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NY rabbi implores those in her congregation who are joining Israel’s enemies to love the country

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Roger Cohen’s latest column in the Times– about high holiday services in England at which Gaza didn’t come up, and the need for Jews to talk about the Palestinian “expulsion”–was widely circulated and got hundreds of comments. One comment quoted the Yom Kippur eve sermon by Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl of the historic Central Synagogue in New York, a longtime Reform congregation, asking Jews to put aside politics and love Israel as the “beating heart” of Judaism. I wrote to Central Synagogue about the quotations and was provided links to the rabbi’s sermon.

The sermon by a young, newly-appointed senior rabbi who has made influential-clergy lists is most significant for its alarmist tone about Israel’s enemies, which now seem to include people in the rabbi’s congregation during the Gaza onslaught:

“Increasingly, Israel was challenged and spurned by some of us, including some of whom I count among my friends and this congregation…. a lot of American Jews—and most especially the young—sometimes talk as though the Israeli government is the real and only problem.”

Buchdahl answers these critics with a raison-d’etre for Israel as a haven for Jews who face persecution. And then with full-throated expression of unreconstructed Zionist ideals, she urges Jews to put aside their criticisms of Israel and love the country, as they would have loved the U.S. during the time of slavery. For American Jews, she reminds us, are among Israel’s “most important strategic allies.” Buchdahl is talking about the importance of the Israel lobby.

Titled, “The Hope: Israel,” the sermon answers those who feel “shame” about Israel with a catalog of Jewish persecution and Israel’s merits, and scarcely a word about Palestinian suffering.

Here are extended excerpts of Buchdahl’s sermon:

I live with questions of Jewish identity and texts and history, in which Israel is central to everything.

I was heartsick this summer, watching Israel once again at war.  I hung on every communication from my young cousin, who was fighting with the IDF on the ground in Gaza.  And I felt anguish seeing the picture of those four young Palestinian boys killed on the beach from rocket fire, wondering if the Jewish state I love had really been as careful as it possibly could have been.  I hungered for moral clarity in a conflict that presented impossible choices.

Amos Oz, the great Israeli novelist, began an interview this summer with this challenge: “What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?  What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?”  These were the words of a prominent founder of Israel’s peace movement, a lifelong liberal lion.  No one can answer these questions with absolute moral certainty.  Not any rabbi.

But amidst these impossible choices, many sought clarity by making clear villains, and we watched Israel become further ostracized and demonized in the global community. This summer Israel was fighting on several fronts: to defend its citizens, its borders, its legitimacy, and its very right to exist.  Israel faces not only hostile Arab neighbors.  Not only a region in turmoil, not only anti-Semites around the world eager to vilify the Jewish people.  But increasingly, Israel was challenged and spurned by some of us, including some of whom I count among my friends and this congregation.

And so I knew I had no choice but to speak about Israel tonight.  I needed to say how high the stakes are.  Some of you will need no explanations.  You were nourished with a love of Israel and can’t fathom why Jews wouldn’t feel the power and primacy of Israel in their DNA.  But others of you may not feel the innate relevance of Israel in your lives.  I don’t know that any one sermon can persuade you that Israel should matter to you, if it doesn’t already.  But I had to try.  I had to share on this Yom Kippur why Israel matters to all of us.  And ultimately matters to the future of Jewish life.

In addition to our ancient historical ties to Israel as the birthplace of our religion, and the cradle of our prophetic tradition, we must remember two of the most important grounding principles that have undergirded our support for the modern State of Israel.

First: Israel was created to be a necessary haven for Jews everywhere in the world, especially after the Holocaust, and in the event of other outbreaks of anti-Semitism.

My husband Jacob grew up on stories of his German family, educated and assimilated, very much like you and me, who only reluctantly left their beloved Germany in the 1930s, their Steinway grand piano and engraved silver table settings seeming to mock how comfortable they had so recently felt.  Jacob’s grandfather Rolf Buchdahl, the son of Adolf—not such a popular a name for Jewish boys after the war—was such a proud German, embracing German culture, whose music and literature he was certain was the finest in the world.  But none of that patriotism mattered when the war broke out.  Jacob was raised on the narrative that if it could happen in Germany, it could happen anywhere.

Now, I don’t really believe it could happen in America.  But tragically, even America hardened its heart against all too many European Jews desperately trying to come to our shores during World War II.  There was no country in the world that made that promise.  Israel is the only nation where the right of return for Jews is guaranteed.  If the State of Israel existed then, think of how different Jewish history could have been.

