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July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Union for Reform Judaism’

The Maltz Maneuver: Interfaith Dialogue or Hear No Evil

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage presented an interfaith dialogue, “Do Not hate Your Brother In Your Heart, How Interfaith Cooperation Builds Compassion, Respect and Understanding.” Participants were Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk of Beachwood’s Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple and Imam Mohammed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who have been leading initiatives for interfaith dialogue for a decade. The evening seemed a lesson in duplicity.

Rabbi Nosanchuk spoke first. His leadership of the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a coalition of diverse religious groups, seemed inclusive and therapeutic, but out of focus with the needs of Jews worldwide and Israel. He feigned ignorance about the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) that is perilous for Jewish university students across the US, most egregiously on the University of California campuses, where forty protesters bullied, harassed and blocked Jewish students from entering a university administrative building; where the president of the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) hosted an event that spoke of killing Israeli “colonizers,” and where Jewish students have been physically attacked.

Palestinian students at Boston’s Northeastern University defaced a campus menorah, disrupted Jewish events, and frightened students for a year before they were finally suspended. Thirty-nine Vassar faculty members, administration and detached citizens, signed a letter supporting an academic boycott of Israel. Threats, harassment, intimidation and assaults on Jewish students are now a California tradition that is spreading across the country, yet this rabbi is not aware.

Fairmount Temple’s website reveals Nosanchuk’s concern is with social issues, meaning joining Olivet Baptist Church’s Rev. Colvin’s fight against voter ID laws, thereby squandering voter integrity. He is also against our Second Amendment, which will ensure that Jewish citizens remain unarmed and unprotected from those who would be armed to harass and kill Jews and Christians. His interests in social justice and interfaith relations do not encompass rampant Islamic campus violence.

Further, if the rabbi is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), one might assume he supports the anti-Zionist J Street and New Israel Fund, both of which work diligently against the true interests of Jewish survival.

Imam Mohammad Magid spoke of his family, his long friendship with the rabbi, and his leadership in ISNA, the largest Muslim organization in America. ISNA traces its 1963 origin to several US and Canadian organizations, including the Muslim Student Association (MSA), whose attacks against Jewish students are infamous. In the Holy Land Foundation terrorist-financing case, ISNA, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the North American Islamic Trust, were named unindicted co-conspirators and one of a number of “members of the US Muslim Brotherhood” with ties to the Islamic Association for Palestine and Hamas, extremists and terrorists.

Since October 2003, Magid and ISNA have been providing US Bureau of Prisons with extreme orthodox Wahhabi Muslim clerics who promote their radical political, ideological and theological foundation, and connecting them to 50 to 79 percent of mosques in North America. Three-quarters of “charitable” funding to ISNA supports warriors (irregular combatants – terrorists) who volunteer to fight for the Cause of Allah.

Magid assured us that we believe in the same God, but the Judeo-Christian faiths differ greatly from Islam as do the Gods. The Qur’an consists primarily of Allah’s admonishments to Muslims, with eighty percent being commands to kill the infidel (Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, all non-believers). Islamic law, Sharia, is a strict legal system that controls every aspect of one’s life, including the demands, torture, dismemberment, and slaughter of humans for their God. Islam celebrates violence, with jihad as its driving force in an endless expansion and enforcement of Islam worldwide.

He also compared Sharia to Judaism and Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut – Kosher), and Christian laws. The Torah, Hebrew law, and the Ten Commandments, are the ideological basis for the 613 commandments (mitzvoth) in the bible – a God-given moral code. The first five prescribe man’s relationship with God (belief, worship, respect); the last five concern man’s relationship with people (honor, respect; prohibitions against murder, adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting.) The dietary laws concern foods that are permissible and forbidden, cleanliness, preparation, and the humane slaughter of animals for food.

US Reform Jews Following Same Path as in 1940s

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom haShoah. Although I agree with those who say that preservation of the historical record is a necessary part of preventing its repetition, I am very uncomfortable with its use to produce an emotional catharsis, which often stands in the way of facing the real threats against the Jewish people today. The same people who cry over the dead Jews of the 1940s often have no problem taking anti-Zionist positions today — or supporting politicians like Barack Obama, whose policies are inimical to the continued existence of the Jewish state, and therefore the Jewish people.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as seems not to have noticed Yom haShoah this year — at least, I can’t find anything on its website. Individual congregations, like the one in our town, are holding commemorative events. Possibly they have decided to deemphasize the observance.

But the URJ’s drift in the direction of anti-Zionist politics hasn’t stopped. Under the leadership of its President Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs, we find the URJ supporting the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street in its bid to join the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. J Street — which called for a cease-fire on the first day of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which supported an anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security council (which the US vetoed), which consistently opposed sanctions on Iran, which supported the conclusions of the Goldstone Report (later repudiated by its author) that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza and introduced Goldstone to members of Congress, which has invited viciously anti-Zionist and pro-BDS speakers like Mustafa Barghouti, Rebecca Vilkomerson and James Zogby to its annual conferences, but which refused to allow liberal Zionist Alan Dershowitz to speak — is anything but pro-Israel. It is, however, very pro-Obama.

It is ironic, then that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people. The danger is not as immediate today as it was in the dark days of WWII, although the Iranian nuclear project, which is being facilitated by the policy of the Obama Administration, could very quickly change this.

I am therefore taking this occasion to republish the following, which I wrote several years ago. It is even more timely today.

—————————————————————

The failure of the liberal Jewish establishment, then and now

by Vic Rosenthal, 8/7/2011

400 mostly Orthodox rabbis march to the White House on October 6, 1943. Roosevelt avoided meeting with them.

It’s well-known that the Roosevelt Administration did little to help European Jews during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, part of the blame falls on American Jewry, which was sharply divided about how to respond — a fact which caused good men in the government to hesitate, while it gave antisemites an excuse to resist taking action.

The NY Times has published a piece by Isabel Kershner that may bring more attention to the shameful stupidity of the Jewish establishment during that period:

The Bergson group formed in 1940 when about 10 young Jews from Palestine and Europe came to the United States to open a fund-raising and propaganda operation for the Irgun, the right-wing Zionist militia. The group was organized by Hillel Kook, a charismatic Irgun leader who adopted the pseudonym Peter H. Bergson. [Samuel] Merlin was his right-hand man.

Hartman to Reform Biennial: Kudos for Not Abandoning Israel

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The Union for Reform Judaism awarded one of its highest honors to an Orthodox rabbi, the late David Hartman, at the opening plenary of the union’s biennial conference in San Diego.

On Wednesday evening, the union’s president, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, presented the Alexander M. Schindler World Jewry Award to Hartman’s son, Rabbi Donniel Hartman, president of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and, like his father, an Orthodox-ordained rabbi.

In accepting the prize, Hartman hailed the persistence of Zionist sentiment among Reform Jews despite Israel’s treatment of Reform Judaism, saying, “The truth is you should have walked away from Israel a long time ago.”

“How much insult, how much alienation, how much lack of respect should a person take before they say enough and walk away?” Hartman said. “Your love for Israel is measured in the fact that you’re willing to fight for it.”

In presenting the Schindler award, Jacobs credited David Hartman with inspiring him to become a Reform rabbi.

“David taught us to question traditional beliefs,” Jacobs said.

Nearly 5,000 people are attending the Reform biennial, the first since Jacobs took over the helm of the movement a year and a half ago.

The Wednesday evening presentation included a video message from Vice President Joe Biden, who said he had been asked by President Obama to give a shout-out to Reform’s youth movement, NFTY, the National Federation of Temple Youth.

These European and American Ideas May Be Dangerous to your Health

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

In a YNet op-ed, Hagai Segal writes,

Our Declaration of Independence includes 650 words. The word “Jewish,” in its different forms, appears 20 times, while the word “democracy” doesn’t even appear once.

The people who drafted the declaration and signed it had the highest regard for democratic values, but first and foremost they wanted to stress its Jewish side. Perhaps they said to themselves that there are many democracies in the world, but only one Jewish country. It’s important to protect it.

These days it’s even more important. From the outside and from within attempts are being made to undermine the Jewish character of the Jewish state. The dark forces rely on the fatigue of the Zionist material in order to internationalize Israel and declare it a state of all its citizens. They are taking advantage of the fact that over the years the fashion here has changed, and democracy has been emphasized at the expense of Judaism.

The Israeli Left takes its cues from Western Europe and the U.S. From Europe it gets the ideas of multiculturalism, postnationalism, hedonism and hatred of religion. Together these are a recipe for a low native birthrate and a rapidly increasing, non-assimilating Muslim population. Europe is rapidly moving toward a point of no return, in which, paradoxically, the very features of its Enlightenment culture that support openness and egalitarianism will lead to its replacement by a distinctly non-democratic, authoritarian Islamic one.

