The Velvet Kippah
Letter to our Christian Friends, Present and Past
Maybe so. But what about now, seventy years later? When you hear a leader of a people who drops all pretense of ever willing to live side by side with a Jewish State in peace, can there be room for silence?
It turns out that for President Abbas Israel's crime isn't post-1967 West Bank settlements, but the original sin of its very establishment sixty-three years ago. Need more evidence? Visit the website of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN—check out its logo: it's the one with a map of the Palestinian state where Israel stands today.
As we look ahead to a New Year, we appreciate the blessings of the past. We value the solid friendships we have enjoyed with our Christian friends. To those who are still there for us, especially the millions in much of the evangelical world, as well as significant numbers of Catholics and Protestants, we hope and pray that G-d will shower you with all kinds of blessings. We are so grateful to those who are in it for the distance. To others who want to reinstate the trust, please don't call us. Assurances will be as comforting as stale honey-cake the day after Rosh Hashanah. Instead, please do two things. Watch our 30 second video, and pass along the message that peace will begin when Arabs can say, "We recognize Israel as a Jewish state." (You will be helping endangered Christians in the Middle East as well. Until Arabs can admit to the rights of others, Christians in that neighborhood will be no safer than Jews.) Then express your feelings directly to Palestine's Mission to the UN and to fellow Christians devoted to the Palestinian cause.
Hearing the sound of the Shofar, Jews rouse themselves to look at their blemishes and imperfections. Please excuse us if some of our newly freed-up vigor spills over, and we become more demanding of others as well. What we would like to see can't be a bad thing, can it? The world could use a bit more Christian outrage, quite apart from coming to the aid of Jewish friends. Yusuf Naderkhani, awaiting execution in Iran for the crime of converting to Christianity, could use a good deal more expressed Christian outrage. So could millions of persecuted Assyrian Christians in Iraq, as well as Copts in Egypt, mowed down in the streets by armored vehicles pursuing them like rats. Muslims fighting for their freedom in Syria (where 2900 have already been killed this year by their government) could benefit from some too, we would think.
Sometimes, when you don't hear the cries of people outside your community, you become a little more insensitive to the pain of those inside of it.
Yitzchok Adlerstein is an Orthodox rabbi who directs interfaith affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and chairs Jewish Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He is hopelessly addicted to the serious study of Torah texts.