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Rabbi's Week In Review - 11/7/2022

11/07/2022 02:49:00 PM

Nov7

During last Friday’s Erev Shabbat service, I spoke (at somewhat longer length than usual for a Shabbat service) about the elections last week in Israel. The great and scary irony for me is that, at a time when the rise of anti-Semitism is front and center in the news, Israel is giving increased voice and legitimacy to Itamar Ben Gvir, known as the David Duke (the Ku Klux Klan leader) of Israel.

Without even considering our own survival, safety and self-interest as Jews, there are many reasons to fight against hate and fight for democratic (small “d” — not necessarily the party) government here, in Israel and everywhere. Yet, as Jews, we must realize that when authoritarian regimes — which spew hate, polarize us and pit one against the other — take hold, Jews are always in danger.

As I pointed out this past Shabbat, American Jewish leaders are already speaking out against the dangerous path now being charted for Israel. The moment compels them to no longer adhere to the idea that, right or wrong, we can never criticize Israel. As Jews we must be consistent and persistent in holding ourselves to a high standard in living our Jewish values.  We can’t challenge authoritarian, fascist voices here at home and ignore this dangerous trend in Israel. As an aside, I simply mentioned last Friday night that, as a youthful Jew, I could have never imagined Israel electing a prime minister who was also on trial for corruption.

Never has there been a time in my lifetime when democracy has been under greater risk.  And if democracy is under greater risk, Jews are under greater risk. Let us not be silent at this moment.

Sun, November 27 2022 3 Kislev 5783