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Devastation as far as the eye can see is our Yom Kippur geography. If a closing prayer is a must, chant the Amidah. The Shema. Anything that comes to mind. With a caveat. Stop the prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble. If a prayer doesn’t make sense when the names of the murdered are read, call up another prayer. This goes for any comments that are made as well. If they make sense in the presence of the Gazan dead. Otherwise be silent.

Al-Araqib, an unrecognized village of the Al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe (8 km north of Beersheba), being demolished for the 54th time in August 2013. (Photo: Eloise Bollack)

Haaretz reports: “Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said during a visit to the south on Sunday that he was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir heads the ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements. “We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living.”

Rabbi Jill Jacobs’s words are worth considering as the High Holiday season begins: “To be a rabbi is to be a moral leader. Moral leadership requires us to move beyond cheerleading to drawing on our tradition acknowledge fear, address ethical questions, offer loving critique, and inspire the hope that will move our communities toward supporting peace.” As Executive Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Rabbi Jacobs is a religious leader with ethics at the core of her Jewishness. She should be congratulated for her efforts. But no matter how much passion she brings to her task, there’s something essential missing from her analysis.

Middle East Monitor reports: “Along one of the roads in the city of Ariha in the north of the occupied West Bank, merchants Khaldoun and Hassan regularly receive 30 tons of dates produced in the neighbouring Israeli agricultural settlements, in preparation for their transfer to one of the packaging factories built on the outskirts of the city, Anadolu news agency reported. Inside the factory, about 13 miners are working on “screening” the dates and repackaging them in bags that read “dates of the Holy Land” in both Arabic and English and “Made in Palestine” in order to market them locally, in the Arab states and in Europe.”