Some years ago, I read about a German Jew who established a "Jewish Nazi Society" during the 1930s. While Jews throughout Germany (and Europe in general) were facing horrible anti-Jewish persecutions, this Jewish man internalized the vicious anti-Semitic propaganda to such an extent that he also became a Jew-hater. Perhaps he thought that by identifying as a Nazi, he would be spared personally from the anti-Jewish persecutions. He wanted to be considered as "a good Jew" in the eyes of the Nazis, rather than be accounted among the "bad" Jews whom the Nazis were tormenting.
There is a way to respect the sanctity of life of a goses, while withholding or removing impediments to a peaceful death. But this requires physicians with wisdom, expert clinical judgment, skills of communication, and sensitivity to the value of life and the concerns of families. It also requires sensitive guidance from spiritual leaders, who sometimes view death as an enemy, rather than inevitable.
Amos’ great innovation on the biblical landscape is that Israel’s moral state directly affects its national destiny. Arguably, the Book of Amos is exclusively about morality and social justice.
This article begins with a brief history of the Syrian Jewish community and their settlement in New York in the twentiethcentury. As other Arab Jewish immigrants joined, this united group of people has come to be identified as the Sephardic community of Brooklyn.
I would challenge us to ask ourselves: Is a synagogue a social club or a spiritual home? Is Jewish education for teaching content and behavior—now bend here, now say this—or for imbuing children with the sense that we go in the presence of the Almighty, that He has gifted us the rule book to best play this game of life and tasked us with a life's mission?
No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
In his magnum opus, Ha’amek Davar, Rabbi
Naftali Tzvi Berlin, (also called
Netziv, 1817-93), the last leader of the illustrious yeshiva of Volozhin, Russia, asks why the
first book of the Torah, Bereshith is
also called: Sefer Hayashar, “the book of those who are upright”. In his own
unusual way, Netziv responds that this is due to the fact that the three
patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaacov, the main figures in this book, were
men of uncompromising straightforwardness, justice and mercy.
Until the early twentieth century, women in most countries
had limited roles in civic life. In 1917, for example only
five countries in Europe allowed women to vote—
Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Soviet Russia. The women’s suffrage
movement in the United States and Europe was ultimately successful
in gaining the vote for women, but victory came only after a period of
protracted social and political agitation.
All Israelis and all Jews have a stake in an honest, compassionate, competent and courageous Chief Rabbinate, one that serves as a unifying force. The sooner the rabbinate is reconstituted, the sooner will we be able to say with a full heart: "For out of Zion comes forth the Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem."