Last week, I was one of several rabbis from a range of religious denominations who met with a senior Israeli diplomat at the Israeli Embassy. We were there to deliver a letter asking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cancel plans to construct a new settlement in the E1 zone.
I have complained about Presidential Inaugurals for years, and I have finally decided to write the letter--my own, as it were, “Inaugural Address”. I love watching the inauguration of our presidents; I’m awed by the pageantry and inspired by words that invariably invoke the best of what this country is, was and strives to become. Through speeches and poetry and song, I am reminded of the enduring nature of our founding documents, which contain lofty notions that transcend even the humanity and wisdom of the authors themselves--notions of inclusion, community and freedom that have served us for more than two hundred years.
In many Jewish communities, there is a custom to eat dried fruit from the Land of Israel on Tu b’Shvat (the 15th of Shvat). It marks the “New Year” for the fruit of the trees, and this year it falls on Jan. 26.
When Dovid Hillel Klein, a prominent rabbi with the Chabad chasidic Jewish movement, served as the guest chaplain at the opening of the House of Representatives’ April 2010 session, he related a pearl of wisdom that he’d first heard at a comedy show at Northwestern University in Chicago.
When Bill Clinton was President of the United States, many in Israel thought he would most fit to be their Prime Minister. In 2012 we watched the high involvement of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Republican presidential campaign, and for a moment it looked like he would be a more suitable candidate than Mitt Romney.
Power is both illusive and real, but it is never stagnant.
Possibly never before in American Jewish history could we find Jews as divided around political priorities and even party affiliation. While the majority of Jews remain liberal, there are growing pockets of Republican Party activists, Tea Party members, and political independents.