Tuesday, October 31, 2023

In This Moment: Can there be moral clarity when a refugee camp is struck?


In This Moment

Above, from Mark Schulman's Tel Aviv Diary

Can there be moral clarity

when a refugee camp is struck?

On what planet are all these rocket attacks below directed at civilians a moral choice? Asking for a friend (Maps taken from The Economist).

Please share my Substack essay on moral clarity, above. This an issue that only became more complicated today, with the targeting of Hamas leadership in a crowded refugee camp. So can there be moral clarity when a refugee camp is struck?

Here's how I approach today's tragic events:

  • It is tragic that innocent lives have been lost
  • It is infuriating that innocent lives were lost.
  • I will grieve those losses - as I believe all Jews should grieve the loss of innocent life wherever that occurs. Each life is a universe. Each person was created in the image of God.
  • I want Israel to take all precautions possible to preserve innocent life. In warning the population of the area repeatedly to leave northern Gaza, Israel has gone part way to doing that. Going further would mean engaging western allies to facilitate this evacuation to a safe zone in southern Gaza. I think Israel should do that and the US and UN should help. That should already be happening, and I think it is. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
  • The use of innocent civilians - and hostages - as human shields is as despicable a war crime as there is. The world should never accept this, even though it has become standard practice among terror groups. Hamas is responsible for every death that results from this crime.
  • And that's why when protesters hold up photos of Palestinian children, we should say, "WE AGREE! THIS IS HORRIBLE! IF ONLY THEY WEREN'T BEING LED TO THE SLAUGHTER BY THEIR CAPTORS!"
  • As for the doctrine of proportionality, I quote from Leslie Wexner's article on the topic: So when asking about the overall proportionality of Israel’s response (as opposed to the proportionality of discrete uses of force such as bombing an apartment building), one should not rely on an apples-to-apples comparison of civilian casualties on each side, but rather whether Israel’s response is using necessary or excessive force to eliminate the danger that Hamas has and continues to present. So the legal question (as opposed to a political or moral one) is whether the amount of force used exceeds the need to eliminate the ongoing threat of Hamas.

As I wrote in my most recent posting:

Moral clarity regarding Oct. 7 does not require blinders on other issues - including a genuine compassion for the plight of innocent Palestinians. A Jew should never wear moral blinders, especially at times of war. The Torah is clear about that. We can defend Israel and stand up against Islamophobia and push for better red flag laws for guns; we can shed tears at Joe Biden’s moral courage and fight campus antisemitism on the left - AND chew gum, all at the same time.

So let me say this clearly, keeping in mind that Israel lost soldiers today.


All that said, Israel has a moral obligation to win this war decisively and to exact the highest possible price on Hamas. While many innocents will die in this process, including Israeli soldiers, the blood of those killed on October 7, who were given no warning to leave town, who were tortured and their bodies mutilated, we know that over the long haul, only a decisive defeat of this enemy will save a much larger number of innocent people from dying later on - years from now, decades from now.

But Israel must achieve this decisive victory with a purity of arms, something in which the IDF has long prided itself; but now there has to be even more discipline, a greater focus. If they slip, and we know that will happen, it can't be for lack of trying. And when that happens, there needs to be transparency and accountability, as there has always been in the past. Israel's most unfortunate mistakes always led to serious accountability - Sabra and Shatila in '82 and the '73 Yom Kippur War being the most vivid examples. \

And for all its failings, the IDF must keep trying to do it right.

That approach allows us to maintain moral clarity - and it will allow Israel to stand on the right side of history.

These are dark times, and today's death toll was something we should never accept, never ignore and never rationalize. We must remind ourselves of the sanctity of all life and the holiness of this cause.

The prophet Isaiah said:

We the Jewish people chose to have a Jewish state, knowing that the odds of her survival were not great from the start. We knew it would involve great sacrifice - just as fasting involves sacrifice. But the sacrifice is pointless without a higher, universal goall, which in the case of Israel, was to create a light unto the nations, along with a safe haven for the lost, persecuted and homeless. Israel was born to be on the right side of history.

