Chicago synagogue culminates pinnacle Yom Kippur service with singing of Israeli anthem

Israel/Palestine
on 65 Comments

Earlier this year, a big Reform synagogue north of Chicago, B’nai Jeshoshua Beth Elohim, sent its annual delegation to the Washington conference of the Israel lobby, AIPAC. It looks like about 30 members of the congregation went– and almost all of them are over 40. 

It turns out the nationalism extends beyond lobbying the Congress to support Israel no matter what.

Last fall BJBE livestreamed its Yom Kippur service. Go to 2:04 or so. The “days of awe,” that most solemn period of the Jewish year, are about to end, and the cantor leads the congregation in a song that will never not melt my heart, Eliahu HaNavi, about the prophet Elijah. Listen to the human voices gathering above the simple piano accompaniment. Lovely.

And then a rabbi or other ordained leader says, “page 533,” and the congregation launches into the Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem. And an amusing scene unfolds as one member of the clergy after another, taking the hint from the first one, turns his/her back on the congregation and faces the Israeli flag, alongside the US flag.

Hatikva is followed by America the Beautiful. The clergy turn back to the congregation (as that is not an anthem?).

I make no claim to be religiously observant, but a friend who directed me to this video reminded me that this is a religious pinnacle, the Ne’ilah liturgy, a dramatic proclamation of faith in one God and the distillation of the entire High Holy days. To tag an ode to nationalism on as a coda subverts religious faith and says Adonai may be our God, but the god we really worship is nationalism. My friend notes that there are some moments on the Jewish calendar where at least there is some context for throwing in Israel– such as the Passover Haggadah, ending with the call “Next year in Jerusalem.” But not this.

The other thing about the clip that struck my educated friend as curious was that the clergy faced the flag. Turning around away from the congregation to the Ark is reserved for a couple of key moments in the service, and is understood as turning towards God. So this feels like the flags (US and Israeli) have equal billing to god.

The ceremony reminds me of two political facts about the national Reform Jewish organization: It supported the Iraq war in 2002 (yes, conditionally) and then supported the Gaza onslaught of 08-09. Those affirmations of militarism show how out of step even liberal Jews are with the human rights agenda. And this Yom Kippur service reminds us that support for Israel is a cherished value inside liberal Jewish organizational life.

65 Responses

  1. seafoid
    June 26, 2013, 10:40 am

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנו”ּ,
    Our hope is not yet lost,

    הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם
    The hope of two thousand years”

    Hopeless, more like

    I refuse to believe that 2000 years of Diaspora prayers and Mitzvot resulted in Lieberman and Netanyahu.

    Did all those devout Jews down the ages realise they were praying for human rights abusing Cossacks with kippot ?

    • W.Jones
      June 26, 2013, 12:03 pm

      Are you suggesting that the Cossack (“Kazak”) groups have something to do with the “Khazar”, perhaps because they lived in nearby areas?

    • piotr
      June 26, 2013, 5:40 pm

      If you try to learn Bible from comments on Arutz Sheva and Jerusalem Post, you will find that this is exactly what happened. Prayers were answered and we live in the age of miracles.

  2. Keith
    June 26, 2013, 10:54 am

    Speaking of Chicago, this morning’s Seattle Times reported that Penny Pritzker has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Commerce. I tell you, B.O. is on a roll! Yet more “meritocracy” for you-know-who to cheer about.

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2013, 5:18 pm

      There was only a single vote against Pritzker. Anyone know who did it?
      It was Bernie Sanders (Vermont) who stood alone voting against this filthy rich scamster, against selfish crony politics.

  3. frankier
    June 26, 2013, 11:19 am

    North of Chicago… isn’t it where mayor Rahm Emanuel is from?

  4. Citizen
    June 26, 2013, 11:29 am

    Should a church display an American flag? Apparently many evagelical churches do. Here’s an article and a bunch of comments on that related question: link to russellmoore.com

    On of the commenters says he’s never seen a national flag display in a church, except in the USA. Another points out that if the American flag is displayed, legally it has to be given prominence over other flags displayed.