Throughout my childhood, whether it was for Soviet Jewry or an airlift from Ethiopia, Israel was always the place to which Jews could flee.  Since its founding, Israel is the state that would take Jews in, give them a home and a job and the precious normalcy of raising a family.

Sadly, Israel as safe haven is still relevant in 2014.  Who could have imagined we’d be talking about a global resurgence of anti-Semitic sentiment and violence this summer?  Who could have imagined French Jews would be leaving for Israel at a rate sixty per cent higher than last year?  That statistic is all the more astounding when you consider that Israel was at war.  French Jews felt safer in an Israel under rocket fire than they did in France.

With experiences like these in our too-recent memories, how could we not respond to the idea of Israel as a vital refuge?

And the second reason we feel compelled to support Israel is that the country is under a constant threat of annihilation.  That’s not just Jewish paranoia; it’s the certainty of Israel’s history and Israel’s current reality.  Yes, Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.  Yes, the Palestinian national movement has changed over the decades.  But this tiny country is still surrounded by millions who want the Jewish state obliterated.

This summer, we were brutally reminded how Israel is in danger. The kidnappings and discovery of the bodies of three teenage boys was wrenching.  The rocket fire was so menacing, and the tunnels were the scariest of all.  How could we not be stricken by the thought of what was being hatched underground?

We know it’s a time-tested truth that nothing binds a people more than a common enemy.  And Israel has very real enemies.  Hamas, whose charter blatantly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel; Hezbollah and Iran, enemies committed to Israel’s demise.  Even Turkey, once a reliable friend of Israel, has become increasingly hostile.

But this time, our common enemies, and the specter of destruction did not unify all of us.

In fact, a lot of American Jews—and most especially the young—sometimes talk as though the Israeli government is the real and only problem.

Ari Shavit, the Israeli author of My Promised Land, one of the most important books on Israel in years, spoke at Central this past spring.  Shavit shared his anguish that the greatest threat to Israel’s existence that is too easily overlooked is the apathy, the Israel-fatigue, and even the shame that the next generation of American Jews feel for Israel.

For most of our younger generation, the traditional narratives of Israel as a safe haven and a beleaguered country fighting for its survival do not resonate.  Many of them would say that Israel is not essential to them.

They have rarely or never experienced anti-Semitism.  They feel safe and at home in America, and of course they should.  The Holocaust has become relegated to ancient history.  And they did not live through the battles where Israel fought for its life, in ’48, ’67, or ’73.  In fact, many would say that Israel appears, from their vantage point, not like the scrappy underdog fighting for its survival, but like a regional military superpower oppressing its neighbors.

But this is a very narrow view of Jewish history.  And a very narrow view of Israel.

So often the only thing we talk about, read about, geshray over regarding Israel is just one thing: politics.  I’m not saying we should stop talking about Israel’s very real needs for security.  Or stop engaging in nuanced conversations about the troubling policies of continued settlement building in occupied territories.  But we need to see Israel as more than the sum of its military choices and political positions.

I would venture a guess that nearly everyone in this room has been profoundly disappointed by an American president or our government in the last decade.  Either you spent the Bush years saying, “I can’t believe this country I love is doing this,” or you spent the Obama years saying, “I can’t believe this country I love is doing that.”

Or perhaps both!  Regardless, you want to see this country thrive and prosper no matter who’s leading it, no matter what mistakes are made.  And you wouldn’t stand for anyone claiming America doesn’t have the right to exist just because, in a given administration, you believe its policies or decisions are misguided or even unjust.  You haven’t moved to Canada.

We all know that America sometimes falls short of the magnificent ideals on which it was founded.  It’s hard to believe that the words of the Declaration of Independence—that “all men are created equal”—were written by many men who owned slaves and refused to give women the right to vote.  But we believe in the founding principles of this country.  And whether we are in agreement with the government in power at the time or not, our relationship is not dependent on the politics and policies of the moment.  Thank G–d for that.

And yet, for too many American Jews, our relationship to Israel is too contingent on the actions of whatever government happens to be in power.  There is no depth to the relationship or connection to everything that Israel stands for.  But just as our relationship to America would never be based solely on our feelings about Guantanamo Bay and drone strikes, our relationship with Israel can’t be based solely on our feelings about the Gaza Strip and settlements.  I have strong feelings about them, and they shouldn’t be taken out of the equation.  But neither should they be all of it.

If that is all we know, we will never love. And I have to say it:

I want you to love Israel.

And I’m going to do everything I can to help you know the Israel I love better.

Because…

Only in Israel do we land on the runway and people on the plane cheer, cry, and kiss the ground—the ground our people has longed for and prayed about for over two thousand years.

Only in Israel does the Declaration of Independence aspire to build a world as envisioned by the prophets of Israel, promising “complete equality of… rights to all its inhabitants.”

Only in Israel would David Grossman’s novels, Naomi Shemer’s songs, and Yehuda Amichai’s poetry seamlessly weave in ancient words of Torah with the depth of the Jewish story into an Israeli culture that makes us weep, and marvel.

Only in Israel, a country of virtually no natural resources, would they invest deeply in their only true resource, their people, and have the highest number of PhD’s per capita in the world.

Only in Israel do all schoolchildren learn the Hebrew Bible in its original language, and then take field trips to the sites of King David or Samuel, and walk in kings’ and prophets’ footsteps.

Only in Israel can you unselfconsciously live in Jewish time—the city stopping on Shabbat, the streets empty of cars and full of people walking to shul.  And on Sukkot, even the kosher McDonald’s is bedecked with sukkahs so you can fulfill the mitzvah with your Big Mac.

You can expect, that as your rabbi, Central will still bring in speakers and policymakers who will talk about the very real and complicated political and military issues that Israel faces.  American Jews are among Israel’s most important strategic allies and we owe it to Israel and ourselves to be educated and committed to Israel’s safety and future.  We owe it to ourselves to know what we’re talking about—and even to disagree, civilly and knowledgably.

Real love does not wither when it faces imperfections.  Real relationships are based on knowledge.  But it’s hard to fall in love with someone who only wants to have heavy, hard conversations all the time.  I want you to also know the Israel that makes me laugh.  And wonder.  And feel—something so deep and rooted that I can’t imagine being a Jew without it.

So you can also expect that in the future, we will bring in Israeli musicians and dancers, and read Israeli literature and poetry.  I’m proud that this fall, we filled to capacity four sections of a year-long iEngage Israel curriculum so that our Israel conversations will be elevated through study, not sound bites.  And there is nothing like experiencing Israel firsthand.  I am leading a family trip to Israel this December—there is still room for you to join—and you can expect I will encourage every one of you to go to Israel.  Often.

I wish it were easier.  I wish Israel didn’t live in such a bad neighborhood.  But this land, it’s vital to us.  Chaim Weizmann, who became the first president of modern Israel, was lobbying the British government for the Jewish homeland.  And a member of the House of Lords asked him, “Why do you Jews insist on Palestine when there are so many undeveloped countries you could settle in more conveniently?”  Weizmann replied, “That is like my asking why you drove twenty miles to visit your mother last Sunday when there are so many old ladies living on your street.”

Israel is our motherland.  Israel is family.  Israel is the birthplace of the Jews’ greatest contributions of ethics and morals to human civilization.  Israel is our safe haven.  Israel is the beating heart of our people.  And Israel is ours.

Od lo avda tikvateinu.  We have not lost hope—that the hearts of Jews in America will turn to Israel, and the hearts of Israel to us, in mutual strength and common calling.

We have not lost hope—that Israel will forge a path to lasting peace and security with the Palestinian people and its neighbors in justice and goodwill.

We have not lost hope—that this tiny, embattled, miraculous country will write the next chapter of our remarkable Jewish story in a way that is worthy of our highest Jewish values.

We are, after all, and above all, a people of hope.

Note that Buchdahl has a cousin in the Israeli army. Kinship with Israeli Jews is a central factor in American support for Israel; there are folks in the media with family connections. Buchdahl’s comments reflect the crisis inside Jewish life, and underline the fact that anti-Zionism is a revolutionary force inasmuch as the leading institutions in Jewish life fell hook, line and sinker for Zionist ideology in the last generation. Undoing that connection will be convulsive, Jewishness as it is now constituted won’t be the same. But there is no other way. Consider how little Buchdahl has to say about actual Palestinian persecution, or about Palestinians fatalities during the recent massacres.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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43 Responses

  1. eljay
    October 9, 2014, 9:46 am

    Ms. Buchdahl’s speech amounts to nothing more than the usual Zio-supremacist:
    – justifications for Jewish supremacism in a supremacist “Jewish State”; and
    – apologetics for past and on-going Zio-supremacist Jewish (war) crimes.

    >> I want you to also know the Israel that makes me … feel—something so deep and rooted that I can’t imagine being a Jew without it.

    What a horribly shallow faith the good rabbi has if it requires the existence of a supremacist state to validate it.

    • Krauss
      October 9, 2014, 6:00 pm

      Lenin used to say that the fiercest ideologues are typically converts – who have most to prove.

      Buchdahl intermarried, has no Jewish lineage and is non-white. Everyone who has spent any time at all within the Jewish community knows how monolithically white it is. Pew’s study last year pegged the Jewish community as 95% white. It’s likely that the religious camp within that group is even more white. Mormons are 80% white or so, and they are typically criticized for their lack of diversity.

      How does a woman who is in the 5% minority, who has ascended to become one of the most powerful rabbis in America, cope with Zionism? She assimiliates the attitudes of the majority to such an extent precisely because she is fearful if she didn’t, would she be as welcome?

      Afterall, even Jews like Blumenthal, who is Jewish on both sides, gets called self-hating and gets their Judaism questioned. How would Angela Buchdahl fare?

      Her commentary is not just a sad statement on the debate on Zionism within American Jewry, it is also a commentary on the racial exclusiveness that permeates the same community, i.e., if you don’t have ancestry in Eastern Europe or Germany going back 100-150 years, somehow “you’re not quite Jewish”. Never said, but often silently understood.

      • Mooser
        October 10, 2014, 11:23 am

        ” if you don’t have ancestry in Eastern Europe or Germany going back 100-150 years, somehow “you’re not quite Jewish””

        Gosh, any real traces of my true genealogy disappeared in the pogroms and death camps of the last century. And the slums and tenements of NYC. I have nothing but admiration for Jews who went through all of that, and kept their family history’s intact, along with their racial purity. They are the aristocracy, the nobility of the Jewish community.

      • Mooser
        October 10, 2014, 11:43 am

        “Pew’s study last year pegged the Jewish community as 95% white.”

        Krauss, how are you defining “white”? Genetically? Socially? A certain shade in a PMS book?

        Or did the Pew study suggest that 95% of the “Jewish community” (?) thinks of itself as “white” ?(or at least “95% white”?)

        …cope with Zionism? She assimiliates the attitudes of the majority to such an extent precisely because she is fearful if she didn’t, would she be as welcome?”

        Kraus, unless you are contending that Zionism is in-born or inherent in certain Jews (“‘natural-born Jews’?) isn’t that the same exact thing that every Jew who is involved with Zionism has to do? Or do we get it in our Mother’s milk?

  2. Talkback
    October 9, 2014, 10:04 am

    Please wake me up, if it’s the Jews that need more a safe haven against persecution than the Palestinians.

  3. marc b.
    October 9, 2014, 10:11 am

    race. it’s always about that discredited, squishy, undefinable ‘key’ to human relationships. racism and schizophrenia. what a mix.

  4. amigo
    October 9, 2014, 10:16 am

    “Only in Israel does the Declaration of Independence aspire to build a world as envisioned by the prophets of Israel, promising “complete equality of… rights to all its inhabitants.” buchdahl

    If you happen to be a Jewish inhabitant , that is.Otherwise you don,t feature in this so called “right to equality “.

    “Only in Israel do we land on the runway and people on the plane cheer, cry, and kiss the ground—the ground our people has longed for and prayed about for over two thousand years.” buchdahl

    There goes that exclusivity again.Jews love their country more than non Jews love theirs.

    “Only in Israel do all schoolchildren learn the Hebrew Bible in its original language, and then take field trips to the sites of King David or Samuel, and walk in kings’ and prophets’ footsteps. buchdahl

    So non Jews are taught Judaism , unless the good rabbi is of the view there are only Jews in Israel.

    “I wish it were easier. I wish Israel didn’t live in such a bad neighborhood. buchdahl

    So do I madam rabbi.So do I.

    She is one very brainwashed nutcase.

  5. pabelmont
    October 9, 2014, 10:30 am

    Unless and until the rabbis who adopt such a cozy touchy-feely view of Israel can address and condemn Israel’s very long-term violations of Palestinian human and national rights (to say nothing of violations of international law), I shall characterize their palaver as:

    “The excuse that Israel is so necessary to THE JEWS and so excellent and so marvellous that it should be supported in all things and despite all things, and no-one Jewish or otherwise should be tolerated to point critically and in condemnation to Israel’s violations of law and human rights.

    Any people, any country which is necessary and marvellous automatically cannot commit crimes and therefore cannot be accused of doing so.”

    Pish-Tush. JVP and others must take this up. disgusting!

  6. Citizen
    October 9, 2014, 10:51 am

    Yes, she says “Only in Israel does the Declaration of Independence aspire to build a world as envisioned by the prophets of Israel, promising “complete equality of… rights to all its inhabitants.” Yet Israel has no Constitution to guarantee such rights. And the judiciary cannot preempt the legislature. She glides over how she is “troubled” by the settlements. But she has no trouble painting a picture of anti-Semitism rampant in Europe. No link there, eh? Wants the audience to agree pre-20th Century America is the relevant model from which to judge Israel’s character and conduct? Plus America’s contemporary unilateral interventionism around the world? How many Americans actually still love America?

    • adele
      October 9, 2014, 2:54 pm

      I was just online trying to find some information on Oriana Fallaci’s xenophobia/Islamophobia and was struck by this sentence from a 2002 Guardian article:

      “The recent, well-orchestrated campaign alerting opinion to the rise of anti-semitism in Europe camouflages the fact that Jews are not the foremost victims in the carnival of hatred. That dubious honour goes to Muslims, Europe’s largest religious minority, numbering over 20 million. “

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2002/jun/11/thefarright.uk

      So, either anti-Semitism is a real and present and ever-constantly rising occurrence (may this never be the case, and may we all denounce any & all occurrences of bigotry) or we are always being hit over the head by claims of rampant anti-Semitism so as to deflect and keep zionism safe from condemnation? Of course, it should be noted that the War on “Terror” (principally targeting Arabs and Muslims) is real and has only increased, as past and present facts attest. So I am left scratching my head, which is a greater threat in the present context: anti-Semitism or Islamophobia?

  7. American
    October 9, 2014, 11:04 am

    Typical.
    Heard one Zio whine, tribal glorification, conflating of Amercia loyalty with Israel loyalty for Jews and a-s-enemies justification for Israel– heard ’em all.
    Same old retarded spiel every time.

  8. seafoid
    October 9, 2014, 11:25 am

    “Only in Israel do we land on the runway and people on the plane cheer, cry, and kiss the ground—the ground our people has longed for and prayed about for over two thousand years. thought it didn’t belong to them
    Only in Israel does the Declaration of Independence aspire to build a world as envisioned by the prophets of Israel, promising “complete equality of… rights to all its inhabitants.” WTF
    Only in Israel would David Grossman’s novels, Naomi Shemer’s songs, and Yehuda Amichai’s poetry seamlessly weave in ancient words of Torah with the depth of the Jewish story into an Israeli culture that makes us weep, and marvel. What is the point if it is based on torture ?
    Only in Israel, a country of virtually no natural resources, would they invest deeply in their only true resource, their people, and have the highest number of PhD’s per capita in the world. Pity they have to be so indoctrinated
    Only in Israel do all schoolchildren learn the Hebrew Bible in its original language, and then take field trips to the sites of King David or Samuel, and walk in kings’ and prophets’ footsteps. Worthless without morality
    Only in Israel can you unselfconsciously live in Jewish time—the city stopping on Shabbat, the streets empty of cars and full of people walking to shul. And on Sukkot, even the kosher McDonald’s is bedecked with sukkahs so you can fulfill the mitzvah with your Big Mac.”

    And all only because the natives are warehoused along with Jewish morality which is held in a piss stained cell at Ben Gurion airport, ready for deportation.

  9. Chu
    October 9, 2014, 11:39 am

    Boring…wake me when it’s over…and they actually confront their internal problems head on. All they do is bring up the problem and offer no solution. That was the speech of a politician.

    • jimby
      October 9, 2014, 11:59 am

      @Chu.. ” That was the speech of a politician”

      BINGO. She just wants to keep her job.

  10. Shmuel
    October 9, 2014, 11:59 am

    Israel as the “beating heart” of Judaism

    It is not a heart, beating or otherwise, but a modern polity rooted in a modern ethno-nationalist ideology. Rabbi Buchdahl’s misrepresentation of Zionism not only as equivalent to Judaism, but as its “beating heart” is the crux of the debate within the Jewish community that she has sought to shut down with her rallying-round-flag rhetoric. We will not rally round the flag of racism, torture, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, and we refuse to believe that these things are part and parcel of the “beating heart” of Judaism.

    she urges Jews to put aside their criticisms of Israel and love the country, as they would have loved the U.S. during the time of slavery.

    Judaism is not a country, and were I a US citizen at the time of slavery I would by no means have “put aside my criticism” for love of country — quite the contrary.

    I live with questions of Jewish identity and texts and history, in which Israel is central to everything.

    Precisely because you are a scholar and are familiar with questions of Jewish identity and texts and history, I would expect you to recognise the differences between myth, history, eschatology and modern political ideology (including religious ideology) and constructs.

    • Mooser
      October 10, 2014, 11:51 am

      “Some of you will need no explanations. You were nourished with a love of Israel and can’t fathom why Jews wouldn’t feel the power and primacy of Israel in their DNA.”

      Well, that’s that. You can’t fight your own DNA! She’s a Rabbi, and a geneticist!

  11. pgtl10
    October 9, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Rev. Bruce Shipman get fired for saying that Israel’s actions is why anti-semitism grows and Jews need to speak up against Israel. People claimed he was an Anti-semite on the false claim that he said Jews should press Israel to resolve the Palestinian issue.

    Here we hear a Rabbi demanding support for Israel as part of being Jewish. We will hear Zionist and the media condemn her?

  12. just
    October 9, 2014, 12:42 pm

    “Israel is our motherland. Israel is family. Israel is the birthplace of the Jews’ greatest contributions of ethics and morals to human civilization. Israel is our safe haven. Israel is the beating heart of our people. And Israel is ours.”

    She’s preaching in Manhatten, NYC! Her allegiance is over there? What “ethics and morals” is she speaking of?

    “Born in Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, Rabbi Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as cantor or rabbi in North America. ”

    http://www.centralsynagogue.org/about_us/our_clergy

    Whoopee!

    Where was the call for atonement? I must have missed it. Her flock must have missed it as well.

    ( the photo up top made me laugh– “what could go wrong?”
    straight out of a Woody Allen flick!)

    • seafoid
      October 9, 2014, 2:06 pm

      ‘And Israel is ours”

      It’s certainly not ours and we won’t be bringing it to hospital when the breakdown comes on
      Al quds lina too.

    • Mooser
      October 10, 2014, 12:01 pm

      “Israel is the birthplace of the Jews’ greatest contributions of ethics and morals to human civilization”

      Ummm, didn’t those things happen after the expulsion, and during the diaspora? Oh well, who’s counting.

      • Marnie
        October 11, 2014, 2:12 am

        Really Mooser, why muddle up the propanganda with the introduction of well known facts? The tale is told so much better by keeping it a fairy tale.

    • W.Jones
      October 10, 2014, 7:16 pm

      Just,
      She said her confession was that she didn’t talk about Israeli politics at the beginning of the sermon. Thus, it’s her atonement in talking about it.

      • Mooser
        October 11, 2014, 12:49 pm

        W Jones, I think you pretty much got to the nub, or jist of the sermon.

  13. amigo
    October 9, 2014, 2:00 pm

    She approves of slavery .

    But only for goyim who are apparently put here to serve Jews.

    http://www.jta.org/2010/10/18/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/sephardi-leader-yosef-non-jews-exist-to-serve-jews

    Not much of a leap from supporting your Nation that allows slavery as she admitted , to viewing all non Jews as slaves.

    What a vile deviant she is.

    • marc b.
      October 9, 2014, 2:14 pm

      i don’t know if it’s just the particular focus of this site or a real trend, but there seems to be an effort to put female rabbis out front on this, what with their nice smiles and lack of facial hair.

      • amigo
        October 9, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Seems to me , she is putting herself out front by spouting hasbara and displaying her Israel first agenda.

  14. tear-stained uzi
    October 9, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Oh ffs, gag reflex triggered. Give me an ‘out’ Jabotinsky-ite over this saccharine LibZio horseshit any day. Her revolting fetishization of The Land is outright idolatry.

    The Zios are truly flailing. Good luck getting disaffected young Jews to ‘love’ Israel with this tired old bilge. (Apparently, no one’s told the rabbi about this Intertubes thing all the kids are doing these days…)

  15. Rusty Pipes
    October 9, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Only in Israel is the Rabbi not considered religious because she is part of the Reform movement (not to mention female). Only in Israel is the Rabbi not considered Jewish because her mother is not Jewish, although her father is. Gotta love the place!

  16. Sulphurdunn
    October 9, 2014, 5:53 pm

    The sermon was a master piece of the chauvinist soft sell supremacist shuffle. It’s the kind of “come let us reason together” hypocrisy that allows one to hurt people and blame them for it while professing sorrow over their ignorance for causing it. Disgusting.

    • Mooser
      October 11, 2014, 12:53 pm

      Commentor W Jones made a two-sentence exegesis which explicates the sermon pretty damn precisely.

  17. Marnie
    October 10, 2014, 3:00 am

    “Only in Israel can you unselfconsciously live in Jewish time—the city stopping on Shabbat, the streets empty of cars and full of people walking to shul. And on Sukkot, even the kosher McDonald’s is bedecked with sukkahs so you can fulfill the mitzvah with your Big Mac.”

    I finally finished vomiting but still have dry heaves after reading this drek. By the way wabbi – who cares? If you have to have a place where it is “Jewish” time, regardless of all of the non-jews around you who have no choice but to live in “your time”, maybe your jewishness is too weak to stand on its own. What a bunch of crapola. Isn’t that special, especially the mitzvah and big mac in the same sentence. Sheeit. Just another hasbarist ho workin’ it for her Mac daddy, the state of israel.

  18. Marnie
    October 10, 2014, 3:21 am

    She must have forgotten that she would never be a wabbi in the state of israel, not only because she is of the reform sect, but she is a she, period (no pun intended). She’d be spit on and slandered by the very people she is rah-rahing for. Whoops, she is prostituting herself for real estate, not people. “The beating heart of our people”, oh agony.

    • Mooser
      October 10, 2014, 6:35 pm

      “She must have forgotten that she would never be a wabbi in the state of israel, not only because she is of the reform sect,”

      Well, can you blame them Marnie? The Orthodox were pretty upset after that stunt at the Orthodox-Reform Unity banquet in 1883 when the estimable Rabbi Wise graduated the first crop of Reform Rabbis from his new seminary. They invited all the Orthodox Rabbis to the big graduation banquet, but somebody goofed and ordered two from column “A” and two from column trefe! (You can look it up) The Orthos left in a huff ( the subways hadn’t been built)
      and haven’t talked to the Reformers since.

      Yeah, we knew how to do schism, once.

  19. bryan
    October 10, 2014, 7:06 am

    “Amos Oz, the great Israeli novelist, began an interview this summer with this challenge: “What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery? What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?” These were the words of a prominent founder of Israel’s peace movement, a lifelong liberal lion. No one can answer these questions with absolute moral certainty. Not any rabbi.”

    You have to feel sorry for the anguish of liberal rabbis tortured by such moral dilemmas. It makes be glad that I am an atheist who “can answer these questions with absolute moral certainty.” I have yet to see a machine gun nest on my neighbour’s balcony and it’s not something I expect to see anytime soon. There is a simple explanation for this – human beings are fundamentally good-natured and invariably extend the hand of friendship, tolerance and mutual assistance to their neighbours (excepting the odd psychopath like the IDF strategist who developed the Dahiya Doctrine – “in which the army deliberately targets civilians and civilian infrastructure, as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population, thereby establishing deterrence” (Wikipedia)). My neighbours will only turn against me if I wrong them intolerably, and even then the dispute would be unlikely to persist if I apologised and adopted the path of reconciliation. This is so simple and obvious that surely a rabbi can get it – it’s the occupation, stupid.

    Surely a rabbi can also see contradictions that stick out like a saw thumb? “First: Israel was created to be a necessary haven for Jews everywhere in the world” and “Israel as safe haven is still relevant in 2014.” “And the second reason we feel compelled to support Israel is that the country is under a constant threat of annihilation. That’s not just Jewish paranoia; it’s the certainty of Israel’s history and Israel’s current reality. Yes, Israel has peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. Yes, the Palestinian national movement has changed over the decades. But this tiny country is still surrounded by millions who want the Jewish state obliterated”. Now surely Israel cannot be both a safe haven and a terribly dangerous haven? Indeed, she has to recognise the absurdity of her own argument: “For most of our younger generation, the traditional narratives of Israel as a safe haven and a beleaguered country fighting for its survival do not resonate” and “In fact, many would say that Israel appears, from their vantage point, not like the scrappy underdog fighting for its survival, but like a regional military superpower oppressing its neighbors.”

    How can the rabbi resolve these conundrums? Effortlessly it seems: we just need to fall back on our historical sense of victimhood (“But this is a very narrow view of Jewish history. And a very narrow view of Israel.”) The lessons drawn from her historical perspective seem to be two-fold: eternal and inveterate anti-Semitism (even though “our younger generation… have rarely or never experienced anti-Semitism”) and eternal and inveterate enemies (“Israel has very real enemies. Hamas, whose charter blatantly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel; Hezbollah and Iran, enemies committed to Israel’s demise. Even Turkey, once a reliable friend of Israel, has become increasingly hostile”) even though Israeli policy created each of these enemies: a decades long occupation of Lebanon that attempted regime change spawned Hezbollah; Israeli policy encouraged Hamas as a counterweight to the secular resistance of Fatah; and Turkish friendship was spurned by the heavy-handed and disproportion attack on the Mavi Marmara. Even worse, when Israel’s “enemies” have proffered an olive branch these initiatives have been abruptly rejected. (E.g. the Iranian peace proposal of 2003 (see http://www.antiwar.com/orig/porter.php?articleid=9040 and the Arab initiatives of 2002 and 2007 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Peace_Initiative).

    Such are the contradictions of Zionism and the inherent dysfunctionality of building a society based on numerous ethnic, religious and political minorities that the architects long ago determined that Israel “is destined to live by the sword” (Moshe Dayan) and “behind an Iron Wall” (Vladimir Jabotinsky). Thus the good lady is simply guilty of wishful thinking when she proclaims “We have not lost hope—that Israel will forge a path to lasting peace and security with the Palestinian people and its neighbors in justice and goodwill”. Or is this like the two-thousand year-old urge to return to Jerusalem – something that was for centuries in the distant future, and depended upon God getting his act together?

  20. Another Steve
    October 10, 2014, 10:51 pm

    Only in Israel does the Declaration of Independence aspire to build a world as envisioned by the prophets of Israel, promising “complete equality of… rights to all its inhabitants.”

    But it also says this:

    This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

    Now, if the Jewish people are the masters, what about the other folks living there? I don’t know how you can have equality when people of one ethnicity are designated as the masters.

    The Prophets did not speak in a single voice, but I don’t think any of them ever suggested that the Jewish people, or any other human beings for that matter, were “masters of their own fate.” The Prophets had in mind another Master.

  21. W.Jones
    October 11, 2014, 12:00 am

    How representative are the sermons of R.Lewish and R.Buchdahl for what people occasionally hear in their worship houses?

    • Mooser
      October 11, 2014, 12:58 pm

      W Jones, these days, it may very well be that almost every Synagogue or Rabbi has a website or blog, and it’s very possible that the sermons would be published there, and archived there.
      Might be very interesting to see what the main subject of sermons tends to be.
      As you know, in past days, many many ministers had sermons collected and published as books.
      They were in most cases, a real boon to the insomniac.

  22. traintosiberia
    October 12, 2014, 9:34 pm

    Bichdahl ignores the bad behaviors and celebrates the exalted languages of equality for all in the Declaration of Independence . She manages in hindsight to see hope and project on an America that was on the past .
    Bit she fails to see the same optimism in millions of Muslim surrounding Israel in the same sentence where she talks of peace treaties between Jordan and Egypt. One wonders who those millions are . She then gets lost spinning her thought process in the bad languages of Hamas ‘s charter and by design forgets to notice the good behaviors of Hamas – offer of truce,offer of recognition, and following of international rules , and the guarantee of those millions of Muslim through the promises and offers of Saudi initiative .
    It does not help her case to assume the same mindset she does while reading into American past on equality . Hamas is a different beast for Israel is a different nation !

  23. traintosiberia
    October 12, 2014, 9:46 pm

    Amos has failed . He has supplied most corrupt defense of Israell’s dastardly behaviors in his thought experiment . Its Israel who has engaged in those types of behaviors not Hamas .

  24. W.Jones
    October 12, 2014, 11:12 pm

    69 percent feel some meaningful level of attachment to Israel. More than half of every group answered either “very” or “somewhat” attached – except for secular Jews, who selected “very” and “somewhat” by 12 and 33 percent, respectively. This group makes up 22 percent of American Jews.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/03/8-fascinating-trends-in-how-american-jews-think-about-israel/

    Here is a different poll:
    http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=7oJILSPwFfJSG&b=8479755&ct=13376311

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