Thursday, August 25, 2022

In This Moment: The Munich Massacre, 50 years Later; Elul Reflections

In This Moment

Last Friday's Barbecue and Borechu brought about 200 of us together for a perfect summer's Shabbat evening. Click here to watch a video of the service.

Meanwhile, Yaffa and Pinchas Gross celebrated their daughter's wedding this week in En Hemed, a gorgeous national park in the Jerusalem hills. Mazal tov to their family!

Dear Rabbi,

We had the most wonderful wedding of Michelle and Yoav 😍. We had over 400 guests, participating in a magical chuppah, followed by enthusiastic Jewish music and dancing of all 400 participants. We also arranged two days of guided tours in Jerusalem, before and after the wedding, for our guests who came from abroad, and these three days were just unforgettable.

Love. Yaffa and Pinchas 

Munich Plus 50

Shabbat Shalom.

Join us for services this Shabbat as we end August and begin Elul - and start the home stretch toward the High Holidays.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Munich Olympic Massacre over the coming days, there will be many reminiscences and retrospectives. The anniversary is mired in controversy, as victims' family members are threatening to boycott over the lack of support they've received and the lack of protection for the athletes. The Bavarian authorities have only now made public their files as to what exactly happened on that fateful day. And now, fifty years later, we ask what lessons can be learned, what has changed and what hasn't? For Israel, the biggest lessons involved deterrence and self sufficiency. Never count on someone else to protect you, and make sure that those who wish you harm know that there will be a steep price to pay. The perpetrators of the Munich massacre found that out first hand, and that doctrine is now playing itself out in the multi-front war between Israel and Iran.

While Israel is undeniably stronger than it was back in 1972 - and strategically less isolated - the Jewish people have never really gotten over Munich. The symbolism of how it happened (with the entire world watching), when it happened (during the Olympics, when countries trust that their athletes will be protected) and where it happened (Germany, less than a generation after the Shoah), has led to a deep frustration with the hypocrisy of a world so quick to point fingers at the victim.

Chronology of terrorist attacks in Israel, introduction

Part 1: 1948-1967

Part 2: 1968-1977

Part 3: 1978-1985

Part 4: 1986-1992

Part 5: 1993-1995

Part 6: 1996-2000

Part 7: 2001

Part 8: 2002

Part 9: 2003-2004

Part 10: 2005-2007

Part 11: 2008-2013

Part 12: 2014

Part 13: 2015

Part 14: 2016

Part 15: 2017-2020

Part 16: 2021

Source: UN Watch Database (click to see this chart enlarged)

Elul Soul Searching: Sorting Out Our Priorities

1) The month of Elul begins this weekend.

What is essential about being Jewish for you?

What is the most essential part? 

Do you agree with the results of this recent Pew survey?

2) As we focus on refining our human frailties during this month of soul searching, Maimonides calls on us to choose the path of moderation. Click for his Laws of Personality Development (Hilchot Deot) from his law code, the Mishneh Torah. Move next to Maimonides' Laws of Repentance (Teshuvah)perfect for this time of year. Here are annotated excerpts, from Deot and from the laws of Teshuvah. Take a look at these valuable resources; one focuses on action and the other on character...which raises the question:  Is Judaism primarily a value system based on deeds or character? Or does one necessarily lead to the other?  If so, which comes first?

Recommended Reading

  • Dana Bash says her new CNN special on antisemitism is ‘one of the most important things I’ve ever done’ (JTA) - The topic is a personal one for Bash, in more ways than one. To accompany the special, she authored an essay on CNN’s website in which she discusses her own recent apprehension when her preteen son asked her if he could wear a Star of David necklace in public. Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy on antisemitism, is interviewed in the special, and also discusses why she wears a Star of David as she works. “My young son showing the world that he is Jewish made me nervous,” Bash admits in the essay, because “I knew that antisemitism is on the rise in America.” But, she later concludes after working on the special, “It turns out that normalizing the practice of and pride in Judaism is one of the antidotes to prejudice — something that my young son understood innately.”

  • 125 Years of Zionism (World Zionist Organization Gala Event) On August the 29th 1897, the First Zionist Congress was convened by Theodor Herzl to deliberate the founding of a Jewish state and the creation of the World Zionist Organization, an institution that would pave the way for the establishment of the State of Israel.This year marks the 125th anniversary of this historic date and we would be honored to invite you to celebrate and join think tank sessions in a series of events in Basel, Switzerland, where Herzl's vision first came to life and where we will be gathered to honor the past and discuss the future.
Temple Beth El
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