    I was an altar boy in the Roman Catholic church when I was a kid; I don’t remember ever seeing any national flag displayed.

    • W.Jones
      June 26, 2013, 12:19 pm

      Citizen,

      I believe alot of mainstream churches have a US flag off to the side or in their church halls or basements. I could imagine a Catholic church having the Vatican’s flag off to the side in this way, because it is associated with the papacy. Some mainstream churches sing God Bless America and the Battle Hymn of the Republic as hymns occasionally.

      I can see arguments either way on having those things I just named, so long as it is off to the side and not a main part of the service. They shouldn’t say the pledge of allegiance in the middle of the service, nor face the US or Vatican flags instead of the altar or religious pictures while singing hymns because those political things are not what Christianity is supposed to be about. J.C. emphasized that our spiritual community is not a political state.

      We don’t bow “down to” or “worship” America, Palestine, or the Vatican’s state. Personally, I don’t think anyone should “swear” allegiance to them either, because of Jesus’ prohibition on it, but obviously most people disagree with me.

      • American
        June 26, 2013, 10:38 pm

        I’ve been to a lot of different churches besides my own Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc over the years and never seen the flag in any of them…or outside of any of them.

      • W.Jones
        June 27, 2013, 12:49 am

        American,

        My memory could deceive me, but I clearly remember the US flag being either in the church or in its basement.

        Here is an example of a Ukrainian flag in a Greek Catholic Church:
        link to panoramio.com
        Ukrainian Catholics have a particularly strong Ukrainian nationalist streak in them. I would say that if the flag is going to be there, this is an OK way to put it: over to the side.

        A church flag is often used with the National Flag in the chancel of a church. In such cases, the National Flag should be on the left and the church flag on the right as you face the chancel.

        link to houseofflags.ca

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 27, 2013, 7:22 am

        Interesting. I’ve only been inside one Protestant church and don’t recall either way, but I see a lot of flag displays outside those churches, in conjunction with the blue-canton-with-cross-on-white-field “Christian” flag. (That flag is “interesting” to some flag geeks for a number of reasons…)

      • Djinn
        June 27, 2013, 11:04 am

        I remember seeing a few US flags in/outside of churches when I was last there six years ago (north east states) it struck me because I’d never seen that before, or since, in any of the culturally Christian nations I’ve lived or travelled in. There are a few synagogues here in Melbourne that display the Israeli flag though. I’ve always just put that down to a minority thing. There’s also a few Mosques that display the flags of whatever nation they get some assistance from and also a Temple with a Thai flag. I’m with W.Jones on this one, the flag itself isn’t so much of a big deal but making nationalism of any kind an integral part of the service is disturbing.

      • American
        June 27, 2013, 12:21 pm

        @ W.J

        The difference might be that in areas like mine we dont have numbers of other (former) nationalities like Ukrainian and etc…..it’s still mainly an area of born and bred Americans whose ties to whatever their country of origin was are long gone with the centuries and it’s an area of mostly plain vanilla mainstream churches. Hence there’s no ‘need’ for the American flag to offset or accompany another national flag.
        We’re also have a large military influence here but that ‘patriotic presence’ doesnt seem to have leached over into churches.
        The only time have seen the flag displayed is outside a church on 4th of July.
        This is the only way I can think of to account for what churches do re flags in different areas.

      • W.Jones
        June 28, 2013, 3:09 am

        DJinn,

        I read on one site that was linked to on this comment page that during WWI the president made a very strong encouragement that churches have US flags. It comes to mind that the two churches I spent alot of time in and somewhat remember seeing flags there were churches that date back to before that era.

      • W.Jones
        July 1, 2013, 1:29 am

        Went to a new church today and looked back and looked back, and saw the flags over the entrance.

        I also read online that St Peter’s Basilica in Philly has a flag inside and it was a turn off for the reviewer.

        Just go to a couple and look around.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 26, 2013, 12:38 pm

      “I was an altar boy in the Roman Catholic church when I was a kid; I don’t remember ever seeing any national flag displayed.”

