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June 1, 2016 / 24 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘parade’

Israel’s Left Calling for Abolition of Jerusalem Day

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Gush Shalom Spokesperson Adam Keller on Saturday night called  to remove Jerusalem Day from Israel’s calendar of national holidays.

On the 28th of the Month of Iyar, which in 1967 fell on June 7, the old city of Jerusalem was liberated from its Arab occupiers by the IDF. The day has been celebrated since, following a May 12, 1968 government proclamation.

But according to Keller, Jerusalem Day is “a holiday only to settlers and racists, who get a license to provoke and harass Palestinians . . The real ‘Jerusalem Day’ [will come] when Jerusalem becomes the capital of two states living in peace.”

Keller published his announcement on “Media With Conscience,” a website which strives to achieve “world peace, social justice and a high awareness by humankind of the present and future dangers to its survival.”

Keller continues further in his statement: “‘Jerusalem Day’ is not a holiday to Israel’s citizens or to residents of Jerusalem. It is a holiday only for the young settlers, who are given by the Jerusalem Police a free hand to hold a provocative ‘Flag Dance’ throughout East Jerusalem – even though in previous years this ‘dance’ developed into an ongoing chain of racist harassment and violence against Palestinian inhabitants.”

The traditional Dance of flags is part of the parade of Jerusalem Day, in which tens of thousands of Israelis march from the western part of the capital through the Muslim Quarter, ending in front of the Wailing Wall. That part of Jerusalem Day, the parade, has received the greatest amount of criticism on the Left.

The original parade and the first dances with flags took place in 1968, when students at the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva, led by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, marched up Yaffo Street, concluding with singing and dancing well into the night, at the kotel.

Carrying Israeli flags has become a distinct feature of the Jerusalem Day parade, as myriad marchers establish with their feet and their flags the Jewish sovereignty over the city.

According to Haaretz, a group of 21 leftist organizations calling themselves Forum Tag Meir, requested the Jerusalem municipality as well as the police to bar the parade from Arab neighborhoods, for fear of violent clashes between marchers and angry Arabs.

The police actually suggested, initially, that this year’s parade only move through the western part of town. But National Religious representatives accused the police of re-dividing the city with the restriction of the very parade that celebrates its unification.

“With this move the police is taking up a dangerous position regarding the division of Jerusalem,” NRP’s Deputy Mayor David Harari wrote Homeland Security Minister Yitzhak Ahronowitch, according to Haaretz.

Harari complained that with its plan, the police would be “educating our youth that the place of the Jews is in the western part of the city and not in its eastern part.”

Only this past week did the police change its position and agreed to the traditional path of the parade, through the Shchem Gate and the Muslim Quarter.

Incidentally, Adam Keller, the staunch enemy of Jerusalem Day, has been carrying the torch against the reunification of the land under Jewish rule for decades, and on occasion paid a personal price for his views. He has sat in prison more than once for refusing to serve in the territories liberated in 1967.

Unique among his comrades, Keller’s actions in the past have been imaginative and even ambitious.  In 1988 he was sentenced to three months in jail for defacing 117 tanks and other military vehicles with graffiti that read: “Soldiers of the IDF, refuse to be occupiers and oppressors, refuse to serve in the occupied territories!” He also pasted hundreds of “Down with the occupation!” stickers throughout the camp where he was doing his reserves duty.

Truth be told, writing press releases is a bit of a step backwards for the imaginative Keller.

Yori Yanover

Backlash Against Inclusion of BDS in Israel Day Parade

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

A major backlash against a UJA-Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) decision to permit groups encouraging Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel to march in the upcoming Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City has led to a campaign to oust the groups from the event.

“A coalition of community Jewish organizations urgently calls on all friends of Israel to make their voices heard,” an e-mail from an organization called JCC Watch reads. “We urge everyone to raise your voices and call the UJA-Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).  Urge them to stop these groups from marching in the Israel Day Parade and hijacking a pro-Israel event for their anti-Israel purposes.”

Those who participate in the campaign will be responding to news that the New Israel Fund (NIF) will be participating in this year’s parade, despite funding projects that many see as aiming to delegitimize and weaken Israel, both socio-politically and economically.

NIF is a funder of various organizations which have urged divestment from Israel, including Mossawa, Adalaha, Machsom Watch, Coalition of Women for Peace, Social TV, and Women Against Violence.

The NIF marched in last year’s parade, along with Israel Apartheid Week supporter B’Tselem , Rabbis for Human Rights, and  Partners for Progressive Israel, which has called for a boycott of all products produced by Jews in Judea and Samaria.

JCC Watch founder and member of the newly established Committee for a Pro-Israel Parade Richard Allen stated that “it is not surprising that the UJA-Federation is pushing these bash Israel groups to march in the June 3, 2012 Israel Parade.”  He accused several senior members of the UJA of being involved in anti-Israel work, including one officer he says worked with Noam Chomsky on an anti-Israel project and another he says gave $1 million in UJA funds to the “George Soros-funded political group”  Jewish Funds for Justice.

Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI) Executive Director Helen Freedman decried the participation of the BDS groups, noting that when her organization wanted to march in the parade with signs promoting Jewish sovereignty over all the land assigned to the Jewish people in biblical texts, her group was denied. “We were turned down because we were too “extremist” and our banners in support of a whole Israel – yisrael shlayma -were not welcome,” Freedman said, according to a letter from her posted on the website of activist Batya Meidad.

Supporters of the campaign to oust BDS groups from the annual New York City parade are being encouraged to call or e-mail Board members of the UJA Federation of New York.

Members of the Committee for a Pro-Israel Parade include Allen of JCCWatch, Rabbi Steven Axelman of Whitestone Hebrew Centre, Helen Freedman of Americans for a Safe Israel, Beth Gilinsky of the National Conference on Jewish Affairs, Eli E. Hertz of “Myths and Facts”, Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z Street, Rabbi Allen Schwartz of Congregation Ohab Zedek, and Rabbi Eli Kowalsky.

Malkah Fleisher

Long-Delayed Death Of A Bad Dude

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

In the 1980s, I was an unrefined adolescent from blue-collar Butler, Pennsylvania. I knew nothing and cared nothing about politics. I had no idea if I was a conservative or a liberal, Democrat or Republican, or much of anything else.

But I knew one thing: Muammar Khaddafi was a bad dude.

And now, three decades later, and some 40-plus years after coming to power, he is gone, dispatched to the ash heap of history with other murderous terrorists and dictators: Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin.

I will not here add to reports of how Khaddafi met his final fate, but I would like to share a valuable piece of information that was revealed to me by Bill Clark, Ronald Reagan’s right-hand man and national security adviser when Khaddafi was ramping up in the 1980s.

It was early 1981. President Reagan had just been inaugurated. Alexandre de Marenches, the director of France’s external intelligence agency, SDECE, came to the White House with a highly sensitive plan to remove Khaddafi. The plan was to assassinate the Libyan dictator during a parade, by use of an explosive device placed near the reviewing stand.

“Our answer,” said Clark, “was that we understood their feelings toward the man, but we don’t do assassinations.”

That was because there was an executive order banning assassinations, first signed by President Gerald Ford and supported by President Carter. The Reagan team had no intention of violating the order as one of the first acts of the new administration.

Intelligence sources I consulted confirmed Clark’s recollection of de Marenches’ request.

“He came over to the U.S., probably in early February 1981,” said one source, a high-level CIA “operations” person. “His interlocutor was Vice President Bush. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the removal of Khaddafi. He came to try to get us involved operationally in the plan…. He wanted not just our moral or political support but to get us involved in the actual operation.”

This same source pointed to the “Safari Club,” which was a group of countries – France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the Shah’s Iran – that had banded together for two primary purposes: 1) to fight the spread of Soviet communism in Africa; and 2) to counter Khaddafi, particularly his adventures in neighboring Chad.

