on Friday, 03 March 2017.
Posted in Rabbi's Blog
From our rabbi
Friends, we are not alone. One of the reasons we are here at Or Shalom is to ensure we go through our lives in community—for our children, for our families, for ourselves. While the pages of this Shofar are filled with ways for you to participate and connect and be together with others, I recognize that the world looks quite different outside of these pages of sanctuary.
Over the past few months, we have seen an uptick in anti-Semitism in our country. It has been on the rise in certain circles of social media, but we were able to opt out of such rhetoric by not following certain threads or commentators. Now, however, the talk has grown into more overt actions—a synagogue in Chicago was vandalized, bomb threats have come in waves against Jewish Community Centers across the country, including two here in the Chicagoland area (one of which is the closest JCC to Or Shalom). At the time of this writing, the latest was the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Missouri and a bomb threat called in to the biggest Jewish day school in Raleigh-Durham, NC, a place that only educates children and has no other function.
In these times, it is important to stay connected with and to one another, so we can stay strong and remain true to who we are. This can also become a time for us to seek bridges of understanding with others. Over the past couple months, I have been working together with a local pastor and imam to create a venue for those of us of different faiths who wish to enter into meaningful relationship with one another. Because of the connections we have made, I wanted to share with you the lovely email that Imam Azfar Uddin, of the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville, sent to our community:
I just wanted to email you to say how sad I am at the disgusting act of vandalism where the gravesites of more than 170 Jews were vandalized at a cemetery in University City, MO. Islamic Foundation North will stand with you during this time. We strongly condemn this barbaric act. There are narrations in which the Prophet forbade people from sitting, leaning and even walking on the graves. Imagine how upset he would be by this disgusting act of vandalism at the Jewish cemetery. Please don't hesitate to inform myself if there is anything we can do. Once again, I'm sorry the Jewish community went through this.
It feels good to turn to one another as we sort out these times. It also feels good to stand with and to be supported by those of other faiths, affirming our hopes and efforts to live in freedom, safety and hope in our homes. If you wish to join us in building these bridges of understanding, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Or Shalom office.
L’shalom,Rabbi Ari N. Margolis
Pastor Alex, Rabbi Ari and Imam Azfarshare a light moment in front of our Ark.
on Friday, 28 December 2012.
Posted in Rabbi's Blog
In the wake of the United Nations' vote to grant the Palestinians "non-member state status" the Netanyahu-led Israeli government began plans to build 3,000 housing units, a police station, an industrial park, a cemetery and a garbage dump in area E1. E1 is an area between Jerusalem and a major settlement in the West Bank, Ma'ale Adumim. It measures 4.6 sq. miles. If this area were to be settled, it would effectively cut the West Bank in half, creating a non-contiguous Palestinian territory. While by-pass roads or tunnels can be built to link one part of the "Arab" West Bank to the other, the action by Israel is provocativeat best. At worst, it signals a decision to give up on the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which could lead to a nondemocratic, apartheid-like Jewish state, i.e., a one-state solution.
As we have witnessed, even the United States, Israel's most staunch ally, is adamantly opposed to this action. Furthermore, the decision to build on area E1 is an abrogation of an understanding reached with the United States government in 2009 not to settle the area.
What little political capital Israel might have acquired during its six-day conflict with Hamas-led Gaza, seemingly has been quickly squandered by Israel.
Now some will say, indeed this is the line of the Israeli government, that Mahmoud Abbas, by pressing for andobtaining non-member state status for "Palestine" at the United Nations General Assembly forced Israeli retaliative action. The Netanyahu-led government argues, as has the United States, that such an action puts the cart in front of the horse, that a two-state solution should take place within the framework of the Oslo Accords. Others argue that the threat of E1 settlement is a gambit by Israel to keep the Palestinians from pressing for "statehood" in the U.N., applying for statehood status in other U.N. institutions and from keeping the Palestinians from pressing charges against Israeli leaders in the International Criminal Court as well as a response to Abbas' vituperative verbal attack against Israel at the U.N.
I am not a fan of the Netanyahu government. I do not believe that it is an honest broker of peace. As an American Jew I find its position difficult to defend, as I see Israel plunged into a diplomatic crisis that threatens it with significant world isolation. Israel has a right to defend itself and to make sovereign decisions. Sadly, the voice of the political left has been diminished to a near silence in Israel, leaving only the center and right to lead the nation. I truly hope that the Prime Minister does not succumb to ultra-nationalist zealotry, leading Israel into a morass from which it has no possibility of democratic survival.
B’vracha – with blessing,
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