      Having grown up in a Roman Catholic family and attended seemingly endless numbers of Masses, funerals, Christenings, First Communions, Confirmations, Weddings, etc., etc. I would say that I noticed that, in the majority of them, both the flags of the US and of the Vatican were displayed somewhere in the front of the Church. We never sang either national anthems, though. (In recent years, however, there has been some singing of “Happy Birthday” to Jesus during Christmas Masses attended by lots of children.)

  5. Citizen
    June 26, 2013, 11:41 am

    Here’s a Reform Rabbi answering (or not) the question: should the Israeli national flag be displayed in the synogogue? link to ccarnet.org
    It’s from 1977.

    • American
      June 26, 2013, 12:54 pm

      ”There is no clear distinction between Jews and Judaism, between our religious and our national aspirations.”

      So messed up and so against the US separation of church and state foundation.
      When I see groups like this including the whacko christians that want to make their ‘religion the law of the land’ I get a picture of that frozen dinosaur embryo in Jurassic park….. throw backs to a primitive age.

  6. Citizen
    June 26, 2013, 11:46 am

    Pre-1948 Flying of Zionist flag in American synogogues: link to judaism.stackexchange.com

  7. Citizen
    June 26, 2013, 11:54 am

    Here’s a bunch of comments from 2002 on the question of flag display in church, mosque, or synogogue: link to boards.straightdope.com

  8. Krauss
    June 26, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Another thing that bugged me, Phil, but perhaps you didn’t reflect on it.

    The people who were most angrily against Snowden in the journalism corps have tended to be Jews. Greenwald is the shining example of someone who is truly a real journalist (and as we have seen, there aren’t many of those left who do not blindly bow to power) but serves mainly as an exception to the rule. I’m talking mainstream journalists here employed by major organizations.

    Think about David Gregory openly musing about arresting Greenwald. Think about Aaron Ross Sorkin who similarily tweeted the same thoughts. Then you have David Brooks who began the backlash by his now-notorious column where he called Snoweden a ‘traitor’ numerous times in paragraph after paragraph.

    I thought to myself, this is a recent development. Jews of a certain age, certainly those in mid-year or older, were very active in the Vietnam protests. But we ushered in the Iraq war. Yes, there was broad failure in the media, but the liberal media in particular is dominated by us and I still believe that if we had set against the war in broad measure throughout our community, then it wouldn’t have happaned. The press wouldn’t have bent over backwards to the Bush criminals but asked tough questions – which never happened. The NYT, the New Yorker and other bastions of liberal Jewishness all fell one after another. We can blame the “climate” but the truth is that we helped create it. And at any rate, should Jews be a “light unto the nations?”. Apparently nobody believes that anymore.

    What made this happen? Could it be that the neoconservatives who were obsessed with Iran, Iraq and Syria found allies in the media? Zionism is a powerful force, as it corrupts your moral compass. As all ethno-nationalist movements do.

    The return of this authoritarianism these past few days reminded me of those dark years in the early 2000s where the rhetoric was washed away and you saw who was standing there, warts and all, in their defence of aggressive nationalism(and watch how they all later panicked in face of disaster and tried to wash their hands of the blood).

    Can it be a factor this time around, too? If liberal Jews have been condition to always put security above human rights because of Israel, then it’s more than possible that many can’t seperate that thinking from Israel to America.
    MJ Rosenberg may call many of them Israel Firsters, for good reason, but their loyalty to America is also very strong and in times like these, they think less like liberals, and more like Zionists.

    Hence the lashout against Snowden, hence the obsession with “security”.
    Hence the swiftness of which any dissident on human rights grounds is labeled a ‘traitor’.

    Security vs human rights. This is a constant struggle in Zionism where security always wins.
    If you’re steeped in that, then it becomes second nature to things non-Zionism too.

    • Sheldonrichman
      June 27, 2013, 11:03 am

      Let’s not forget that David Gregory addressed Netanyahu on Meet the Press as the “leader of the Jewish People”!

