Congratulations to the Hartford JCRC for allowing the myriad of Jewish voices to be heard.
I believe that if history is a guide, the greatest danger to Judaism and the Jewish people is sinat chinam, “gratuitous hatred.” When the Jewish people are most under siege, fighting among ourselves, an unwillingness to listen to each other and, instead, to make accusations about each other’s loyalty, will, as the rabbis declared in the Talmud, be the real reason for our defeat. Intramural bickering, the Talmud warns, was the cause of Jerusalem’s destruction, not the Romans!
And when in 70 CE, Yochanan ben Zakkai, leader of the “rabbinic” community, wanted to save Judaism in the face of impending disaster, he turned to his political enemy, the rebellious young zealot leader who helped him to escape the beseiged Jerusalem. This would lead to the founding of the academy in Yavneh and insure Judaism’s survival. For millenia, communicating, even among rivals, proved to be redemptive.
When we attack each other, condemn ideas in the vain belief that our way is the only way to preserve Judaism and the Jewish State, we risk irreparably dividing our community at a time when we must hold together. This is just such a time.
Indeed there are enough enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. We don’t need to create more by reading each other out of the peoplehood of Israel. Casting aspersion on our fellow Jews, preventing them from being heard because they may differ on how best to bring security and peace is surely not the way.
Rabbi Herbert N. Brockman, Ph.D., D.D.
Congregation Mishkan Israel
I’m writing to express my support for the Hartford JCRC’s co-sponsorship of the June 13th event with JStreet entitled “Ensuring Israel’s Security By Achieving Peace: A Conversation with Colette Avital.”
Rather than discussing the content of the event JStreet is cosponsoring with the JCRC, a Ledger editorial on June 9, attacks JStreet, an organization whose mission is to achieve a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. I am sure that I am far from alone in the opinion that a two-state solution is in the interest of preserving the security and the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel.
Recent events in the Middle East, including the Arab Spring and the announcement of a September vote at the UN on Palestinian statehood, raise important questions about the future of a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Recently in my own congregation, we held a dialogue and discussion about these very questions. We Jews come from many perspectives on these questions. What we share is the search for information and insight.
The JStreet event gives our Jewish community an opportunity to hear an important voice, that of Colette Avital, a former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and former Israeli Consul to New England, speak to questions that are on all of our minds.
According to the event publicity, she is speaking on the “urgency of a two-state solution to secure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic homeland” and is planning on addressing questions such as: “How do the dynamics of the Arab Spring affect Israel’s prospects for peace and security?” and “What should leaders do in advance of a likely September vote at the UN on Palestinian statehood?”
In this time of uncertainty and anxiety about the future of our beloved Jewish state, this is a welcome opportunity to hear from an experienced Israeli leader and to form our own opinions in response. Kudos to the Hartford JCRC for co-sponsoring this event.
Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek