Monthly Archives: February 2014

Welcome to the Jewish Pluralist! – by Richard Rosen

Welcome to the Jewish Pluralist!
Richard Rosen

The ability to adapt to a changing landscape is surely a key to the survival of the Jewish people for over 4,000 years. To know when it is necessary to shift gears the community must be open to new ideas, to give their spokespersons respect, and to argue the apparent pros and cons of all sides of an issue. That is our tradition and it has served us well over time.

While we are free in our synagogues to discuss the history of our people and the meaning of our traditions and teachings, as presented to us in the Torah and by its many commentators, we are constrained in both our synagogues and major Jewish organizations from open discussion of what is perhaps the most read more

We Held Silent to Listen : A Summary of a Dialogue – by Joyce Herman

We Held Silent to Listen : A Summary of a Dialogue
Gail Ferraioli
Joyce Herman

In the spirit of dialogue inspired by restorative justice peace circles, the National Coalition Building Institute and the Public Conversation Project, 16 members of Temple Sinai in Brighton, NY gathered to share personal thoughts, spoken in their own voice, about Israel. This small group of people, who were randomly invited and deliberately attended, dared to talk about things rarely articulated to themselves or others specifically within the Jewish community. read more

A Moment of Pluralism – by Ayala Emmett

A Moment of Pluralism
Ayala Emmett

“Those and those ??? ???? are the living words of God ”  (TB Eruvin 13a)

From sundown on September 28 to October 1 2013, about 2900 Americans and Israelis gathered at the Washington Convention Center at a conference organized by J Street. Not far away, on Capitol Hill, the American Congress, marked by bitter acrimony, prepared to shut down the government; yet, at the conference Israeli Members of Knesset, Left and Right, religious and secular, women and men offered support for the peace process and for a two states agreement. Leading the way on American grounds for a public commitment to a two-state solution was Justice Minister and Israeli Chief Negotiator Tzipi Livni who gave the opening keynote address, followed, two days later by Member of Knesset Zehava Galon, Chairwoman of the Meretz party. read more

David Ben-Gurion: On TANACH, The People, and the Land – by Matia Kam

David Ben-Gurion: On TANACH, The People, and the Land
Matia Kam

David (Green) Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) was also known as Zaken, the Elder, was the first prime minister and the first minister of defense of the state of Israel and was the state’s architect. During his years as prime-minster he shaped the new country. He was “the pragmatic and political power” yet was always an “inquisitive thinker”, a lover of books “whose cultural vision contributed a spectacular historical and spiritual dimension” to his pragmatic approach.[1] His whole life, including the years that he occupied major political positions, from leading the Yishuv (the pre-state years) through the establishment of the state, Ben-Gurion displayed interest in cultures, in history and philosophy. read more

Looming Uncertainties – by Peter Eisenstadt

Looming Uncertainties
Peter Eisenstadt

 These are remarkable times for starting a new website and blog about Jews and Judaism. I’ve always liked the saying of Leopold Von Ranke, the so-called father of  scientific history in 19th century Germany, that the first principle of  history is that every age is equally close to God.  That is no doubt true, but some age is closer to God to others.

 Israel and Palestine are on a precipice, with their destinations uncertain.   The power of  AIPAC, the dominant force behind the Israel lobby, whose presumed invincibility was a large part of their aura, has been losing battles in Congress.  A gap has emerged between Kerry and the Obama administration, and taunts by Israeli leaders that would have been absorbed by the White House a few months ago are now being slapped down.  No more lecturing and hectoring by Netanyahu in the Oval Office,  while his  government seems to be falling apart, and surely will if  there is any real progress towards an accord.  (And meanwhile, Liebermann is sounding sane. ) read more

Peter Seegar : An American Paradox – by Peter Eisenstadt

Peter Seeger-An American Paradox
Peter Eisenstadt

I rather liked the caption under a photograph of Pete Seeger in this week’s New Yorker, “musically pure, politically complex, singularly American.” But there was really was nothing about Pete Seeger that was pure or simple, not his music, not his Americanness, and certainly not his politics. Everything about him was complex, perhaps his simplicity above all.

First, before going forward, let me state unequivocally that I have always loved Pete Seeger. As a child of Communist parents. Or rather, after 1956, when I was only two years old, ex-Communist parents, who left the party but retained its household gods, the right books, the right magazines, and perhaps especially, the right music, the Paul Robeson records, the Weavers and Pete Seeger everywhere.
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