  9. American
    June 26, 2013, 12:31 pm

    The ‘nation within a nation’, ……fatal flaw.

    On the emancipation of the Jews in Europe in the 1700 and 1800’s.
    link to books.google.com

    “All deliberations on the obvious fact that the rights of citizenship granted to the Jews appertain to the Jew’ qua individual’ and not to the Jews ‘qua nation’.
    Presumably it is the Jew qua member of the Jewish nation who bears all the egregious qualities that evoke the Frenchman’s fears.”

    What prevents them from learning the lesson of Jewish ‘qua individual’ rights vr the Jewish ‘qua nation’ within nations? Something does, what is it?

    • tokyobk
      June 27, 2013, 5:12 am

      As for what was on the books then, tell it to Dreyfuss. etc.

      • Ecru
        June 27, 2013, 6:51 pm

        You mean the Dreyfus that was defended by half the French establishment? The Dreyfus affair that prompted a leading Jew of the day to say that France was a fantastic place for Jews precisely because the whole thing was a scandal even before the appeal? The Dreyfus affair that was “defused” by a massive clamp down on Catholics and Catholic organisations as scapegoats (with not a single Jewish voice raised in protest)? And of course the Dreyfus whose eventual pardon was at least in part down to a campaign of BDS of France’s Universal Exposition. Oh sorry, is BDS suddenly valid when it’s to a Jews benefit? Why of course it is – one rule for Jews one rule for everyone else. Anyone who’s paid any attention to Zionism knows that.

        How come the “oh boo hoo anti-semitism” merchants NEVER mention the non-Jews who have defended Jews? Not once? And yet at the very same time get all bent out of shape when people criticise Israel and never compliment it (not that there’s much to compliment of course)? Ahh of course that whole “one rule for Jews……” etc. again.

      • Elliot
        June 28, 2013, 8:03 am

        Ecru – I admit that your POV on the Dreyfuss affair and the information you contributed are new to me. Would you post your source? Thanks.

      • Yitzgood
        June 28, 2013, 9:44 am

        How come the “oh boo hoo anti-semitism” merchants NEVER mention the non-Jews who have defended Jews? Not once?

        Are you sure that’s true? Please name an “‘oh boo hoo anti-semitism’ merchant,” and then we can consider your little rhetorical question.

      • Hostage
        June 28, 2013, 11:15 am

        In any event, France had a Jewish Prime Minister, Léon Blum, a decade before Israel had one.

        Here’s another fact that isn’t widely known:

        Today, it is worth turning our attention to a previously overlooked aspect of the incident: the source of the weapons that were onboard the ship. The Altalena carried thousands of rifles, several hundred machine guns and millions of rounds of ammunition, as well as explosives, mortars, shells and body armor. The arms shipment, worth millions of dollars, was donated to the Irgun by the French government.

        link to israelhayom.com

        So France was violating the Security Council arms embargo on behalf of a Jewish terrorist organization.

      • marc b.
        June 28, 2013, 11:48 am

        Elliot, I don’t know if ecru has a source to link to at hand, but I seem to recall a summary discussion of the dreyfuss affair in one of the oxford ‘very brief introduction’ series, analyzing the affair not just in the context of anti-Semitism, but more broadly as a conflict between the old order in france, represented by conservative catholics, and the evolving liberal order. something like that. if I can i’ll post a quote later.

      • marc b.
        June 28, 2013, 11:50 am

        here it is in brief.

        link to books.google.com

      • Walid
        June 28, 2013, 2:11 pm

        “In any event, France had a Jewish Prime Minister, Léon Blum, a decade before Israel had one.”

        Speaking of firsts, Iraq’s very first Finance Minister was Sassoon Eskell a Jew, almost 3 decades before there was an Israel. In 1947, 10 out of the 19 members of the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce were Jews.

        And then the Zionists came along and spoiled it for everyone.

      • Ecru
        June 29, 2013, 7:49 am

        @ Elliot.

