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Words of the Week

“On the other hand, Israel is meant to be the state for all of the Jewish people. It is meant to be a place where all Jews can feel at home, can pray freely and practice their religion the way they want, with respect and dignity. It was one thing when the cabinet passed the Kotel deal in 2016 but then got stuck with its implementation. At least it seemed on the surface to be trying to move things forward. Now, the message to millions of Jews around the world is that Israel simply doesn’t care about them.

Reform and Conservative Jews throughout the US already feel like second-class citizens when it comes to ritual in Israel like conversion and marriage. By annulling the decision to create a prayer space that all Jews can call home, the government is leading this relationship toward an even greater divide.

For years, Netanyahu has told the Israeli public that there is no one better than him who understands America and American Jewry. Today we finally understood what that means – he doesn’t really care about them.”

Yaakov Katz, “Shameful Day for Israel as It Freezes Plan for Pluralistic Prayer Site at the Kotel” (Jerusalem Post)

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Words of the Week

“In my travels and talks and meetings, I am constantly running up against this problem. When people are polite, they often tell me how ‘difficult’ supporting Israel in their communities has become, because of the settlements, or because of offensive statements by Israeli politicians. The problem is a sincere one, but it is a structural one, and will not go away so long as (i) American Jews relate to Israel as principally a political cause rather than a civilizational force, (ii) American Jews relate to some policies and not others as resonating to the core of their own identity as Jews, and (iii) American Jewish politics are so different from Israeli politics, which is unlikely to change.

And that’s when they’re polite.”

Source: David Hazony, “Israeli Identity and the Future of American Jewry” (The Tower)

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • I’m among those theatergoers swept up in the power of Oslo, which won a Tony award for Best Play this week. Itamar Rabinovich’s review for Jewish Review of Books offers some insights I appreciate knowing.
  • Speaking of plays: Check out this nice feature on the Jewish Plays Project by Amy Oestreicher for Broadway World.
  • I was lucky enough to be in the audience one recent evening when authors Matti Friedman and Nicole Krauss were in conversation—on writing about Israel and more—at Central Synagogue in New York. And now, thanks to JBSTV.org, you can catch a video of their discussion.
  • For The New York Jewish Week, George Robinson shares the four films that he believes are “the best Jewish or Israeli films of the first half of the year.” See if you agree with his choices (or add some titles to your to-be-watched list).
  • And a hearty mazal tov to all of the individuals and publications recognized in the latest round of the Simon Rockower Jewish Journalism Awards.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Words of the Week

    “The problem is not the work itself but the way Waldman and Chabon are promoting it. In interviews, they have turned their brief tour of the West Bank into undeniable evidence that they’ve discovered the absolute truth of the conflict: It’s Israel’s fault. And they describe the situation in such shallow and simple terms, I half-wondered if “Kingdom” was a children’s book. (It’s not.)”

    Source: Danielle Berrin, “Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman Undermine Peace for Palestine” (Jewish Journal)

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    Words of the Week

    “In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven.

    Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace.

    This is ahistoric nonsense.”

    Source: Bret Stephens, “Six Days and Fifty Years of War” (The New York Times)

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    Words of the Week

    “To me, the Zionist project is all about love and about heart, and the mere specter of an American Jewish community bereft of those qualities—of devotion to what is without doubt and by far the most exceptional Jewish enterprise in 2,000 years—strikes me as nothing less than heartbreaking.”

    Source: Daniel Gordis, “Why the American Jewish Distancing from Israel Is So Heartbreaking” (Mosaic)

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