America is another source of ideas, in this case the absolute maximum of freedom of expression. Where else would the outrageous Westboro Baptist Church be tolerated? American freedom of expression is remarkable in the world, and that may be in part because the US is a large nation both physically and by population, with friendly neighbors, separated by oceans from its enemies. It is also composed of diverse groups that more or less buy into the general narrative of the nation. That doesn’t mean that nothing can bring it down, but it can absorb a great deal of internal and external pressure without breaking.

Israel, on the other hand, is small and surrounded by enemies. One out of every five Israelis is an Arab, the same ethnicity of most of its enemies, who — while he may be loyal to the state — almost certainly believes in a historical narrative in which the state is not only illegitimate, but his oppressor, responsible for the dispossession of his relatives in the great ‘disaster’ of 1948. There are also Jewish Israelis who believe, for religious reasons, that Jewish sovereignty is an abomination.

There are also great external pressures opposed to emphasizing the Jewishness of the state. To a large extent they come from Europe, which is jealous of Israel’s cultural and economic vitality, angered that is succeeding on a path so divergent from Europe’s, and suffused with guilt about the recent genocide of its own Jewish population. Europe is acting on its beliefs, both by explicit pro-Arab diplomacy, and by covertly expending millions of Euros to support NGOs in Israel that promote its anti-nationalist (and even anti-state) line.

Another force is the American Jewish Left, as represented by the New Israel Fund (NIF) and to some extent by the Union for Reform Judaism. The NIF is particularly dangerous, supporting Israeli Arab groups that would like to redefine the state as binational.

A state that requires sacrifice from its people to survive, will only get it if there is a compelling ideological motivation driving its citizens to make the requisite sacrifices. This is how Israel has survived until now. But there is no compelling ideology for maintaining a “state of its citizens” next door to Hizballah, Hamas, the Muslim Brothers and whatever vicious regime will rule Syria.

Jews yearned for Jerusalem for 2000 years, and Zionists have struggled for more than 100 — and are continuing to struggle — to restore and now preserve Jewish sovereignty in Land of Israel, which I believe has become a necessary condition for the survival of the Jews as a people. I can’t see today’s Judaism surviving another diaspora. A great deal is at stake here.

Lightning Strikes Jewish Camp in Midwest, 3 Children Injured UPDATED

Monday, July 1st, 2013

SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF ARTICLE

Lightning struck at a Reform Jewish Camp in Zionsville, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis, on Saturday. Three children were hit by the lightening, all were seriously enough injured to warrant being taken to a hospital, one of the three was in critical condition.

The lightning struck a playing field sometime around 1:30 p.m.

According to some reports, there was no storm and not even any rain at the time the lightning struck, while other reports claimed storm clouds had already begun gathering at the time of the incident.

The three campers who were injured included a  a 9-year-old girl from Missouri, a 9-year-old boy from Kentucky, and a 12-year-old boy from Loveland, Ohio.  The Ohio boy is the one who was in critical condition, but his health had stabilized by Sunday evening.

The camp, Goldman Union Camp Institute, is one of 13 camps run by the Union for Reform Judaism.  It has been in operation for 55 years.

The camp’s Facebook page had a message posted from the head of camp, Rabbi Mark Covitz.

“This Shabbat afternoon, lightning struck URJ Goldman Union Camp. Three campers were injured. Camp personnel and emergency professionals responded quickly. The children were taken to local hospitals and we have spoken with each child’s parents. We are resuming our normal camp schedule, which will include dinner and evening program.  Please know, the safety of your children is our highest priority.”

As of Sunday evening, many dozens of refuah shleimah wishes were left on the camp’s Facebook page.

UPDATE: The Rabbi of the Goldman Union camp sent out an email on Monday, July, 1.  In it he shared the good news that one of the three children who had been struck by lightning on Shabbat has been released from the hospital.

He also shared the video, below, taken at the camp after lunch on Monday.  It shows the campers singing “Kehilla kedosha,” which means holy or sacred community.

Kehilah Kedoshah from URJ GUCI on Vimeo.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/lightning-strikes-jewish-camp-in-midwest-three-children-injured/2013/07/01/

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