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Words of the Week

“‘I was struck by how much at the conference could easily have happened at Harvard Hillel with no resistance whatsoever,’ Jonah Steinberg, Harvard Hillel’s rabbi and director, told JTA via email. ‘We only refuse to host programs, events, and speakers whose aim is to promote the severing of our essential connection with Israel, which is the destructive goal of the BDS movement.'”
“After Rejecting BDS Ban, Open Hillel Holds First Conference,” by Batya Ungar-Sargon (JTA)

“Here are the ways in which technology can prevent you from being killed by Hamas:”
“Two Minutes,” by Kevin Haworth (Proximity)

“What started with anti-Israel fliers moved to dirty looks, murmured insults and rising tensions in the Hillel Club’s shared office. It culminated last week in a ‘die-in’ in the school’s New Building on West 58th Street so hostile that some Hillel Club members feared they would be jumped as they left the school.”
“‘Hostile Environment’ For John Jay Jewish Students,” by Amy Sara Clark (The Jewish Week)

“So, here are seven reasons why the Palestinian analogy to the Black historical struggle for freedom is hopelessly flawed (and down right offensive).”
“7 Reasons Why the Palestinian Crisis & the Black Struggle for Freedom Are Absolutely Nothing Alike,” by Dumisani Washington (The Times of Israel)

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Words of the Week

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Words of the Week

“‘Israel-themed sermons this year should help people understand what Israel is up against in its confrontation with Hamas — which is not about borders or settlements or who’s at fault for peace talk going nowhere, but about Israel’s very existence, which Hamas seeks to eradicate, and Jews everywhere, whom Hamas aspires to exterminate,’ Rabbi Block told The Jewish Week in an email. ‘Rabbis have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to sermonize about the “other Israel,” the vibrant democracy whose culture of compassion and innovation is contributing so much to the world.’

But underscoring the complexity of the issue, Rabbi Block, in a sermon this spring to his Central Conference colleagues, said: ‘Israel needs many things, but one thing it does not need is more public criticism, which is ubiquitous. Some of it is legitimate, but it lacks context. Much of it is exaggerated, unfair, uninformed or plainly wrong.

‘I am not suggesting that we pretend Israel is perfect, ignore the complex moral challenges it faces, disregard its occasional failures or excesses in the exercise of power or encourage unquestioning approval of whatever its government does,’ the rabbi continued. ‘We have precious few opportunities to address our entire congregation or community on matters of paramount concern. To me, it feels unconsciously self-indulgent to squander them criticizing Israel, even when it may be deserved.'”

–Rabbi Richard Block, quoted in “Gaza War Pushes Israel, Reluctantly, Onto Holiday Bima” (The Jewish Week)

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Words of the Week

“Israelis can listen to the views of dissenters. They are used to it. But they also want to trust that their dissenters are still a part of the family.”
Shmuel Rosner, “Who Killed the Israeli Left?” (The New York Times)

“The presumption that Jews must choose between liberalism and Zionism—and always had to—turns each into a kind of historical cartoon. Zionism is not just tribal primacy, and liberalism is not just an empathy for history’s dispossessed.”
Bernard Avishai, “Is Liberal Zionism Impossible?” (The New Yorker)

“Something feels different now.”
Marjorie Ingall, “Anxiously Sending Little Jews to School” (Tablet) Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • Coming in 2016: a new book by Jeffrey Goldberg, on “the Middle East through the prism of President Obama’s years in power.”
  • On my more immediate TBR list: Stuart Rojstaczer’s The Mathematician’s Shiva. According to this Jewlicious post, it’s a novel that “mixes Jewish family life, comedy, academia, mystery, greed, chaos shiva, lust and math.”
  • Matthue Roth on Heinrich Heine’s “love song to cholent.”
  • On the Moment blog, Linda Tucker reviews Rabbi David Wolpe’s new book on the biblical David.
  • If you still don’t have enough books on your own TBR list, you’ll find a few more in Sandee Brawarsky’s fall books preview for The Jewish Week. (Coming soon: a similar overview piece by yours truly, elsewhere. Stay tuned!)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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