Is Outreach to Muslims the Answer?

Let us call the terror in Paris what it is: Islamic violent extremism. But in doing so, Deborah Lipstadt writes, let us engage the vast majority of Muslims who are the key to stopping this scourge.

Source: Best Way To Stop Islamic Terrorism? Reach Out to Muslims. – Opinion – Forward.com

Lipstadt has a point, provided that:

  • The Muslims with whom we engage are prepared to take an active stand against violent extremists rather than simply pay lip service; and
  • That we are not afraid to engage with righteous Muslims who are both dedicated to the cause of peace and whose voices carry weight among the faithful.

There are Muslims like that. HRH King Abdullah II of Jordan leaps to mind…

A point on the politics of Israel

There should always be a place in Eretz Yisrael for both the Haredim and for the secular socialists. But no group, however well-intentioned, should ever be able to hold hostage the entire nation. Such a situation places the Holy Land on a path to another fall, and another tear-filled journey to a new Babylon.

Jewish Xmas Plans

6:00 am – Rise and Shine. T’Fillin.
8:00 am – Breakfast: Lox and Bagels
10:00 am – Go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens
1:00 pm – Chinese food for lunch
4:30ish pm – Light candles
5:00ish pm – Shul for Kabbalat Shabbat
7:30 pm – Home for light dinner. D’var that links the passing of Jacob to Star Wars. Z’mirot.
9:30 pm – Laila tov.

Jewish Book Lists: Rabbi Adar

Source: My Basic Jewish Book List | Coffee Shop Rabbi

As you plan your reading for the coming weeks, here is a superb list of books for nearly everyone’s Jewish bookshelf from Rabbi Ruth Adar in San Leandro, California.

Some of these might sit more comfortably in the hands of Conservative or Reform Jews than those of our more frum brothers and sisters, but believe there is insight and good thinking in this list for all of us.

Montana’s Kosher Rescue Team

Hillel Fuld of Beit Shemesh, Israel, says that somehow, Rabbi Chaim and Chavie Bruk—co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in Bozeman—got news of the situation and set about immediately to offer assistance. With her three young children in tow, Chavie Bruk drove a car full of kosher food 150 miles to Billings Logan International Airport, where passengers had been waiting for nearly 10 hours.

Source: A Kosher Rescue Mission for El Al Travelers Stuck in Montana – Plane makes an emergency landing, and emissaries make an emergency delivery – Chabad-Lubavitch News

Children and Reason

Perhaps if the late Mr. Hitchens had paid more attention in philosophy class, he would have understood that even the great philosophers acknowledged (and warned their students about) the limits of reason to answer “the really important questions.”

I give Hitchens full credit: he lived, wrote, and died holding high the sword of reason, never wavering in his belief that the ability of the human intellect to comprehend everything with the aid of logic was limitless.

That such a faith in and of itself defied logic and served as a kind of secular religion probably never occurred to him.

Not Yet Time for Vegetarianism

“[Rav Kook wrote that] the mitzvot light the way to the perfection of the future – a time when the animals will have been transformed into humans, and humans into angels. Thus kashrut is mean to prepare us for vegetarianism, a great step forward in the moral perfection of the human race – but must not be done before its time, for the complacency and self-satisfaction it might bring. Indeed, he wrote, one could imagine a bloodthirsty tyrant who prided himself on his vegetarianism, eerily presaging Hitler.”

Yehudah Mirsky