The group was formed by intelligence ministers in the mid-1970s, and de Marenches was its catalyst. The group was appalled by America’s unwillingness to no longer stand up to the Soviets; it was post-Watergate, post-Vietnam, Americans had elected an incredibly liberal Congress, and Jimmy Carter was president. The Club sought to fill the vacuum.

De Marenches’ offer concerning Khaddafi was consistent with the concerns of the Safari Club.

As an indication of the confidential nature of his overture, de Marenches did not discuss his offer to the Reagan administration in either of his 1986 and 1992 books. But he did note yet another intention to kill Kaddafi: He said that on March 1, 1978, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had asked de Marenches for help in “disposing of him [Khaddafi] physically.”

Think of the irony here, and how tragically history unfolds: It was Sadat who would be assassinated, in October 1981. He was killed at a reviewing stand at a parade, shot by Islamists for his “crime” of making peace with Israel.

While Sadat died, Khaddafi was permitted to live. Sadat made peace. Khaddafi left a trail of blood and violence.

And here’s another irony still: Just weeks after de Marenches’s offer to Reagan to assassinate Khaddafi, Reagan was shot, on March 30, 1981, and nearly bled to death.

Dr. Paul Kengor

Israel Day Parade, Manhattan

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Question: How would you rate this year’s turnout?




Pretty good. There seems to be a large, energetic crowd. I wasn’t here last year because I wasn’t in New York. This year I’m marching with Touro College since I go there for graduate school, but I would have came anyway to show my support.

Raizel Adler, student






Not only are there more people this year, but I find that more organizations are here too. I’m here today working for Zaka by selling flags, pins, and other items to raise money for the organization. I find that the crowd is buying more this year and that they really are interested in helping out.

David Ambinder, student




This year, people came more to help out, not just hang out. Last year, I recall, people stayed for an hour or so and then moved on after their friends were done marching, but this year people are sticking around till the end. I also see more people willing to give money to help out organizations. I also see more non-Jews in the crowd compared to last year.

Shmuely Golomb, student 




This year’s parade is very inspiring. It’s nice to see how many people are committed to living a Jewish life. There is a strong turnout and I’m thrilled to see how many youngsters came out to join. They seem to really be involved in Israel’s future.

Helene Garber, social worker

Ita Yankovich

Parade route, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Question: Impressed or disappointed with the turnout at this year’s Salute to Israel Parade?



It’s hard to tell because last year I was actually marching in the parade together with my university. This is my first year viewing the parade from the audience’s perspective. It seems about the same as last year. It’s a totally different experience participating in the parade on the other side of the gate.

– Anton Urenshtein, student


Impressed. This year had a nice turnout. It helps that the weather was very accommodating as well. I was impressed to see all the different groups marching and the different communities coming together. It’s clear that people still come here every year to show their support. People gather here from all different boroughs for a good cause.

– Avi Saks, businessman


Some people have commented that the crowd seems smaller than last year’s, but I don’t find that to be true. This year’s enthusiasm seems stronger than last year’s, and people seem more involved.

– Avi Laub, financial services


Impressed. I’m finding that each year schools are doing a better job of getting organized. The crowd seems to really be enjoying the parade.

– Tammy Pak, teacher


Impressed. It was a nice turnout. I come here every year and I find that every year it gets better and better. There’s a great ruach in this crowd.

– Tzippi Rosen, social worker

Ita Yankovich

Letters To The Editor

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Offensive Parade

   It’s gratifying to hear that the planned gay parade in Israel will meet with massive resistance from Jews, Muslims and Christians (news story, Oct. 27).
   It took a lot of nerve, though, for gay activist Noa Satat to chastise the opposition to the parade with words from, of all places, the Torah: Love thy brother as thyself.
   What happened to the part of the Torah that condemns the gay lifestyle as an abomination?
   What’s really ironic is that with an overwhelming majority of Israelis – Jews, Muslims and Christians – opposing the gay parade, “brotherly love” would call for canceling the parade so as not to offend so many people. To so selfishly proceed with plans for the parade and chide others with words like “Love thy brother as thyself” is the height of hypocrisy.

Josh Greenberger

Brooklyn, NY


Equal Assistance

   In an October 20 letter, reader Ken Abrams expressed dismay that UJA Federation is distributing aid to all the residents of war-torn Northern Israel and not discriminating against Arab residents.
   I think what Mr. Abrams is promoting is discrimination, pure and simple. Let’s put this into proper perspective. Let’s say the KKK distributed aid to Katrina evacuees in New Orleans but only if they were white and Gentile. That would be blatant racism and no American would stand for it. I don’t see how that’s any different than a Jewish organization only helping Jews in Northern Israel and leaving everyone else who was affected by the war in the dark.
   During this time of calamity people need to work across ethnic and cultural lines and put aside their differences in order to help one another. Arabs and Jews in Israel were equally affected by the war, and they are both equally deserving of assistance in rebuilding their communities.

Oren Balaban

Brooklyn, NY


Sages Opposed Discrimination


   The view expressed by reader Ken Abrams probably reflected the reaction of many Jews to the news that money raised by Jewish organizations ostensibly to help Jewish victims of the recent war with Hizbullah is, in fact, being directed to Arab families as well.
   I think it’s important to point out, however, that our Sages seem to have had a different viewpoint. The Gemara records: “Our rabbis have taught: ‘We support the poor of the heathen along with the poor of Israel, and visit the sick of the heathen along with the sick of Israel, and bury the dead of the heathen along with the dead of Israel, in the interests of peace.’ “

Gilbert Braverman




Frum Vs. Ehrlich (I)
   Dr. Yitzchok Levine’s excellent Oct. 20 front-page essay “Frum or Ehrlich?” reminded me of a statement made by Rav Ahron Soloveichik, zt”l, at a Rabbinical Council of America convention some years ago:
   “Don’t tell me about frum Jews. Frum Jews you find in jail. Tell me about ehrlicher Yidden.”
Rabbi Howard Finkelstein

Ottawa, Canada

Frum Vs. Ehrlich (II)
   Frum or Ehrlich?” was especially timely to me as I was recently acquainted with a frum family who were so focused on the external aspects of their observance that they neglected the observance of the foundations of Judaism. And in doing so, they were clearly anything but ehrlich.
   I liken it to a house that may look beautiful on the outside and magnificently decorated on the inside – but of what value is that house if it rests on a weak and eroded foundation?
Laurie Tansman

New York, NY




FDR: Hero Or Villain?

Readers Respond To Robert Rosen


Incomplete Picture
      Robert N. Rosen claims he is trying to set the record straight in his book Saving The Jews (“FDR Was a Hero, Not a Villain,” op-ed, Oct. 27). However, he omits that portion of the record where FDR’s secretary of the treasury and confidant, Henry Morgenthau, late in the war presented him with a report entitled “The Acquiescence of the United States Government in the Murder of the Jews of Europe.”
      It was only at that late point that FDR finally permitted some real action to save the Jews of Europe by creation of the War Refugee Board, which enabled true heroes like Raoul Wallenberg to rescue some of our people at the end of the war.
      Mr. Rosen is a clever attorney, but a more accurate picture of FDR can be seen from cabinet member Morgenthau, an eyewitness to the appalling indifference of FDR’s administration to the plight of the six million martyrs.

Harvey Herbert

(Via E-Mail)


Conflicting Accounts

      I am currently reading Stella by Peter Wyden, a book on the life of Stella Goldschlag that details her complicity with the SS. The book is quite specific concerning the plight of the St. Louis and differs considerably from the account offered by Robert Rosen.
      According to Wyden (pp. 86, 87), “The remaining 200-plus, unacceptable to the various governments for one bureaucratic reason or another, were returned to Hamburg and the mercies of the Nazis.” Rosen claims nobody was returned to Germany.
   Which account is accurate?

Shelly Chasan

(Via E-Mail)


Improper Context

      Robert Rosen quotes me as having written that during World War II, “the American Jew … could not stand up proudly … his natural posture was bowed and bent,” and Rosen implies that I portrayed American Jews as “cowards.”
      In fact, I never referred to them as “cowards,” and the phrase “bowed and bent” was used in the context of discussing statements on the subject that were made by Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes and Justice Louis D. Brandeis.
      As quoted on pp. 79-80 of my book Were We Our Brothers’ Keepers? The Public Response of American Jews to the Holocaust, 1938-1944, Ickes wrote in a 1938 diary entry: “I spoke to him [Brandeis] of the cowardice on the part of the rich Jews of America. I said that I would like to get two or three hundred of them together in a room and tell them that they couldn’t hope to save their money by meekly accepting whatever humiliations others chose to impose upon them. [Ickes added that they must be more aggressive and active in defense of Jews as the Catholics were.] Justice Brandeis agreed with me completely. He said there was a certain type of rich Jew who was a coward. According to him, these are German Jews and he spoke of them with the same contempt that I feel for them.”
      Every serious historian of twentieth-century American Jewry has taken note of the atmosphere of rising anti-Semitism in the United States in the 1930’s, which intimidated many American Jews and made them reluctant to speak out forcefully for the Jews in Hitler Germany. The words of Ickes and Brandeis may have been jarring in tone, but they raised important questions about a well-known phenomenon of American Jewish life.
      Rosen’s real quarrel is with Ickes and Brandeis, not me.

(Rabbi) Haskel Lookstein

New York, NY

‘Severe Misrepresentations’

      Robert Rosen severely misrepresents the positions taken by Jewish leaders in the 1940’s concerning the idea of bombing Auschwitz.
      Rosen writes that in June 1944, “the Jewish Agency Executive in Palestine [including David Ben-Gurion] voted 11-1 against asking the Allies to bomb Auschwitz.”
      If Rosen had bothered to read the transcript of that Jewish Agency meeting, he would know that they voted against bombing Auschwitz only because they believed that it was “a labor camp,” not a death camp.

      But later that month, Richard Lichtheim, in the Agency’s Geneva office, sent the Agency leadership in Jerusalem the first eyewitness account of the mass-murder process in Auschwitz. In response, Agency representatives in various countries repeatedly urged Allied officials to bomb Auschwitz.

      Chaim Weizmann and Moshe Shertok, in London, lobbied the British. Also lobbying for bombing were Moshe Krausz, the Agency’s representative in Budapest; Richard Lichtheim, in Geneva; Yitzhak Greenbaum, chairman of the Agency’s Rescue Committee, in Jerusalem; and Eliahu Epstein, chief of the Jewish Agency’s Middle and Near East Division, who lobbied Soviet officials in Cairo. Epstein reported on his efforts to Ben-Gurion.

      Rosen writes: “The World Jewish Congress consistently told the Department of War and the War Refugee Board that it was opposed to bombing …”

      Wrong again.

      Only one official of the WJCongress, A. Leon Kubowitzki, said that the Allies should attack the camp with paratroopers rather than bombing from the air. But Kubowitzki’s WJC colleague, Maurice Perlzweig, sent U.S. officials requests to bomb the camps. Their boss, World Jewish Congress co-chair Nahum Goldmann, lobbied U.S., British and Soviet officials to bomb Auschwitz. On p. 614 of Rosen’s own book, he mentions a July 3, 1944 letter from Goldmann to exiled Czech leader Jan Masaryk.

      What Rosen did not tell his readers is that Goldmann wrote: “We have discussed with the War Refugee Board [a U.S. government agency] the idea that the Russian and American Governments be asked to look for a way to destroy these camps by bombing or any other means. This would certainly stop or at least hold up the massacres since all the infernal instruments used, such as gas chambers, vans, etc., would have to be rebuilt.”

      Rosen claims: “Very few Jewish leaders asked the British and American governments to bomb the camps … Most Jewish groups and leaders opposed the bombing of Auschwitz …”

      Wrong yet again. Bombing was advocated not only by the Jewish Agency and World Jewish Congress, but also the Labor Zionists of America; the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe (the Bergson Group); Slovak Jewish leaders Gisi Fleischmann and Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel; Czech Jewish leader Ernest Frischer; and Swiss Jewish businessman and rescue activist Robert Goldschmidt. The American Jewish Conference, a coalition of all major U.S. Jewish organizations, called for “all measures” to be taken by the Allies to destroy the death camps-clearly not ruling out bombing.

      The editors of the Independent Jewish Press Service urged bombing the camps, as did columnists for Opinion (the magazine edited by Stephen Wise) and the Yiddish daily Morgen Zhurnal. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported sympathetically on the bombing idea, as did the National Jewish Ledger. The aforementioned A. Leon Kubowitzki was the only official of any Jewish organization who is known to have expressed opposition to the idea of bombing.

      Yes, Jewish leaders were too quick to accept the Roosevelt administration’s rejections of their bombing requests. They should not have so readily taken “no” for an answer when twelve thousand Jews were being murdered in Auschwitz every day. But timidity is not the same as opposition. And the Jewish leadership’s timidity did not absolve the Roosevelt administration of its own moral responsibility to make at least some minimal effort to save innocent lives.

Rafael Medoff, Director

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Washington, D.C.

      Editor’s Note: Mr. Rosen will reply in next week’s issue.

Letters to the Editor

Is This Something To Parade About?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003
Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I am writing to you from Jerusalem. My family and I made aliyah 15 years ago. One of the reasons why we took this step was because we wanted our children to be raised and nurtured in the holy air of Jerusalem, in a Torah atmosphere, and above all, to share in the incredible return of our people to the land.

Much has changed during this period. Today, in our beautiful holy city, we live in constant fear. Every day, I send my children off to school with the prayer that HaShem watch them and grant them a safe return. I worry, each and every moment, for the life of my husband, who has no choice but to go to work every day by bus. With it all, however, I don’t for a single moment regret our decision to make aliyah, and I thank G-d every day for having granted us the privilege of living here – this, despite the fact that my sister was the victim of a terrorist attack which left her handicapped and with constant headaches. But she, too, will tell you that she would never consider leaving Jerusalem. Life has not been easy, but we love it here, and as much as we live with fear, we have faith that HaShem will protect us.

I am writing to you, at this time, in reference to a story which appeared in the 10/05/03 issue of The Jerusalem Post, which disturbed me no end. I am referring to the impending International Gay Festival and World Parade, with its hundred of thousands of revelers, that is scheduled to be held in Jerusalem two years hence. That such a parade could be planned for
Jerusalem is a colossal desecration of HaShem’s Holy Name, and it is outrageous that not one of our elected officials has seen fit to speak up. The newspapers reported that when questioned, the spokesperson for Mayor Lupolianski (who is our city’s first Haredi mayor) stated that “this is a police matter and not a municipal decision”. The Jerusalem police
spokeswoman also skirted the issue, saying that ” the police only provide the security permits for such events and that it is way too early to even discuss the planned parade. The last such international parade, which took place in Rome in the year 2000, saw about half a million participants, so you can imagine the Chilul HaShem that something like this could entail.
I cannot believe that such a desecration of G-d’s Name, would be even considered for our holy city. As menacing as the constant threats from the Arabs are, the possibility of a gay parade is even more frightening. Surely the mayor realizes that according to our Torah, homosexuality is one of those sinful abominations which can lead to disgorging the inhabitants from the land” (Leviticus 18). How then can he remain silent?

