want some information about Rosh Hodesh and Elul?

My Jewish Learning on Rosh Hodesh Elul
Ritual Well on Elul

Go, study and help the hurricane victims!

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Good morning.

I just heard the news of Renquist's death. May his family find comfort in the presence of each other and in the prayers and support of many across this county.

A second member of the court for Bush to appoint. Oy.

Just a few thoughts on a quiet Sunday morning.