Like every war, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas has a broad narrative that varies according to who is telling the story. But it is also true that this war, like every war, is made up of countless stories of individual soldiers and civilians whose lives have been directly impacted.
The current hostilities between Israel and Hamas have, yet again, brought to the forefront a long-simmering feud between many supporters of Israel and the world of print, broadcast and electronic journalism.
The title of this article is actually the punch line of a well-worn Jewish joke. A man gets a message from a family member with those words… “Start worrying: details to follow.” If not the quintessential statement on the Jewish condition, it’s way up there.
Countless words have been uttered in an effort to give expression to the grief and revulsion that all of us who love Israel are feeling this week. The cruel and senseless execution of three young teens whose only sin was to be hitchhiking in a tough neighborhood has left us all stunned, and though words have poured out of everyone who can speak or write, none of them have been adequate to the challenge at hand. The pain is too great, and the implications of the event too present in our conscious minds.
The literary world of New York– and, not insignificantly, the Jewish world as well– lost one its brightest lights in 1988 when Paul Cowan, the renowned weekly columnist for the Village Voice, died far too soon from leukemia. He was only forty-eight. In addition to his brilliant writing for the Voice, Paul had captivated the Jewish world with his book An Orphan in History, in which he chronicled his discovery of his family’s Jewish roots, and his own slow but steady embracing of those roots.
Despite its many fault lines, the international Jewish community stands united, and shoulder to shoulder with Israel, in its struggle to bring Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel safely home. There are no equivocations to be argued, no moral equivalences to be drawn with Israel’s continued presence in the territories, no discussion of housing starts in disputed areas … nothing. This is, simply, a terrorist act by a terrorist organization. If you have to struggle to be appalled by it, well, shame on you.
In less than a week, on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, Jews around the world will gather together in synagogues to celebrate an event that, as much as any other, shaped the course of human history that would follow. I refer, of course, to ma’a’mad Har Sinai– the revelation of Torah on Sinai to the ancient Israelites.
When will we learn that no one group or ideology owns 'love of Israel?'
Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
Jewish Week Online Columnist
Story Includes Video:
As the June 1 Israel Parade draws closer, some organizations are threatening not to march. They are protesting the decision of parade sponsors to allow organizations like the New Israel Fund– a favorite target of the right wing of the Zionist movement– to be included in the parade, because of its alleged sympathy for the BDS strategy (boycott, divestment and sanction) designed to modify Israel’s position on settlements in the West Bank. The NIF steadfastly denies supporting BDS. They (the more right-wing organizations) feel that the NIF and its friends should have no place at the Zionist table, or at a parade that salutes Israel. And as long as they do, these more right-wing organizations won’t march.
Conventions often take professionals to exotic locations, not least of all to entice potential participants to attend. Dallas was not chosen for my rabbinic convention- the Rabbinical Assembly- because it's exotic. It actually has a significant Jewish community, and our new president, Rabbi Bill Gershon, leads a major congregation there.