Monthly Archives: January 2017

Week One by Peter Eisenstadt

One down, 207 to go.
You know the famous statement by pastor Martin Niemöller, who was imprisoned by the Nazis: “First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist,” and then after the Nazis came for the Trade Unionists, the Jews, and others on their list, they came for him, and “there was no one left to speak out on my behalf.”
Trump seems to have solved the Niemöller problem by going after all of his enemies simultaneously, like some reincarnation of Joe McCarthy, lying and confabulating at will about imagined threats, trying to frighten and intimidate those not immediately targeted into silence and a shamed acquiescence. (Roy Cohn, the consigliere to both McCarthy and the new president, is the obvious link between the two men.)

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The Power of Six Women Continued* By Deborah Kornfeld

Six women meet in Parshat Shemot and change the course of Jewish history. The first Torah portion of the book of Exodus introduces us to six “amizot”, six unique and brave women. Each woman in her own way takes a critical part in the grand saga of the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.

We start the book of Exodus with the challenge of historical memory. “A new king, who did not know Joseph, came into power over Egypt. He announced to his people “The Israelites are becoming too numerous and strong for us.”(Exodus 1:9). He outlines a plan of oppression and infanticide to rectify this problem. He is thwarted in this endeavor by the first two women we meet in the parsha. Puah and Shifra, professional midwives who work in the Jewish quarter. Pharaoh commands these women to carry out his nefarious plan. They are charged with killing all male Hebrew children. They don’t do it. With the fear of the Almighty and with their own professional ethics, they stand up to authority and commit acts of civil disobedience. “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptians” replied the midwives to Pharaoh, “They know how to deliver. They can give birth before a midwife even gets to them”. (Exodus 1:19)

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