Monthly Archives: July 2014

Thoughts as I Prepare to leave for Israel

I am a day away from heading off to Israel. I prepare to leave feeling a combination of excitement and trepidation, but I leave with three goals in mind: First and foremost, I want to support and show solidarity with Israel, then I want to learn first hand what is happening and finally, I want to return prepared to share with my community the result of these experiences.

So far I have refrained from writing publicly about the war. Enough people are weighing in. Emotions are running high, facts are difficult to ascertain and thoughts continue to be tested. And I struggle with it all.

I believe that there is a time and place for things. Now, it is the time to show support and solidarity. But I will share that I believe war is a hellish nightmare that consumes and irrevocably changes all it touches. It is my hope however that from the ashes of destruction something meaningful and hopeful can rise. And it is my hope that I will be able to contribute something positive to the process.

Shabbat Shalom!

On a mission to Israel

I am excited to share the news that I am heading to Israel with my colleagues from the Central Conference of American Rabbis.  We are going to show our support and solidarity with the State of Israel and its people.  We will visit and be briefed and I am sure we will ask many questions in order to more fully understand the situation.

I look forward to this upcoming trip and to sharing what I learn when I return.

Anguish and Hope

Like so many others, I find myself in a place of anguish.  The violence perpetrated upon both Israelis and Palestinians is overwhelmingly sad and tragic.  I struggle with the hatred and resultant terror, death and destruction.  Whether the cause is righteous or even justifiable, the price that the innocents pay is too great.  And in the end, we all have blood on our hands, forever changed by war.

 Today, many of us observe a fast.  The 17th of Tammuz is traditionally a fast day for the Jewish people, marking catastrophes and heartbreaks in our history.  It coincides with the fast of Ramadan.  We join together praying that our sadness might transform into hope, that the killing might end, that the hatred might cease, that the opportunity for peace might appear as rays of light shining through the cracks in the broken vessel in which we find ourselves.

 To learn more about this event, look to the website:

 I share the following poem written by two religious leaders from Jerusalem,  Sheikh Ibtisam Mahamid and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, shared with me by my colleague, Rabbi David Ackerman.

 God of Life

Who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds

 May it be your will to hear the prayer of mothers

For you did not create us to kill each other

Nor to live in fear, anger or hatred in your world

But rather you have created us so we can grant permission to one another to sanctify Your name of Life, your name of Peace in this world.

For these things I weep, my eye, my eye runs down with water

For our children crying at nights,

For parents holding their children with despair and darkness in their hearts

For a gate that is closing and who will open it while day has not yet dawned.

And with my tears and prayers which I pray

And with the tears of all women who deeply feel the pain of these difficult days

I raise my hands to you please God have mercy on us

Hear our voice that we shall not despair

That we shall see life in each other,

That we shall have mercy for each other,

That we shall have pity on each other,

That we shall hope for each other

And we shall write our lives in the book of Life

For your sake God of Life

Let us choose Life.

For you are Peace, your world is Peace and all that is yours is Peace,

And so shall be your will and let us say