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July 2, 2016 / 26 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Nachman Shai’

American Reform Rabbis Warn of Disconnect with Israel

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

American Reform rabbis are warning of an imminent disconnect with Israel in their movement. The distance is growing over insulting comments by Israeli lawmakers and their outrage over the long-standing “Who is a Jew” issue that seems to again be returning for another round of debate between Israel and the Diaspora.

The Reform Movement is the largest stream of the faith in the United States, although it has marginal numbers in Israel. It has provided key support for the Jewish State both politically and financially in the U.S. and whenever Israel is threatened, the movement is among the first to respond.

The angst between American Reform Jewry and Israel was reflected during a meeting last week between the movement’s leaders and Israeli officials.

“How do you ask Jews around the world to support Israel politically, economically, socially … and at the same time you have these ministers who say to our people ‘you’re not really Jewish’ or ‘you don’t have a place here in Israel?’

“It’s a real problem for us,” said Rabbi Steven Fox, the chief executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The 2,000-member CCAR held its septennial convention in Israel last week.

Israel faces a thorny dilemma, being a Jewish State where some key laws are based on those in Torah, such as the definition (for marital purposes) of “who is a Jew” and what constitutes a legitimate Jewish marriage and divorce.

The state has tried to make diplomatic compromises in that it has stretched the identification of a Jew to embrace all those who met “Hitler’s definition” – that is, anyone who can prove the Judaism of a single grandparent on either side.

But the American Reform movement today includes temples with mixed gender seating, female rabbis and members who violate the Sabbath by driving to services. Many no longer recognize the kosher laws as relevant either, relegating that practice to antiquity as an ancient law used to protect public health. Some members have even taken on the practice of installing a Christmas tree in the home around the winter holidays, so their children won’t feel “different.” Many are intermarried.

Last month after three years of delicate negotiations, the state risked a crisis with the Orthodox population and designated a special mixed-gender prayer section at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In that section, women are permitted to wear prayer shawls and yarmulkas as do Jewish men.

The upheaval that followed rocked the Jewish world in Israel and the Orthodox world around the planet. Israel’s chief rabbis were furious and the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, threatened to resign.

The American Reform movement was overjoyed, as was the activist Women of the Wall organization.

But now American Reform rabbis are angry because an Israeli minister called the movement a “waning world.” Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, himself a secular Jew, pointed out that intermarriage and assimilation will eventually lead to the disappearance of the Jews who engage in those practices. Levin commented that the mixed-gender prayer site at the Western Wall would likely become unnecessary within two or three generations.

A hareidi-religious lawmaker was more abrupt and far less polite, comparing the Reform movement to the “mentally ill.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is not observant, was caught between having to try to force his lawmakers to behave with some dignity and respect, and having to pacify the deeply insulted visiting Reform rabbis.

Netanyahu had already rejected “disparaging and divisive remarks” about Reform Jews. He called the movement “part and parcel of the Jewish people” and reminded Israelis that a Jew is a Jew, regardless of which synagogue he attends. He also met with the visiting Reform rabbis, albeit without a public notice.

Hana Levi Julian

American Jews Protest Release of Terrorists and Start of False Talks

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Stalwart New York-area pro-Israel Jews gathered in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City midday Tuesday, July 30 to express their grave disappointment in Israeli leadership which they believe has caved in to wrong-headed and wrongly-directed demands by the U.S. government to commence foolhardy “peace” talks.

And as an inducement for the Arab Palestinians to deign to sit down and speak with representatives of the Jewish State, the Israeli government violated solemn promises made to scores of Israelis: that imprisoned terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands will never be released from prison.

As dozens held signs and chanted, several speakers representing nearly two dozen pro-Israel organizations shared their outrage over the decisions.

Buddy Macy is an Israel activist from New Jersey.  He has written dozens of letters to Israeli Knesset members over the years, beseeching them to be strong and not fall for the threats of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations or any of the other global entities which constantly demand of Israel concessions that they never make of another sovereign nation.

Macy honed in on the idea that Israel keeps making concessions, the concessions keep leading to more violence, and yet, in the name of what everyone calls the “peace process,” Israel continues to submit to making still more concessions.

