Thanks to Rabbi Gershon Steinberg for alerting me to the amazing gesture of Jews led by rabbis (Velveteen Rabbi) to an abused mosque in Queens, New York. It is wonderful to feel proud of my fellow Jews.
Last week, a drunk man barged into the Al-Iman masjid in Astoria, Queens, and urinated on the prayer rugs. I tweeted about it, horrified at this display of Islamophobia (and also just plain atrocious behavior.) On Thursday, @stumark suggested that we raise money to replace the prayer rugs at the Al-Iman mosque in Queens. On Friday, I posted to this blog and to twitter asking for donations toward reimbursing the mosque for the costs of steam-cleaning their prayer rugs. My hope was to raise a few hundred bucks as a gesture of interfaith good will, a way of showing this one Muslim community that the actions of that drunk man do not represent
To anyone who knows Jewish life, or Israeli life well, this is laughable in its ‘fringiness’. This is not a serious trend. That having been said, it raises many red flags for me. There is a consistent multi-decade trend for Orthodox Jewry, as well as Israeli Jewish life in general, to descend deeper and deeper into its own peculiar expression, in other words, to spurn universal values and to re-surface peculiar and unique, often extremely reactionary trends and customs.
This joins a global pattern of indigenous re-discovery of uniqueness in a post-colonial and post-Cold War Age. But not all that is indigenous is good, and in fact much is awful. In fact the entire reason that otherwise patriotic Europeans of all nationalities came up with transnational, or universal values, is because they were disgusted by just how low and racist societies can become if all they ever think about, if …
Excellent article, speaks for itself
Growing up in the West Bank, Mujahid Sarsur knew next to nothing about the Holocaust and saw little ground to sympathize with a people he saw as his occupier. 2010. But thanks to an Israeli roommate overseas, the 21-year-old Palestinian student learned about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during World War II and discovered a new understanding of his Israeli neighbors.Now he wants other Arabs to do the same. Sarsur heads one of a handful of Palestinian grass-roots groups seeking knowledge about the Holocaust.On Wednesday, he led a delegation of 22 students to Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. The students, fasting for Ramadan, listened closely to their Arabic-speaking guide’s explanations, and were left wide-eyed by the gruesome images of the death camps.
‘Not enough evidence to convict suspected Jewish terrorist Pearlman’ – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
Chaim Pearlman in court Wednesday.
Helping Jews move beyond the Holocaust to the Rule of Law
You see this face? This is the face of an angel. I see the face of an angel. This is what I spent most of my life thinking of and dreaming of as the face of an angel. His name means ‘life’ and I grew up feeling that he was preserving the ‘life’ the soul of our people. That is what we were doing in Kollel, the learning halls of perpetual study. I grew up worshiping the Ben Toah, the student of Torah, a young person of study, humility, gentleness, that has been a prototype of ideal Jewish life going back thousands of years. He has early ancestors in generations of youth going back to the …
University of Miami president detained for questioning at Israeli airport: The Pride and Shame of Being Jewish in 2010
I was reading this headline in Ha’aretz and by sheer accident, it was in the same column as another headline, “A superb day for the Jewish people’: Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court judge”
And I was just struck by the paradox of pride and shame of being an identified Jew in 2010. On the one hand, another Jewish woman reaches the most honored position of legal wisdom in the United States, an achievement that in my youth I would have called a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of the Divine Name, a testimony to the hard work of centuries of her forebears who kept alive Talmud study and the search for knowledge and wisdom and now, thankfully, yielding the proper results with the honor of women as equals in achievement.
And then, and then….The same page, also an enormously distinguished good woman, my cousin as a Jew, someone of …
Former Knesset speaker announces that new party ‘Shai’ will push for equality in Israeli society. Former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg announced this week that he plans to form a new joint Jewish-Arab party ahead of the next election, that would push for equality in Israeli society.The new leftist party will be called Shai, which means “gift” in Hebrew and is an acronym for “equality in Israel” shivyon yisrael. Burg said he would only announce the party’s candidates and platform ahead of the election, which is set for October 22, 2013, but could be held much earlier.“The most important issue in Israel now is the distortion in the values of our democracy,” Burg told The Jerusalem Post. “The divides among rich and poor, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Jew and Arab, occupier and occupied all have in common inequality. Israel is becoming a nationalist, fundamentalist, theocratic state, which is the unholy triangle.”Asked whether
You have to watch this short five minute film to believe it. Watch a village steadily stolen illegally by the Jewish National Fund, finally destroyed by the IDF and the State with hundreds of police, and then rebuilt and reclaimed by Jews and Arabs, citizens of Israel, together.
You don’t have to believe that this is exactly what the JNF has been doing for over a hundred years, you don’t have to read the long and complicated history through the eyes of Israel’s leading analysts like Tom Segev in One Palestine Complete, just look at five minutes of video to see the destruction of olive trees and the theft of land through planting ‘Jewish’ trees, donated by clueless American Jews, no doubt, as Arabs watch helplessly their entire village demolished. But then watch Jews and Arabs together rebuilding in a single day. Feel the power and the determination.
This is the full Goldstone Report on the War in Gaza, including all aspects of the war, its aftermath, full documentation of Hamas’ violations, crimes by the IDF, recommendations, reparations, as well as a review of what happened inside Israel during the war. It is over 500 pages of documentation and represents a powerful statement of truth from a man who has been at the forefront of the most important truth commissions in modern times. This is a good place to start in terms of future documentation of all violence in this conflict, Jewish and Arab, and a good model to build upon in terms of what exactly needs to happen to prevent such tragedies in the future. It is the details that everyone should read and debate. Here is the link again:
See Rabbi Edward Feld’s agonized sermon on the state of ethics of Israel’s military chaplaincy that encouraged war crimes in Gaza. This is a reflective sermon that brings into sharp relief the choices of religious people between violent texts to justify their violence and nonviolent texts to articulate their deepest values, hopes and aspirations. The rabbis who have taken control of the Israel Defense Forces have made their choice, and other rabbis like Rabbi Feld have made theirs. Here is Rabbi Feld:
“When you have mercy on a cruel enemy you are thereby showing cruelty to innocent and honest soldiers. It is a terrible immorality……This is a war against murderers.”
The above excerpt is from Go Fight My War, a booklet published by the Jewish Awareness Department of the Chief Military Rabbinate in Israel, and distributed to soldiers in the fighting units before they entered Gaza as part of Operation …