What is the right side of history? We invented it when we crossed the Red Sea, marched through the Wilderness and parked at a rest stop at Mount Sinai. The right side of history loves the stranger. The right side of history is eight lanes apart from playing the victim and has no exit marked “fear.” It knows that it will have to fight some times and that their hands won't be immaculate, but despite that, it is the side that does not allow discrimination and hatred to rule. I want the Jewish people to be what we’ve always been, the vanguards of justice and compassion

After this war, the right side of history is where we need to be.

Nelson Mandela wrote:

Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death,

Let's keep our eyes on that prize. If we can strengthen Israel as a bastion of democracy and stability in the Middle East, she will be a light unto her neighbors. And if we can help to instill her with the Jewish values of kindness and compassion that have sustained our people for thousands of years, then she will be a light unto the world.

And that can only happen if Israel wins this war decisively. Even after today - especially after today - there is no more moral choice than victory.

Antisemitism Everywhere

...And on Campus

Tweet du Jour

I've been hearing from so many congregants about what has been happening at Cornell, Columbia, GW, and other campuses and schools, even here in Stamford. It is a scary time, very upsetting. One of our college parents wrote to the head of their child's school and offered to share with me the letter, while maintaining the anonymity of the student. It is below. I'd like to thank the person who shared this with me. I'll continue to use this space as a sounding board so we can share ideas and so that we - and our children - will never feel alone. And as I've stated several times, I stand ready to speak with any of our students who may want some advice or solace, whether individually or as part of a group. For those who are dealing with this on campus, also feel free to send my things you've written, describing what's happening and how you and others are dealing with it. Now is not the time to hide our mezuzahs - but we need strategies to overcome the fear, and eliminate the very real dangers.

My name is ____. My son/daughter ___ attends ___. In addition to our heartbreak at the horrific attacks of October 7, we have watched with increasing alarm and fury at the blatant anti-Semitism that has spread across campus and at the inability of the administration of ___ to not only take an unequivocal stand against anti-Semitism but to utterly fail to foster an environment where students feel completely safe. The broader ____ community would not hesitate to condemn racism, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia (and that’s as it should be). But hate speech and activity directed at Jews? Not so much. 
Though the statements coming from the ___ administration did condemn the atrocities, it still reeked of both-sides-ism. Why is it so difficult to simply call out anti-Semitism without a qualifier? To be clear, there is no Jewish equivalent to chants like “intifada” and “from the river to the sea”. Jewish community groups, on campus and beyond, and rabbis are not calling for the removal or expulsion of Palestinians from their lands. And in fact, we as Jews are by and large cognizant of and sympathetic to Palestinian suffering. 
Let me be even more clear: slogans like “intifada” and “from the river to the sea” are menacing, are calls to violence, and fall under the umbrella of hate speech. Further, making a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-semitism is a shibboleth…it shows a complete lack of understanding of the Zionist movement, and is essentially a dog whistle that gives cover to individuals who want to voice their anti-Jewish animus. If campus administration cannot grasp any of this, then there indeed is a problem, and more to the point, one cannot be confident that Jewish students can learn in safety and free from threat. I don’t doubt that Islamophobia exists. But to draw an equivalency is deeply disingenuous. And when a group of faculty members can craft a letter that leaves no room to see the full contours of Jewish suffering, and that perversely characterizes October 7 as a “military action” then it is clear that the problem runs deep. 
Let me also say this: if you have students who are shouting “from the river to the sea” and “intifada”, and who are posting hateful rhetoric on social media or worse (eg, ripping up posters of kidnapped children), they should not be free from consequences. In my line of work, if anyone was found to be engaging in the kinds of speech and social media posts for which academia these days is all too ready to make excuses, they would be fired on the spot. I am confident of that. And it bears repeating: “from the river to the sea” and “intifada” are indeed calls for violence against Jews. To the extent that someone is engaged in hateful or threatening speech against Arabs and Muslims, I have no doubt that in my line of work, the consequences would be the same. 
My son/daughter is resilient, and I’m immensely proud of her/him. He/she has handled herself with more poise and grace than some of the supposed adults in the room. To have worked exceedingly hard so my child could have these wonderful opportunities, only for him/her to be thrust into a maelstrom like this, is devastating. I cannot speak for other kids who are trafficking in hate. They are lost. But they are not to be coddled. For the significant majority of students who are decent and want simply to learn, ____ needs to do right by them. 
I hope my message does not fall on deaf ears. More to the point, I welcome a dialogue with the administration. I realize all too well that many people are dug into their views. That’s fine. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. At a minimum, however, I as a parent want my child to feel safe and free from poisonous, hateful speech and activity. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me to discuss further. Again, I welcome a respectful dialogue.

