web analytics
February 19, 2017 / 23 Shevat, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Pluralism’

Netanyahu Hits Home Run in US as MVP (Most Valuable Politician)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pitched a perfect game in his visit to the White House and speeches to Jews during his trip to the United States.

President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister had a mutual interest in their “letting bygones be bygones” meeting. Neither had anything to gain by trying to upstage the other.

The President could only have damaged the next Democratic presidential nominee if he had done so, and the Prime Minister is more interested in American military aid and preventing a jihadist Syria than he is in showing off to the White House that he is more popular in Israel than his host is with Americans.

Regardless of their disagreements over the nuclear deal with Iran, both leaders know very well that the “unbreakable bond” between the United States and Israel is not just an expression. Without Israeli intelligence on the Middle East, America would be up the creek.

Without a certain degree of American support, Israel would be dogpaddling in the creek.

The fact that President Obama publicly stated that the “two-state” mantra will remain so until the distant future was a direct statement to  Palestinian Authority chairman that Washington finally understands, without saying so, that the Arab world does not want a true peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Jordan, for example, wants a Palestinian Authority country on its border as much as the Ayatollah of Iran wants to play golf with Obama.

Obama’s statement in effect sent the dead and buried “peace process” into the mausoleum of illusions for historians to laugh at.

It gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a great send-off to address approximately 2,000 guests of the American Enterprise Institute Monday night, where he was honored with the Irving Kristol Award.

Bill Kristol introduced Netanyahu as the “preeminent leader of the free world,” and the honoree quipped, “I’m not used to receiving such awards in Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu preached to the chorus, which wildly applauded his understanding that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not based on religion, the “occupation” or politics. He hit the nail on the head and said:

The core of the conflicts in the Middle East is the battle between modernity and early premeditative medievalism.

In his speech to the Federations’ General Assembly on Tuesday, the Prime Minister scored a hit with the bulk of American Jews by embracing all streams of Judaism, especially when he promised:

l invest directly in the development and fostering of Conservative and Reform communities in Israel.

After playing music to the ears of President Obama, the right wing and the pluralistic Federations, he turned his attention to the liberal CAP, which took a lot of flak from left-wing groups for even inviting the Prime Minister to speak.

Obama’ dumping of the “peace process” and Abbas suicide strategy for creating a Palestinian Authority country opened the gates at CAP for Netanyahu.

Abbas has made Netanyahu look good even to liberal Jews. He has exposed himself as a fake, a con man, a liar and just another Arab leader who is failing to reach his objective on the diplomatic front as every Arab general has failed to do on the military front – destroy Israel.

Netanyahu now can reach out to the bulk of American Jewry who love the idea of “two states.” They previously rejected the Prime Minister but now accept the fact that it is not Israel’s fault it won’t happen.

The liberals who love any president so long as he (or she) is a Democrat and now they can be happy that Obama and Netanyahu have nothing left to fight about. They want Israel to be a nice doggie so their non-Jewish friends won’t look at them awkwardly when Israel flexes its muscles, but they no longer can blame the “occupation” for stabbing attacks in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu said:

Just about any Israeli in his right mind agrees with what I’m about to tell you: Any deal or any arrangement, unilateral or negotiated, must have Israel maintain the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat, including from territories that are ceded. That’s the most important provision. That’s something I don’t see Palestinians accepting now.

American  Jews, from all political and religious streams, and President Obama finally realize, even if they won’t admit it, that Israel is the only normal country in the Middle East and that Netanyahu is a lot smarter than they figured.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘Caged Women’ – Never Happened

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The Women of the Wall proved today that it’s not about the prayer, but about the politics.

While they were praying, they were also busy sending out tweets from the official Women of the Wall account (I guess they have some Kavana issues).

a horrible feeling. what a shanda to encage women at the kotel

what a frustrating, painful feeling. women in a cage at the Kotel.

When I heard, “women in a cage,” I rushed to check out the photos.

With a turn of phrase like that, I knew what I was expecting to see. Needless to say, I was disappointed, when it turned out to be nothing even close…

Let’s see what’s really going on.

Here they are at the main Kotel itself, being allowed to pray according to nearly any alternative lifestyle demands they have been promoting — with direct access to the wall at the plaza, so they can also touch the same section of the wall as everyone else can while they pray, and all the tourists can watch them.


Yet they are using SENSATIONALIST, exaggerated terminology, tweeting to the world that they were put in cages.

Put in cages!

At first I thought it was just them being whiny, but, you know what? It’s just straight out lying.

As you can see from their own photo, that it is not the case at all.

The women’s section has been divided by a standard police divider, so that part of the women’s section is designated for those women who want to pray in the traditional Jewish manner as they have been doing at the Kotel every day, and the other part dedicated to those who want to pray in their alternative fashion, wearing male accouterments, as they do once a month.

And since the Women of the Wall have been demanding to be allowed to pray at the main Kotel plaza in their non-traditional manner – and they were allowed to do so, this argument should pretty much be over.