Whoever I have tried to discuss this subject with has told me that we residents of Jerusalem have enough on our plates right now and shouldn’t waste time worrying about things that may or may not happen two years down the road.

While this argument is not without merit, I am also a firm believer in preventive medicine. A battle waged at the 11th hour, when the event is imminent, can become very ugly and fierce. The time to act is now, before things get out of control. Since no one here seems to be alarmed, I thought that I would write to you. If you would comment on this subject, your
readers would be inspired to write to the mayor and to the various elected officials of the Municipality of Jerusalem, as well as to the elected officials of the Knesset, it might just make an impact and avert disaster.

My dear friend:

I am in full accord – there is nothing like preventive medicine, and while two years is a long
period of time – especially nowadays when there is so much volatility in the world and you never know what will happen from one moment to another – we nevertheless have an obligation to raise our voices in protest. The very possibility of such a desecration taking place in Jerusalem if left unchallenged, places a blight on all of us.

To be sure, in our 21st century liberal climate, to speak out against such an event would, in many circles be regarded as politically incorrect. Many who have raised their voices have been vilified, and accused of bigotry and archaism. Our Torah laws however, are not subject to majority consensus or that which is in vogue. “Like the doings of the land of Egypt where you dwelt, you shall not do; like the doings of the land of Canaan, wither I bring you, you
shall not do. Neither shall you walk in their statutes…” – meaning that we are not to emulate the lifestyles of the nations among whom we live. It’s one thing when such aberational behavior is celebrated in Rome, New York, or Paris, but it’s something else again when the holy city of Jerusalem becomes the setting.

Even if the entire world regards homosexuality as a viable life option, we Jews live by a different code of rules. Our standards of morality emanate from our Torah, and not from that which is in vogue. Phrases such as “meaningful relationships”, “moral relativism”, “majority consensus” or “consensual relationships between adults” cannot suspend our laws. The Word of G-d stands eternally and calls upon man to temper his passions and live in sanctity.

There is nothing new about our society’s endorsement of homosexuality. Such endorsements were prevalent throughout history. It was rampant among the generation which preceded the flood. It was the accepted way of life in Sodom (hence the word “sodomy”); it was rife among the Canaanite pagans as well as in many ancient civilizations including Rome and Greece, but throughout, we clung to our Torah even when we were mocked and persecuted for doing so.

In time, much of our Torah’s moral code became the guiding light of Western civilization and served as a moral compass to distinguish between right and wrong. Thus, if an individual deviated from that code, he was aware that he was in violation of G-d’s commandments and there was hope that, one day, he would summon the spiritual stamina to return.

All this altered in the 60s when laws regulating moral conduct collapsed and everything became permissible. This “new morality” was accepted by all segments of society and became so all-pervasive that people feared voicing their protests. To free themselves from feelings of guilt, they enlisted clergy to endorse that which G-d forbade. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Jerusalem represents such an attractive venue for organizers of a gay parade. But
even as no amount of blessing can render pork kosher, so too, no matter how many gay people gather in Jerusalem, Torah Laws cannot be altered. It is we who must bend our will to that of our Creator and not the reverse, and even if we regard G-d’s Laws as repressive, we must nevertheless learn to master our impulses.

We live in a chaotic, morally turbulent world – each and every one of us is in need of G-d’s compassion and forgiveness – and that is how we must relate to one another if we are to resolve this issue and invoke G-d’s mercy. But it is one thing when an individual succumbs to the weakness of his flesh and something else again when he pronounces G-d’s commandments
obsolete and publically celebrates and parades his transgressions in G-d’s holy city of Jerusalem.

May I suggest that we all unite in preparing for the real celebration – the real parade, and that is that long awaited day when we will behold the fulfillment of the prophecy: “Out of Zion shall go forth the Torah and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem.” That will be a parade worthy of G-d’s Holy City and G-d’s Holy flock.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/is-this-something-to-parade-about/2003/12/03/

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