Got your attention, didn't I ? Good. I'm gonna need it.
"... when you mix Obama and clergy together, the one thing you can count on is that they'll be left wing radicals who are anti-American and anti-Israel."
Now. Read. This. -- from Boulder.
I am sure you have read about the Gaza flotilla incident that occurred on May 30th. The Jewish world, as well as the world at large, are struggling to understand what actually happened and why. There are, of course, dueling reports, videos and views. But the incident underscores larger issues for Jews, and elicits deep feelings among us.
I would like to invite you to an open forum to share feelings and thoughts at NK next Tuesday, June 8th from 5:30- 6:30 pm. Please RSVP to me at email@example.com.
As your rabbi, I want you to know where I personally stand on the issues, as well as my colleagues from RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS-NA stand. These are my personal views and I realize they do not necessarily reflect the views of individual members of our NK community.
Below please find two letters: My OpEd to the Daily Camera as well as an open letter to the Jewish Community of North America from RABBIS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS-NA, a group of over 500 rabbis, which I serve as Co-Chairperson.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope to see you Tuesday evening.
Sorry about the changing colors, but I wanted to make sure the difference between my words, and the words of others, was perfectly clear.
I knew Tirzah for years and years in Boulder; our kids were in school together for over a decade. Full disclosure: I have never forgiven her for participating in a kangaroo court of a "beis din" that, with unspeakable hubris, tarred and feathered and ran out of town someone not only dear to me and my family, but conceivably one of the greatest Torah scholars of our generation.
And here's a further clue as to where this is inevitably going to go: Firestone (not her birth name, of course) is on the Advisory Council at "Jay" Street. Okay? so brace yourselves, here is her op-ed.
In the wake of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla tragedy, I am called to raise my voice as a rabbi and express my horror and regret over the still unnumbered deaths and injuries of international human rights activists. Even as the facts are still being gathered, I am deeply saddened by Israel's choice to conduct a military operation against civilian activists in the midst of international waters. While they did not initiate with open fire, it gives one pause that Israel chose to deploy commandos from helicopters in what seems like a surprise attack rather than resort to diplomatic measures.
Israel certainly has the right to defend itself, however, it was not endangered by this flotilla. The essential aim of the Freedom Flotilla was to carry humanitarian aid to those who have been suffering gravely under the effects of Israel's three-year blockade of Gaza. These were primarily people of conscience who chose to stand up and do something to assist in the humanitarian crisis in Gaza where families are still living amidst the rubble of Israel's incursion almost a year and a half ago. With every spin doctor in the world weighing in on what actually happened, we must not turn away in denial of the naked fact of civilian suffering in Gaza, nor blame those of good will who have tried to help.
Israel is a democratic state "based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel." As a rabbi and a committed Jew, I feel great mourning to realize how far our beloved country has strayed from its own foundational principles as well as from the noble ethics of Judaism that call us to choose life, pursue peace at all costs, and ensure the dignity of every human life, regardless of race, because each was created in the image of God.
We must stand up and demand that Israel take democratic measures now and conduct an independent, transparent, and credible investigation of this incident. In addition, we must call upon the government of Israel to resume indirect talks with Hamas. It is abundantly clear that military action, blockades, and occupation are unsustainable tactics that will never yield true or long-term peace, but rather engender more anti-Semitism and suffering on all sides.
The greatest act of love for Israel is not to fall into silence or analysis-paralysis, but rather to hold Israel to its highest standards."
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone
And here - if you're not too busy vomiting or banging your head on the nearest wall - is the letter from the "Human Rights" "rabbis." In a perfect world, they would be
As rabbis devoted to promoting the idea that every human being is created in the image of God, we feel outrage and pain over the Israeli government's handling of the incident with the Gaza flotilla on Sunday, May 30, 2010. We believe that this incident points to a deeper spiritual crisis facing the Jewish people. Along with Jews worldwide, we have long harbored idealistic hopes that the State of Israel would embody the best of Jewish and western values regarding democracy, fairness, equality, and human rights. All too often, we have seen these hopes sorely disappointed by the realities of internal politics. We feel the greatest pain that our beloved Jewish nation has become an occupier of another people restricting their basic humanitarian needs and their political rights. We feel anguish that the Israel we love so much is unnecessarily becoming more and more a pariah among nations.
As rabbis we believe we have a moral responsibility to hold up the values that we believe have always been the bedrock of Judaism. Primary among them is that all people are created in the image of God and that therefore we have an obligation to love our neighbor and to do as the prophet Micah commanded, "to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God." In addition, we believe that lessons of our history teach us that we need a state for the Jewish people but that state should not oppress another people.
As leaders of the Jewish people, we hope to provide space where you can speak honestly and safely express your sadness and disappointment about the state of Israel . We need to balance that with speaking our own minds and hearts when we see the Israeli government violating what we believe are Jewish values. In our roles we are responsible to both the Jewish people and to Judaism. When we see Israel endangering the long-term future of either we are obligated to you and to our tradition to speak out.
We do so now; we believe that the soul of the Jewish people is at stake as well as the future of Israel. For hundreds of thousands, in fact for millions of American Jews Judaism is synonymous with acting for justice, for having the courage to speak the truth about right and wrong. What Israel is doing as an occupier is wrong: it is violating the rights of millions of people and by doing so it is endangering its own future and sullying the soul of Judaism.
We call on the government of the State of Israel to establish an independent commission to evaluate the policies of the government that led to this carnage on the high seas. We call on the Israeli government to re-evaluate its policies toward the people of the Gaza Strip: specifically to allow the entry into Gaza of all humanitarian materials. We must do all we can to end the occupation and to support a two state solution.
We pray to God to give us all the strength, courage, and wisdom we need at this hour of crisis, remembering the prophet Zechariah's words, "Not by might and not by power, but by My spirit."
Rabbis for Human Rights of North America
This e-mail was sent by Nevei Kodesh, located at 3269 28th St., Boulder, CO 80301 (USA).
I woke up to this. Todah, Esther Sarah :/
Oh, and one last thing. You might want to note that there's a job opening for a "co-rabbi" at Firestone's congregation. I imagine Tirzah needs help with her flock [get it? sheep?] because it must take up a lot of her time, all this bashing of the only Jewish country in the world and rapturing over Buraq Obama al Husseini (for whom she and her husband, David Friedman, raised mega-bucks).
It is at times like this that I am most grateful for Yiddishe curses; they are so "colorful" and there is always one that fits.
"They shouldn't know where your bones are."
Firestone at Sheikh Jarah "Discrimination Endangers us All" Demonstration Feb. 26, 2010
"Despite a downpour of rain and hail, about 100 people gathered today for the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarah. Along with their regular chants today they added: Gam Bageshem, gam bakor, hafashism lo yaavor/ Despite the rain and the cold we will not let Fascism prevail.
I attended the protest with Rabbi Tirzah Firestone who was visiting from the States.
Steven Ruebner, a representative from J Street, read a statement of solidarity that was extremely well received.
Earlier in the week I visited the neighborhood with Rabbi Firestone and met Nasser who has been evicted from his home and has been living with his family on the sidewalk opposite his home since August. I thought about him today in the downpour of rain and hail which has continued now for close to 24 hours.
The settlers are in his home and he is on the street, all because he is Palestinian and they are Jewish...."
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War,
78 Jews, mostly doctors and nurses,
on their way to Hadassah Hospital
when their convoy was attacked
by Arab forces
as it passed through Sheikh Jarrah....