        A lot of this info actually came about while I was doing some research on the French Foreign Legion of all things and is culled from so many sources I’ve forgotten half of them I’m afraid. Sorry.

        However there is a good book on the whole sorry episode and how complex it actually was (for example some of the Dreyfus supporters were actual anti-semites whilst some of those condemning him were the opposite, which goes somewhat against the picture painted in the popular narrative) : The Dreyfus Affair: The Story of the Most Infamous Miscarriage of Justice in French History by Piers Paul Reed.

  10. Shmuel
    June 26, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Isaiah 1:12-15.

    • Citizen
      June 26, 2013, 5:37 pm

      @ Shmuel
      Hi. I’m not much of a bible reader. So I looked up your cite response: link to biblehub.com
      It does not seem to clarify anything, for example, anything in Phil’s article, or in the hot links I gave us earlier in this thread. Not that I really expected it to…

      Personally, I really don’t see what any state flag is doing in a house of religious worship. Then again, I’m an agnostic American. I grew up having to say the Pledge Of Allegiance in school. That’s been gone a long time now. So why the f*&^ should a flag be in a house of worship? And two flags? Are there Arab state flags in US mosques? Am I missing something here? Anyone?

      • American
        June 26, 2013, 10:54 pm

        ”Personally, I really don’t see what any state flag is doing in a house of religious worship.”…Citizen

        Me either. Totally against that slippery slope. It’s not that it’s always bad in itself, but it can be because not too bright people can be confused into all kinds of ‘religious natonalism’….history is replete with bloody examples of that.

      • Shmuel
        June 27, 2013, 3:51 am

        Citizen,

        The passage I cited is about hypocritical worship, about pilgrimage and ritual that are an intolerable abomination. That is how I see the service Phil describes.

        It’s not just about the presence of a flag, or even this flag in a house of worship. It is about “making many prayers” when one’s hands are “full of blood”.

  11. Les
    June 26, 2013, 1:00 pm

    How many other synagogues believe they are Israeli embassies?

  12. Rusty Pipes
    June 26, 2013, 1:43 pm

    In many American Christian churches, some members would be upset if they didn’t get to sing God Bless America in church on the Sunday closest to July 4. But, you’d have a rebellion in most churches if, on Easter, the service’s alleluias included the Battle Hymn of the Republic or if, on Christmas Eve, the choir replaced “Do you see what I see” with “O say can you see.”

  13. eljay
    June 26, 2013, 1:49 pm

    When I used to attend Mass at various Croatian-Canadian churches, the Croatian flag was almost always on display, and usually alongside the Canadian and Vatican flags. On special occasions, the Croatian national anthem was sung.

    So it makes a certain sense to me that Israeli-American houses of worship (synagogues, mosques, churches) might display the Israeli flag and their congregations might sing the Israeli national anthem.

    It makes no sense at all to me that Jewish-American synagogues would display the Israeli flag or that that Jewish-American congregations would sing the Israeli national anthem. Israel is neither their “fatherland” nor their faith.

    • ToivoS
      June 26, 2013, 9:58 pm

      This Croatian flag that you used to see in your church was no doubt the flag of the Croatian government that ruled between 1940 and 1945. That was the government that ran concentration camps for the nazis if I recall. It is true that most of their victims were Serbs but they did incarcerate a good number of Jews as well. The big expatriate communities of Croatians in Toronto and a few other places in Michigan and Illinois came from those fascist forces that had to leave Yugoslavia at the end of WWII. They were welcomed as “freedom fighters” once the US converted them into allies for the cold war against the dreaded communists.

      • eljay
        June 27, 2013, 7:18 am

        >> ToivoS @ June 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm

        So…are you suggesting that it does, in fact, make sense for the Israeli flag to be flown and the Israeli national anthem to be sung in non-Israeli-American places of worship?

      • ToivoS
        June 27, 2013, 6:52 pm

        Much of religion doesn’t make sense to me. If someone in the sanctity of their church wants to pray to the flag of a foreign country that is their right. In fact this is one right explicitly protected in the Bill of Rights.

