Home of Israeli Secular Humanistic Leader Vandalized

Prof. Yaakov Malkin speaking at The Birmingham Temple Congregation for Humanistic Judaism ("The Atheist Rabbi's" congregation).

This is the sort of "breaking news" that I don't usually blog about, but in this case it's personal.Prof. Yaakov Malkin, one of the great leaders of Secular Humanistic Judaism in Israel (and father of Rabbi Sivan Malkin Maas), woke up this morning to find his Jerusalem home vandalized.From Haaretz: A Star of David and the phrases "Psalms 139: 21-24" and "Destruction of Amalek" were scrawled on the fence surrounding his home. A knife and an envelope containing a threatening letter were al … [Read more...]

Israeli Crackdown on Left-Wing Groups Continues

knesset

News out of Jerusalem this week is that the right-wing government has given the thumbs-up to the so-called “Transparency Bill” sponsored by Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home Party.With its passage, human rights NGOs that receive more than 50% of their funding from foreign governmental sources will be forced to reveal their status as “foreign agents” in every published document. They will also be required to wear special identity badges marking them as such when lobbying pub … [Read more...]

Defaming the Left in Israel

Screen Shot from "Im Tirtzu" attack video on Israeli left-wing NGOs.

Israeli right-wingers are going off the rails and taking Israeli democracy with them.The Jewish Home Party, which represents the interests of religious Zionist nationalist extremists, is sponsoring a “Transparency Bill” directed at shutting down left-wing NGOs.If passed, the law would require any left-wing NGO that receives 50% or more of its funding from foreign governmental sources to reveal this fact in every single interaction with Israeli government authorities. They would also be re … [Read more...]

Israeli Extremists Respond to Paris Massacre

schmuck

Haaretz writer Uri Misgav has published a powerful blog post about right-wing nationalist Orthodox Jewish responses to the horrors in Paris. (Unfortunately, it’s only available in Hebrew.)Their responses are repulsive in so many ways. They are consistently characterized by a horrible kind of schadenfreude, even rising - in Misgav’s words - to a level of “pure joy.”Rabbi Dov Lior, until very recently the chief rabbi of the Kiryat Arba settlement (near Hebron) and head of one of its largest … [Read more...]

Does Torah Command Immediate Execution of Disarmed Terrorists?

By אביעד חזני [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To my liberal rabbinical colleagues who hold the view that the Torah’s wisdom is necessary in the search for morality, I present this necessary reminder that what constitutes the will of the Torah is in the eyes of the rabbis who interpret it.And sometimes there is murder in their eyes.Rabbi David Stav, of the moderate Israeli rabbinic organization known as Tzohar, issued a halakhic opinion last week ruling that it is forbidden to kill a terrorist who has otherwise been rendered h … [Read more...]

It’s the Occupation, Stupid

Israel_Palestine_binational_one-state_button

View image | gettyimages.comI’ve mentioned before that I’m still a paid-up member of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis. Because of this I get to lurk on the Facebook page and hear what’s on the minds of Reform rabbis.Yesterday I learned that some of the major lights of the movement have opinions about the latest wave of terror in Israel that I find stunning.I won’t mention any names here - that would betray the closed nature of the group - and I won’t quote anyon … [Read more...]

Christian-Jewish Relations in 5776

Jews and Christians disputing scripture (the Jews are wearing the poiny hats) in a 15th c. Dutch woodcut.

Let's talk about the state of "Christian-Jewish" relations!For most of the past 2,000 years, our relations consisted of Christians alternatively killing and forcibly converting (and killing and forcibly converting and exiling) the Jews.Since the rise of the state of Israel, all kinds of power dynamics have changed and today the word “complicated” hardly begins to describe it. So as we begin the new year of 5776, let's take a look at how representatives of two of the world's most int … [Read more...]

Why I Support Open Hillel

Gili Getz.

After years of sitting on the “right-of-center” when it came to Israel (I called myself a “security dove”) I have moved to the left. And not a little.As I’ve slowly drifted to this position, I’ve come to realize just how much the right likes to shut down open discourse in the Jewish community. The BDS*-monster is the boogey-man invoked to shut down opportunities to even engage the other side.When I worked in Hillel we certainly supported Israel, but we also sponsored all kinds of dialogue … [Read more...]

J Street U Picks Muslim Leader, Jews Freak Out

Amna Farooqi address J Street U Conference

The new president of the campus arm of the liberal Zionist organization J Street was elected last week at the J Street U summer leadership conference.After taking a class at the University of Maryland, where she is a senior, she “fell in love with Zionism,” noting that Zionism is about taking ownership over the story of one’s people.” She also spent a semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem to get a better idea of what Israel was all about.Could there be anything more wonderful for a g … [Read more...]

340 Rabbis Come out in Support of Iran Deal

Iran talks

September is a busy month for the Jews this year. As is usually usual, the “high” holidays fall in the middle of the month. As is most definitely unusual, so does the vote in Congress about a certain nuclear arms deal with Iran.I imagine that many rabbis will use the first occasion to comment on the second. It’s harder to gauge where American rabbis stand (outside of the Orthodox) on this issue than where American Jewry does (see my previous post).I have joined 339 other American rabbis w … [Read more...]


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