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Words of the Week, II

It’s beginning to look as though I should rename this feature “words of the day.” I’m going to try to remain optimistic, though, and hope that current events will become sufficiently peaceful to allow for less frequent postings–and the end of compilations.

From Nick Dyrenfurth, “Gaza and Israel: Why I Will Not Be Silent,” The Age
“Enough is enough. Ignore the sirens calls of hate. If so inclined, donate to the International Red Cross’ Israel and Gaza Appeal. Get informed. Read and share Shavit’s meditation on his country’s condition. Read and share Izzeldin Abuelaish’s heartfelt plea for peace. This is a Palestinian man who lost his three daughters during the 2008-09 Israeli-Gaza war. Stand up and reject the extremists on both sides. Don’t fall silent when you see the hashtag #HitlerWasRight pop up in your Twitter feed, or when all Palestinians are tarred with the brush of Hamas. Support moderates committed to a two-state solution. As Abuelaish implores, ‘This is a moment in history that must be captured.’ Continue reading ›

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Words of the Week

A new week, a new set of recent words to share with you:

From David Horovitz, “While Hamas Celebrates, Israel Focuses on Its Security,” The Times of Israel:
“But for now, as it seeks to keep the death toll down, to bring credible protection for its people, and to grapple with the aggressive challenges from Hamas that most of the public certainly underestimated, this country is focused on its key imperative: ensuring that, while Hamas will always claim victory, Israel emerges from this conflict on terms that leave it dependably safer.”

From Maurice Ostroff, “Why Is Gaza Blockaded?” The Jerusalem Post:
“And although facts seem to have lost their importance in the media as well as in politics, intellectual honesty and journalistic ethics should tweak our interest in checking on the roots of the blockade that generates so much righteous indignation among some pseudo human rights NGO’s.”

From Sara Hirschhorn,“Debating the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Demands Empathy, Not Just History,” Jewcy.com
“But in those few moments when people—especially those who are perhaps not involved or ideologically committed—plead with you to proceed, to continue the authentic multi-dimensional discussion, or even to begin to redefine what Israel and Zionism mean to our generation, how can I give up? Online engagement is one important component of that precious opportunity to be a Jewish and Zionist leader—it’s a mission I won’t pass up.”

From Rabbi Peter Kessler, Ohev Sholom Temple:
“I’m not sure how to convince the New York Times to accurately portray the violence in Gaza. Maybe one photograph showing the actual location of those rockets aimed at Israel, or a photo of the Gazans being transported to Israeli hospitals or the tons of food, water,and medical supplies that Israel sends to Gaza every day. Maybe that’s not news to the New York Times…maybe it doesn’t sell newspapers…I don’t know.”

From Jodie Shupac, Canadian Jewish News:
“But for an Israeli child or adult with an intellectual disability, or for an elderly person and his or her family, retreating to safety in time can be simply debilitating.”

From Barak Ravid, “Kerry’s Latest Cease-fire Plan: What Was He Thinking?”-Haaretz
“Kerry isn’t anti-Israeli; on the contrary, he’s a true friend to Israel. But his conduct in recent days over the Gaza cease-fire raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events. It’s as if he isn’t the foreign minister of the world’s most powerful nation, but an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast.”

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Words of the Week, III

Again, current events compel me to share with you another batch of essential reading. (And if you’ve missed them, you might also wish to check the first two installments I shared this week.)

From Jeffrey Goldberg:
“Israel, then, is faced with three enormous and difficult tasks. It must do a much better job of minimizing Palestinian casualties as it fights Hamas, because this is a moral necessity and a strategic imperative. It must also do something it hasn’t done well at all, which is to create an alternate reality on the West Bank, one that shows Palestinians a different and brighter sort of future than the one promised by Hamas. And — and this is its main task at the moment — it must ensure that its citizens aren’t kidnapped and murdered by a group that seeks not an equitable two-state solution but the annihilation of their country.” Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • One of many sad consequences of current events: Israeli Arab writer Sayed Kashua is emigrating. I wish him all the best, and I will renew my efforts to read his books.
  • More TBR ideas in the “Summer Bookfest” issue of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute’s 614.
  • ICYMI here on My Machberet: two posts featuring “Words of the Week” and fiction suggestions for the current moment from D.G. Myers (and others).
  • So much content worth your time in the new issue of Lilith, including “Lot’s Wife,” a retelling of the biblical story, by Michal Lemberger; a stunning account of terror in Jerusalem, by Natasha Basin Levina (translated by Sonia Melnikova-Raich); and superb reviews of two books that I, too, have found remarkable: Marina Blitshteyn on Orly Castel-Bloom’s Textile (trans. Dalya Bilu) and Liana Finck on Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?.
  • An extraordinary essay by Claire Hajaj, daughter of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father. (h/t @alexnazaryan)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week, II

    There is so much important writing appearing this difficult week that I must provide a follow-up to Monday’s post.

    From Liel Leibovitz:
    “Anyone with a genuine commitment to human rights—not to mention sympathy for the Palestinian cause—should join Israel in its efforts to rid the world of such sheer evil and topple Hamas. To leave Hamas in power is not a moderate solution to anything. It is to become complicit in the agenda and the actions of a terrorist organization in inflicting terrible and continuing pain not only on its neighbors but also on its own people.” (“Some Concrete Facts About Hamas,” Tablet)

    From Rabbi Daniel M. Cohen:
    “At the same time, while there are indeed, ‘many strong opinions,’ not all opinions are equally valid. And while I know it is not politically correct to say so, some opinions are simply wrong.” (“Sorry, Jon Stewart, There Are Opinions, and There Are Facts,” New Jersey Jewish News) Continue reading ›

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