  14. Krauss
    June 26, 2013, 6:37 pm

    By the way Phil, amusing quote from Rahm.

    link to washingtonexaminer.com

  15. yonah fredman
    June 26, 2013, 8:58 pm

    The singing of Hatikva, particularly at this point of history (rather than in 1947 say) is aesthetically displeasing. But your friend is wrong: “My friend notes that there are some moments on the Jewish calendar where at least there is some context for throwing in Israel– such as the Passover Haggadah, ending with the call “Next year in Jerusalem.” But not this.”

    In fact the Ne’ila prayer ends with “Next Year in Jerusalem”. (In Orthodox prayer books)

  16. piotr
    June 27, 2013, 2:14 am

    I was in Indian temples a few times and I did not see any flags. IKEA has a Swedish flags, although I am not aware of any ceremonies.

    • just
      June 27, 2013, 6:44 am

      LOL, piotr.

      I’ve been to many churches, synagogues and temples– no flags. What happened to separation of church and state?

      • ToivoS
        June 27, 2013, 6:55 pm

        What happened to separation of church and state? No conflict at all. Church shall remain separate from state and state shall not interfere with how people worship. Praying to flags are their right under this doctrine.

  17. jon s
    June 27, 2013, 10:51 am

    Here in Israel itself , the Hatikva is not sung in synagogue services.
    However, throughout the traditional prayers, not only on Yom Kippur (and Yonah pointed out correctly that the climax of Ne’ila is “next year in Jerusalem”) there are repeated expressions of yearning for the people’s redemption, for Jerusalem, for a return to Zion . It has always been part of the Jewish faith.

    • Elliot
      June 28, 2013, 3:45 pm

      Jon s:
      a yearning…for a return to Zion…has always been part of the Jewish faith

      Spoken like a typical Israel Zionist, ignorant of, and uninterested in, American Judaism.

      Reform Judaism, the major and foundational American expression of Judaism, the form of Judaism practised at this synagogue, abolished prayers for the return to Zion. This was way back in the 19th century, long before Rabbi Kook et al invented Messianic, settler Judaism – now mainstreamed as Israeli modern Orthodoxy. In Israeli synagogues you have far worse prayers at the heart of every major service: a new-fangled prayer for the State of Israel, the first flowering of our Redemption” and another prayer for Israeli soldiers whose main combat duty is to kidnap Palestinian boys from their parents’ homes and otherwise brutally enforce the Occupation.

      If Reform Judaism in America is ready to regress to Messianic nationalism, why don’t these American Jews make real their yearning to return to Zion and just go there. It’s much easier to do today than it ever was. What’s stopping them?

      Finally, you gotta love the double flags/anthems: a two state solution for one people.

      • Yitzgood
        June 28, 2013, 6:04 pm

        Spoken like a typical Israel Zionist, ignorant of, and uninterested in, American Judaism.

        I’m an Orthodox American Jew with a fair amount of exposure to Reform Judaism. I would have said something similar to what Jon said although I don’t think the “yearning” part should get the most emphasis. I’d rather point out that Jews carried out a whole intellectual tradition, from ancient times until the present time, mostly in a Canaanite language. You could make the same objection if someone attributed the prohibition of pork to Judaism. Yeah, Reform Judaism did away with that, especially in the 19th Century. In the historical long run, however, Judaism has mostly prohibited eating pork and focused on the land of Israel in various ways, some of them a lot more concrete than merely “yearning.”

      • Elliot
        June 30, 2013, 11:51 am

        Yitzgood:
        In the historical long run, however, Judaism… has focused on the land of Israel in various ways, some of them a lot more concrete than merely “yearning.”

        Very much so. Judaism as a world community has funded and politically enabled the State of Israel. The organized American Jewish community in general, including the Reform Jews, have in particular, enabled the colonization of the West Bank.

