We Value Multiple Perspectives on Israel

We all know the old expression, “Two Jews, three opinions!” A cute, funny line, but rooted in a fundamental philosophy that is paramount to our tradition. From our very beginnings, Judaism has been a religion that encourages dialogue and debates l’shem shamayim(for the sake of heaven).Jacob wrestled with a divine being and was renamed Israel – one who struggles with the Divine.In our Yom Kippur morning Torahportion, Nitzavim, we are taught, “the Torahis not in Heaven… it is in our hearts,”for us to interpret and disagree over! And the rabbis of the Talmud provide one of the greatest examples of discourse, constantly pushing each other and questioning.

In this spirit, we are excited to engage with Israel this fall in three distinct learning opportunities, beginning with two very different perspectives.

On Sunday morning, September 22, Asaf Romirowsky, PhD, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, will present the topic, BDS and Antisemitism: What’s Happening in Academia & on American College Campuses? (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions).

OnTuesday evening, Nov 5, Rabbi Emeritus Bill Kuhn will lead our book club, ReadRS, in a discussion of acclaimed American-Israeli author Daniel Gordis’ book, We Stand Divided.

Then, on Wednesday evening, November 6, we will hear from Rebecca Strober, the daughter of one of our past presidents, and new congregant, Nathan Hersh. Both Becca and Nathan are IDF (Israeli Defence Force) veterans and part of a group called Breaking the Silence, which records testimonies from the perspectives of the soldiers about the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.

Finally, we will have the opportunity, to dig deepon various views of Israel during a scholar-in-residence weekend with Reform Zionism thought leader, and a past president of the URJ, Rabbi Eric Yoffie on November 15-17. In three distinct sessions, Rabbi Yoffie will explore our commitment to Israel, help us understand the issues around religious freedom, and lift up some of the political challenges Israel faces as well.

We look forward to engaging with you in these important conversations.

1 See Pirkei Avot 5:17
2 Genesis 32:22–32
3 Deuteronomy 30:12