But that obviously is not what the Women of the Wall want (that the argument should be over).

It’s not enough that they have forced their alternative method of prayer into the Kotel.

Here’s the truth of it, based on their own tweets.

They want to force their method of prayer onto to the other women at the Kotel too, including onto those who don’t want to pray that way – whether those women want it or not.

As part of their performance politics, the Women of the Wall are demanding that everyone else be subject to their methods of prayer, while they simultaneously prove that they won’t tolerate the way the other women (or men) at the Kotel want to hold their traditional prayers.

It’s a one way street for the Women of the Wall.

I am sure that within a month or two, they’ll get their way, too, and Orthodox (and non-Orthodox) women who want to pray undisturbed in the Jewish traditional manner will be made to feel very uncomfortable in their place of prayer.

And it won’t end there.

Because, as their tweets prove, this obviously isn’t about their wish to pray at the Kotel in a manner that deviates from tradition — after all, they’ve already won 95% of that (and I’m 100% convinced they’ll get permission to read from the Torah next month).

Next we’ll see petitions to the Supreme Court to completely remove the Mechitza, and allow egalitarian (mixed prayer) prayer groups.

How long until some IRAC-connected Reform rabbi demands to be allowed to play guitar on the Sabbath at the Kotel as he or she “traditionally” does in his or her Reform Temple?

This isn’t a battle about some women wanting to dress up as men like Yentyl and pray at the Kotel.

There’s no question that many of the backers of the Women of the Wall see the obliteration of Torah Judaism in public places in Israel as their ultimate goal.

The Kotel is just one of their battlefields, and the more SENSATIONAL they can make the battle sound, and the longer they can keep it going, the better it is for their camp.


Orthodoxy and Practical Pluralism In American Judaism

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Candid discussions of ideology and religious values within Orthodoxy should always be appreciated; ideologies other than one’s own – when grounded in Torah and mitzvot – must always be treated with respect, even if one does not personally agree with them.

Orthodoxy, both in its Modern and less modern variations, is a religion of deed and creed; it is not merely a legal system or a social community, though it is both of these as well. While many different works have addressed aspects of ideology (hashkafa), and many areas of ideology remain in dispute, central to Orthodox existence is the notion that observance of halacha is not optional or merely a matter of choice by individuals, but rather a “yoke” of heaven.

Orthodox Judaism stakes its existence (in a theological sense) on the proposition that the intentional curtailment of observance of halacha, even when sincerely motivated, is sinful and improper. Denominations predicated on the idea that Jewish law is not binding, or that it can mean something very different from the classical understanding of halacha, are from an Orthodox point of view improper approaches not only to Jewish law but to Judaism generally.

Let me restate this a bit more modestly. A less imperious Orthodoxy might say we believe that God revealed Torah at Sinai (Torah min hashamayim) and that the halachic process as it has unfolded is an extension of that revelation, and these two together are the central bar by which each individual must measure him- or herself.

While religious observance nowadays may be, in a practical sense, a matter of personal choice because we live (thankfully) in an open society, an Orthodox person’s own sense must be that of accepting a yoke – of obligation and responsibility – and not of personal volition. Any activity that portrays Orthodoxy as merely one religiously viable option among many has yielded that key point.

For this reason, Orthodoxy has always had a rather difficult time joining with other denominations of Judaism or faiths other than Judaism. Simply put, Orthodoxy is unwilling to implicitly or explicitly renounce its most basic claim – the uniqueness of its truth, and its central focus that Jewish law is binding.

(The above is, admittedly, a simplification when dealing with faiths other than Judaism, as Judaism might see these other monotheistic faiths as valid for gentiles but not for Jews. This detail is beyond the scope of this article.)

Having said that, Orthodoxy recognizes the reality of Jewish life in America, which is that there are, in fact, other denominations within the Jewish community that are sincere in their faith and serve the Jewish community in many ways, and that cooperation with them is sometimes both practically important and religiously valuable.

Cooperation is pragmatically important because a united front can sometimes lead to results that cannot be achieved individually, and religiously rewarding as it emphasizes that the unity of the Jewish people remains unbroken even in the face of vast theological, social, and halachic differences.

Orthodox Judaism is not, however, prepared to sacrifice its basic claim – the binding nature of Jewish law as the touchstone of personal conduct – in order toachieve this value.

Two basic guidelines have always resonated with me as correct.

First, Orthodox individuals and institutions gladly participate in communal events whose purpose is to socially, politically, or economically better the lot of the Jewish community as a whole, even if these events are denominationally centered, and even more so if they are not.

Thus, rallies for Israel, political and social action activities, marches on Washington, and Federation-sponsored hurricane relief are just a few examples of the type of complex, denominationally-based work that Orthodoxy joins. The rationale for joining these types of events is that due to their fundamentally non-religious nature, no theological misimpression is created.

Rabbi Michael J. Broyde

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/orthodoxy-and-practical-pluralism-in-american-judaism/2007/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: