What If Israel Were a Jewish State? (Jerusalem Post)

Atzum4The negotiations with the Palestinians appear hopelessly stuck. No great surprise there, of course.

I happen to agree with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state – which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says is out of the question – matters. It would be the first indication from the Palestinians that Jews are not interlopers in the Middle East, that our national aspirations here are legitimate. If the Palestinians cannot call us a Jewish state, they have no intention of ending the conflict. So why pretend we have a deal when we don’t? And without recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, what moral basis could there

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Universal Jewish Service: An Idea for the New Year

Mormon2I was at a simcha in the States recently – one of those wonderful, lavish but deeply tasteful events, with hundreds of committed Jews, many religious and many not, celebrating in the best of ways. It was so pretty, so joyous, so elegant, that I picked up my phone to take a picture for my kids. As I held up the phone and pointed it, though, it pinged.

Before I could even focus on taking the photo, an alert on the screen blurted: “Israeli soldier killed on northern border by shots fired from Lebanon.”

Stunned, I simply sat down. I was stunned not by the fact that such things happen in Israel, because

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Zionism, Between the Real and the Ideal

shavit3It’s in that painful gap between the real and the ideal that life is truly lived. In our marriages, in our relationships with our children and our parents, the chasm between being the people we are and the people we would like to be plays host to life’s most painful – but also most productive – moments. It is when great expectation confronts disappointment, when love is hamstrung by betrayal and yearning, that we learn that real commitment is tested in the crucible of heartache, in the desperate wish that things had been different, or still could be.
Zionism is actually no different. For those of us raised on stories of

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A Requiem for Peoplehood?

Nov. 26, 2009

DANIEL GORDIS , THE JERUSALEM POST

‘It never even occurred to me that the Jews were a people.” I had just finished speaking on Shabbat morning at a traditional shul on Long Island. The talk had been about the nation-state and its roots in the Book of Genesis. Along the way, I’d made some comments about the changing nature of American Jewish life today, and the much-reduced role that peoplehood now plays in American Jews’ sense of self.TheSecret

After services, someone told me that members of the liberal synagogue across the street had come to hear the talk. Ouch. I’d been rather direct about the

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Loyalty Cuts Both Ways

In Perspective: Loyalty cuts both ways

Mar. 26, 2009
Daniel Gordis , THE JERUSALEM POST

It’s not every day that your 15-year-old son decides that he wants to hang out with you, so when he makes the offer, you grab it. Amazingly, he suggested that we go to the Biblical Zoo. Not having been there since he was very young, I was happy to oblige.
Toward the end of our few hours there, we happened upon a relatively new exhibit, the collared peccary. With no offense intended, it’s neither especially attractive nor, to my untrained eye, a particularly interesting animal.

But this is Israel, and even the collared peccary was cause for pause. For on this sign, unlike any of the others in

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Museum of the Extinct Race

I didn’t want to go to Theresienstadt, I told my wife. We would have only a few days in Prague and, for once, I wanted to walk the streets and see the museums without that seemingly inevitable dose of Jewish death that every visit to Europe seems to mandate. To my amazement, she agreed. We’d obviously see the Jewish Quarter, with its famous cemetery, the Alt-Neu Shul and more, but we could let Theresienstadt pass this time.

Yet, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Mine started unraveling on Tisha Be’av. For years, we’ve been hearing the Book of Lamentations in our local synagogue. This year, though, we finally decided to join

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For These I Weep

I didn’t want to go to Theresienstadt, I told my wife. We would have only a few days in Prague, and for once, I wanted to walk the streets and see the museums without that seemingly inevitable dose of Jewish death that every visit to Europe seems to mandate. To my amazement, she agreed. We’d obviously see the Jewish quarter, with its famous cemetery, the Alt-Neu Shul and more, but we could let Theresienstadt pass this time.

Yet, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Mine started unraveling on Tisha B’Av. For years, we’ve been hearing Eichah, the Book of Lamentations, in our local synagogue. This year, though, we finally decided to join our

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