        These days, Reform Jews pretend that none of this is their problem. They pray in a general sense to the Israeli flag, go on prilgrimages of all sorts and care about pet projects in Israel which fall under the “-washing” category: pinkwashing, wallwashing, greenwashing and so on. They steadfastly refuse to address their role in creating the evils that we all know about. Some Reform Jews, such as these that Phil describes go further and continue to give their support as Jews to Israel’s criminal, murderous onslaughts on its Palestinian population. They do this as an act of religious devotion, as members of a faith community.
        How does that square with your ideas of Jewish tradition?

      • Yitzgood
        June 30, 2013, 2:34 pm

        How does that square with your ideas of Jewish tradition?

        I don’t accept your characterization of the State of Israel to begin with. Right to Exist by Yaacov Lozowick seems like a fairly reasonable book to me.

      • American
        June 28, 2013, 6:23 pm

        ”If Reform Judaism in America is ready to regress to Messianic nationalism, why don’t these American Jews make real their yearning to return to Zion and just go there. It’s much easier to do today than it ever was. What’s stopping them?”

        Good question. The answer I’m afraid would probably be why should they when they can have their American cake benefits and their Jewish Disney World time share in Palestine also with most of the cost borne by other people.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 29, 2013, 10:27 am

        “Good question. The answer I’m afraid would probably be why should they when they can have their American cake benefits and their Jewish Disney World time share in Palestine also with most of the cost borne by other people.”

        With the dearest cost being, of course, the blood of generations of innocent Palestinian men, women and children, a stain borne by every zionist.

      • jon s
        June 29, 2013, 4:19 am

        Elliot,
        I’m not ignorant of or uninterested in American Judaism. Read my comment: I referred to “traditional prayers”, those recited by millions of Jews for generations, long before Rabbi Kook.
        You should be aware of the development of the Reform movement’s attitude towards Zionism , from utter rejection to the present embrace.
        The prayers for the safety and peace of the State of Israel and for the soldiers are entirely appropriate. Even someone critical of the goverment’s policies, like myself, doesn’t want to see our soldiers -our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters – harmed in any way. I say a loud “Amen” to those prayers.

      • Elliot
        June 29, 2013, 7:06 am

        Jon s. :
        Even someone critical of the government’s policies, like myself…says Amen
        That says it all, doesn’t it.

      • Elliot
        June 29, 2013, 7:25 am

        Jon s. :
        the development of Reform’s attitude towards Zionism, from utter rejection to present embrace

        That’s what Phil’s piece was about.

        Hatikva is not the same as the traditional l’shana haba’ah (Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem). Not for American Jews who could be next year in Jerusalem as tourists or residents, or for Israelis in Jerusalem, (What does Next Year in Jerusalem even mean in that context?), certainly not for the Satmar Hassidim who sing l’shana haba’ah with great fervor yet consider Hatikva to be an abomination.
        In a traditional synagogue, as you know, the Ark is opened for almost all of the Ne’ilah service. All are expected to stand out of respect for the open Ark. This is a big effort coming after 24 hours of fasting. It’s the last big effort at this final service of Yom Kippur. Yet in this Reform synagogue, the Ark is not opened, people are not expected to stand, they may, or may not be fasting, but by golly, everybody has to get on their feet and turn to face the flag to sing Israel’s national anthem.
        It’s more than an embrace. This ritual is a rejection of traditional Judaism and an embrace of nationalism. The flag and the anthem have taken the place of tradition.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 29, 2013, 10:32 am

        “The prayers for the safety and peace of the State of Israel and for the soldiers are entirely appropriate. Even someone critical of the goverment’s policies, like myself, doesn’t want to see our soldiers -our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters – harmed in any way. I say a loud “Amen” to those prayers.”

        If that peace and safety can come about by the freedom, equality and emancipation of the Palestinian people, then that prayer is fine. Otherwise it is a prayer for the success of a racist evil people carrying out a racist, evil plan. Prayers in that case would be highly immoral, like praying for the success of the Stasi, the KGB, the SS, the Khmer Rouge.

        Better your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters all suffer horrible fates than carry out the wicked occupation and oppression of Palestine.

      • Woody Tanaka
        June 29, 2013, 10:36 am

        “That says it all, doesn’t it.”