Macy asked whether it was time for Israel to learn from the Arab Palestinians, who at least have the strength of their convictions, even if Macy and others believe those convictions are based on falsehoods.

“From a practical standpoint, also, isn’t it time that we stopped agreeing to and implementing the least harmful concessions, and, rather, stood up for what we believe,” Macy asked.

“Releasing Arab murderers of Jewish men, women and children in another one of Israel’s ‘goodwill gestures” is foolish, said Tamar Adelstein, coordinator of Crown Heights Women for the Safety and Integrity of Israel, which organized Tuesday’s event. “Every gesture for peace the State of Israel signs onto endangers the lives of every Jewish citizen who lives in Israel. Every land for peace deal that Israeli and Jewish leaders have agreed to has brought war, terrorism, devastating property damage and loss, and has left traumatized vast numbers of our precious Jewish children.”

Helen Freedman, the executive director of the New York-based Americans for a Safe Israel, reminded the Israeli prime minister how he had ridiculed former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for considering releasing prisoners with Israeli blood on their hands.

“When Netanyahu was in the Opposition and Sharon talked about releasing prisoners, Netanyahu said it was disgraceful for [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon to consider releasing terrorists, and that is because releasing terrorists encourages Israel’s enemies,” Freedman said at the press conference on Tuesday.

“Netanyahu was so forceful in saying that if Likud was in power they would make sure this would never happen. And Gideon Saar was at his side, agreeing,” Freedman reminded the crowd. “But on Sunday, Saar and Bogie Ya’alon and others disappointed us all and voted to release these murderers.”

An undercurrent at the gathering was speculation about what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet were threatened with that induced them to vote 13 – 7 in favor of the prisoner release.

Most agreed it probably had to do either with refusing to help – or actively hindering – Israel’s efforts to stop Iran from attaining nuclear weapons or refusing to veto anti-Israel actions at the United Nations.

Israel’s agreement to release prisoners with blood on their hands in exchange for absolutely nothing other than sitting at the table with them was particularly irksome.

“This demand clearly proves that there is absolutely no intention of any peace on the side of the PA and we should call their bluff and accept the reality that the ‘peace’ process is a sham,” Robin Ticker, a blogger and pro-Israel activist told The Jewish Press after the rally.

Organizations including the Los Angeles-based Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, B’nai Brith of Toronto, Rachel’s Children Reclamation Center, the International Committee for the Land of Israel, and a Victims of Terror group supported Tuesday’s press conference.

In an email to The Jewish Press on Tuesday evening, Macy explained that he had sent a copy of his speech to every member of the Israeli government, and concluded it with a plea for true American Jewish leadership regarding Israel:

We, in America, are also desperately seeking true leadership from one of our own who sits in a position of esteemed leadership.  I am positive that at least one of you agrees with me that the release of 104 Arab “Palestinian” convicted murderers is an obscenity that reduces the worth of every Jew in the world.  I am also certain that at least one of you thinks that the idea of a two-state ‘solution’ – at least at this time – is pure fantasy.  Please, I beg of you, speak out publicly before all of Israel’s sovereignty has disappeared, and before all of us have been placed in grave danger.

Knesset member Nachman Shai (Labor) is the only Israeli who answered Macy’s emails.  Shai wrote: “Do not send more emails.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Report: Kadima Headed for Split, No Matter Who Wins Primary

Monday, March 19th, 2012

A source in the Knesset told the Jewish Press in the wake of Monday afternoon’s Kadima faction meeting that a consensus is building that Kadima is headed for a split. The source said that although the faction meeting ended with smiles and handshakes all around, party members appeared convinced that a split will occur, no matter who wins the Kadima leadership primary slated for March 27.

Since Kadima’s fracturing is inevitable, the leadership primary becomes significance in that it will determine which leader will secure the votes of Kadima MKs whose allegiance is to the party, and not its leader; MKs whose continued membership in Kadima is not contingent on the victory of either Livni or Mofaz. The source said that MKs like Nachman Shai are the ones that will inevitably serve as kingmakers for the next Kadima chairman.

Rafi Harkham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/report-kadima-headed-for-split-no-matter-who-wins-primary/2012/03/19/

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