Monthly Archives: August 2015

On “A Jewish position on Trump’s Indecent Immigration Plans”–A Letter to the Editor by Deborah Kornfeld

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank you for publishing the article entitled “A Jewish position on Trump’s Indecent Immigration Plans.”

How quickly we forget. How many lives would have been saved if the United States had had a more flexible and moral immigration policy in 1938? How different Jewish History would be if we hadn’t needed to frequently pack up our bags and leave one nation or another. Not only as Jews, but as Americans we shouldn’t turn our backs on one of our nation’s basic tenets. read more

A Jewish Position on Trump’s Indecent Immigration Plans—An Editorial by Peter Eisenstadt and Ayala Emmett

Chemi Shalev wrote in today’s Haaretz an article under the title “The Shameful Jewish Silence on Trump’s Anti-immigration Incitement.” He points out that American Jewish organizations have been strangely silent in condemning Trump’s call for mass expulsions. We want to draw attention to an article we published a few days ago in the Jewish Pluralist, “Expulsion According to Trump” to which we must add, “Taking a Jewish Position,” to the title. We wrote the essay as Jews committed to Jewish principles of justice and placed Trump’s indecent proposal to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America on our Jewish screen of a history of expulsions. This Jewish history obligates (mehayev ?????) us to remember (lizkor ?????) the horrors of expulsions, the tragic and brutalizing destruction that they bring on people and nations. read more

Expulsion According to Trump—by Ayala Emmett and Peter Eisenstadt.

Donald Trump, for those of us from New York City and State who have witnessed his antics for over 40 years, has always been a self-promoting jester. But recently he has crossed the line from his usual boundless self-aggrandizement into something with dangerous political consequences. He has announced that he wants to expel the 11 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America from this country.

Trump proposes to also end “birthright citizenship” and thereby abrogate the 14th amendment, at least those parts that state that “all persons born” in the United States are citizens, and all citizens enjoy “the equal protection of the laws.” He wants to build a wall separating Mexico and Canada and to greatly tighten existing restrictions on immigrants and to use their remittances home to pay for this unethical project. read more

Team Israel Spirit!–D’var Torah: Parashat Ekev, (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:24)–by Nick Clark

When I first began my study of the Parashat, Ekev in Deuteronomy, I had this image pop into my head.

We’re in the team’s locker room, the team getting suited up. Its almost game time. A lot of jostling, humor, towels popping tushes.

Coach Moses walks in and…
Everything stops. The camaraderie is replaced by fear, tension, anxiety and excitement. It is palpable.

Coach Moses has everyone’s attention. Including my own.
While not a quarterback I am a member of Team Israel.

“Team…”. says coach Moses
If you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the Eternal God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant made on oath with your fathers… read more

Ichabod –by Peter Eisenstadt

For the last week or so, since New York Senator Chuck Schumer decided to abandon his party, his president, his principles (or at least what should have been his principles) and announce his decision to vote against the Iran agreement, I have been thinking about the poem “Ichabod” (1850) by the 19th century American poet, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892). Nowadays Whittier is clinging to a place in the literary canon by his fingernails, but at his best he was quite a memorable poet, and one of his best poems is “Ichabod.” read more

Contact Your Members of Congress—by Peter Eisenstadt and Ayala Emmett

The Iran agreement is a most urgent issue, right now, facing Israel and the American Jewish community. It is important in itself, of course It holds out the best chance to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and to prevent the war that would likely break out if this agreement falters, and as such it is crucial for the future of Israel, the Middle East and American involvement in the region. Potentially, it can be a turning point in American-Iranian relations as well, an event that might be as significant as the opening to China in the 1970s. read more

Grief, Sorrow and the Legacy of Shira Banki: the Courage to be Decent –by Ayala Emmett

Today, Monday August 3 is marked by the unthinkable grief of the bereaved parents of Shira Banki and the sorrow of her family and friends who mourn an amazingly brave 16 year old who had the courage to be a decent human being and was stabbed at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. Today is Shira Banki’s funeral in a private ceremony in Kibbutz Nahshon.

Her family shared a heartbreaking message: “Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose. For no good reason and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for less hatred and more tolerance.” read more

Horrific Attacks in Israel: President Rivlin Warns that His Country Needs a Wake Up Call—by Ayala Emmett

Two horrific brutal attacks have shaken up Israel last week. On Thursday there was a stabbing attack on a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem in which 6 people were wounded, one seriously injured. Friday morning the country woke up to face the burning of a Palestinian family home in which a baby was burned to death in the village of Duma. The killers wishing to make sure that their identity would not be in doubt left a message on the wall in Hebrew, nekama, (revenge). On Saturday thousands of Israelis*, including Israel’s president, rallied in major cities, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa holding signs, “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” “Homophobia=Racism” and “How Many Will be Killed in the Name of God?” read more