        Yup, it’s what passes for “liberal” among the zios: claim you’re against the plans of oppression and the. pray they succeed.

      • yrn
        June 29, 2013, 12:02 pm

        What does “l’shana haba’ah in Jerusalem” mean for Satmar Hassidim ?
        What dose it mean for you ? .

      • Shmuel
        June 30, 2013, 6:09 am

        Even someone critical of the goverment’s policies, like myself, doesn’t want to see our soldiers -our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters – harmed in any way. I say a loud “Amen” to those prayers.

        You’re being disingenuous, jon. The prayers in question are not merely about “safety and peace”, but are imbued with ideological, triumphalist, religious nationalism (“the State of Israel, first flowering of our redemption”, “cities of our God”, “salvation and the crown of victory”, “the land which your fathers occupied, and you shall occupy it”; “May God strike down before them our enemies who rise against us”, “May he vanquish by their means those who hate us”, “may He adorn them with a crown of deliverance and a mantle of victory”, “may the verse be fulfilled: “For it is the Lord your God who marches with you to do battle for you against your enemy, to bring you victory”).

        I refuse to stand for these prayers or respond “Amen” (loudly or otherwise), and they are part of the reason I no longer attend services.

        On a visit to Zurich last year, I attended progressive services and was asked to recite a non-nationalistic prayer for peace with which they have replaced the standard prayers instituted by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate (prayers that that take the name of peace [one of God’s names, btw] in vain). I did so gladly.

        Three of my nephews are currently serving in combat units, and were either of these prayers sincerely concerned with their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being (as well as that of the victims of Israeli state oppression and occupation), I would have no problem with them, but that is absolutely not the case. So, no, they are not “entirely appropriate” — in Israel or in synagogues around the world.

      • Elliot
        June 30, 2013, 9:39 am

        yrn –
        It’s not a meaningful prayer for me. Particularly, as a former Israeli. I feel more comfortable with Reform’s deletion of this line than with attempts to imbue it with modern meaning.
        Satmar Hassidim say all the prayers in the old prayerbook and have much more experience making it all work. I expect they pray for the dissolution of the Zionist regime and the coming of the true Messiah and the Kingdom of God. The rebbe will move to Jerusalem along with all the faithful.
        What Satmar Hassidim don’t do is to worship the flag and the state, as do these nice, American, liberal Jews.

    • Woody Tanaka
      June 28, 2013, 5:20 pm

      “…yearning for the people’s redemption, for Jerusalem, for a return to Zion… has always been part of the Jewish faith.”

      Yeah, too bad they could not respect the fact that it belonged to another people and was no longer theirs for the taking, without commiting crimes against humanity against those people. Had they kept it merely a spiritual desire, the great evils that grew from zionism would not have occurred.

  18. talknic
    June 29, 2013, 8:03 pm

    jon s“It has always been part of the Jewish faith”

    Faith isn’t a set of meaningless mantras. e.g., There’s always been a Jewish presence in Palestine. For far longer as Palestinian Jews than any Kingdom of David or State of Israel. They had a need for such a ritual? WHY? Get over it.

    For over 2,000 years (up until the 1920’s) the Jewish diaspora could have returned, attained citizenship, bought land, settled anywhere in Palestine. THEY DIDN’T

    Though Herzl in his lifetime could have immigrated, attained citizenship, bought land and settled anywhere in Palestine. HE DIDN’T. Nor did his family. He only visited twice for a few weeks.

    All Jews in the diaspora can now immigrate to Israel, attain citizenship, buy land, settle (in Israel). Some have. The majority HAVE NOT!

    As a Muslim might make a pilgrimage, so too a might a Jew or a Christian, without having to illegally make claim to someone else’s territory

  19. Yitzgood
    June 30, 2013, 2:25 pm

    For over 2,000 years (up until the 1920′s) the Jewish diaspora could have returned, attained citizenship, bought land, settled anywhere in Palestine. THEY DIDN’T

    Wikipedia isn’t the greatest source of information, but try this:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

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