Thirty-two IDF Soldiers Have Fallen

Fallen IDF soldiers in Operation Protective Edge | The Times of Israel To date, thirty-two soldiers have fallen in the effort to expunge terrorists from the Gaza strip. Here’s another way to think about it: this is the same proportion of the Israeli population as it would be of the US population if over 1,200 American soldiers were killed in a conflict.

Rabbi Menachem Creditor is Done Apologizing for Israel

I’m Done Apologizing for Israel”
Rabbi Menachem Creditor

The Huffington Post
21 July 2o14

Rabbit Menachem Creditor and I are at variances about a lot of political issues, but he and I stand together on this one. I, too, am done apologizing for Israel. I too, am done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality, or for my Jewish existence, and for all the same reasons.

I ask the enraged critics of Israel’s defensive responses to Hamas: Would you have us not respond to this monstrosity? Do you think it’s not worth losing the PR battle to retain our humanity and save as many lives as possible? What country would stand by when thousands of terrorist missiles assault its citizens? I, a Jew, have lost 20 of my sons in the last three days, because I will not lose my humanity and stage a careless ground war in Gaza that would cause mass casualties.

Please read his post.

Day by Day

For me, the hardest part of loving Hashem is the challenge I face every day in overcoming my baseless insecurity and learning to love my fellow man – even when my fellow man is at his worst. Maybe it is coffee. Maybe it is age. Either way, I have shown a disappointing lack of love and understanding of late, and I will put up with it from myself no longer.

When I went to Jewish summer camp in the 1970s, we sang the the song “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell. I never realized as a kid that song was from a play based on the Gospel of Matthew. All I knew was that camp more than anything else cemented by Judaism, and that song was an inexorable part of it. So to me, it is a Jewish son.

So I think of that song today, as I make my pledge to myself and Hashem to be better.

To see you more clearly: I will look into the eyes of my neighbor, and try to see more deeply into his or her heart;

To love you more dearly: I will treasure even the worst foibles of each person as an unconscious tribute to the mothers and fathers who brought them into this world;

To follow you more nearly: I will turn to Torah when I am vexed, and not lash out at those around me or allow my frustrations to fester.


Sympathy for the Hobby Lobby

“Why Hobby Lobby Isn’t Anti-Semitic”
Yair Rosenberg
October 4, 2013

In all of the anger and resentment that has surrounded Hobby Lobby of late, I missed Yair Rosenberg’s short but thoughtful piece asking us to reconsider whether either the Hobby Lobby organization or its CEO David Green are, in fact, anti-Semitic.

As Rosenberg points out:

Undoubtedly, some Jews might feel comfortable hawking baby Jesuses during the holiday season, while others might not. Both are very real, very human positions. Surely we can extend the same empathy and understanding to non-Jews with similar perspectives? This doesn’t mean one has to agree with Hobby Lobby’s decision. But it does mean we should refrain from tarring its ownership as bigots.

This is a sentiment with which any tzaddik might agree. But I think the real issue goes deeper than just Hobby Lobby.

The paradox of living in a society wherein virulent anti-semitism is either latent or non-existent is that we become increasingly sensitized to anything that offers the least hint of hatred. Our threshold lowers, and we justify that on the grounds that we must be vigilant, lest the sentiment spread and become dangerous. After all, we think, the Jews of Germany were like the proverbial boiling frogs, adapting to increasing levels of anti-Semitism right up to the point that they were herded into gas chambers.

At some point, though, we run the risk of seeing something that we think might be anti-Semitism, and it might not be, but we err on the side of caution because of we fear the consequences of adapting to any level of Jew hatred in society.

Rosenberg’s point is that we may have crossed that threshold, that we may be seeing anti-Semitism in the reflection of an orthodox Christianity that is, understandably, uncomfortable selling Judaica. In this case, until we can look into the heart of another, I am prepared to give the Hobby Lobby team the benefit of the doubt. But more broadly, it may be time to start a wider discussion about where we, as Jews, should draw the line between a possible misunderstanding of intent and clear-cut anti-Semitism.