Wednesday's Israel Headlines

The Jerusalem Post

Yediot Achronot

Recommended Reading

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Sunday, October 29, 2023

In This Moment: What is Moral Clarity and How Do You Get There?


In This Moment

Here's one more musical moment from recent days:

The Israel Opera's heartbreaking version of "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.

What Moral Clarity Is - And Isn't

An open letter went around this week from a progressive rabbinic group that I have long supported. I often sign their petitions, including ones both strongly critical and strongly supportive of the Israeli government. Hundreds - literally hundreds - of respected rabbinic and cantorial colleagues signed on to this letter. l decided not to sign. It was a lonely feeling to stay on the sidelines.

Nothing there was in itself objectionable to me, but the sum of parts did not do justice to the enormity and uniqueness of what happened on Oct 7. Right now, it is crucial to maintain moral clarity, which demands that the genocidal crimes of Oct 7 receive three paragraphs of attention for every sentence devoted to other concerns. It's like how President Biden warned of the potential for angry overreach by Israel and called on them to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza; those warnings came only in the midst of a 15,000 mile, week-long bear hug and a long speech filled with unconditional love.

For Biden, and for us, moral clarity means three paragraphs of empathy for every sentence of critique. For the letter to have passed my muster, there would have needed to be three paragraphs about October 7 for each sentence dealing with Israeli provocations or potential provocations. That was not the case.

Moral clarity, a term made popular in conservative circles, gained a bipartisan flavor when it came from the mouth of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she won her race in 2018.  “I think what we’ve seen is that working-class Americans want a clear champion,” she said, “and there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.” 

The New York Times put it this way at the time:

Moral clarity is long defined by usage as a capacity to make firm, unflinching distinctions between evil and good, and to take action based on those distinctions. These are fighting words: They mean knowing the enemy, which is the first step to taking up arms against the enemy. But they’re potentially applicable to any side of a fight. What adrenaline does for the body, moral clarity does for semantics: It generates a surge of willpower, serving as a prelude to — and maybe a pretext for — combat.

For me, moral clarity does not come in a rush, like adrenaline, and is not designed to prepare the field for battle and enemy for dehumanization. Moral clarity needs to be borne of intellectual clarity, not a war footing. While it often will involve an enemy - as it does with Hamas - the case against that group need to be intellectually self evident, so clear as to be beyond reasonable doubt.

When looking at that clergy letter, I didn't feel, for instance, that an equivalence should be drawn between what Hamas did on October 7 and what some far-right Israelis have been doing on the West Bank. Moral clarity demands that a clear distinction be drawn, so that no one would suspect that a false equivalence is being made. Yes it should be noted, and not go unnoticed, that there has been a marked increase in violence toward Palestinians, notably in the South Hebron Hills, at a time when everyone's attention has been directed toward Gaza. (See this Time Magazine story: Settler Violence in the West Bank Undermines Israel’s Security). But the three paragraph rule has to hold.

Moral clarity regarding Oct. 7 does not require blinders on other issues - including a genuine compassion for the plight of innocent Palestinians. A Jew should never wear moral blinders, especially at times of war. The Torah is clear about thatWe can defend Israel and stand up against Islamophobia and push for better red flag laws for guns; we can shed tears at Joe Biden’s moral courage and fight campus antisemitism on the left - AND chew gum, all at the same time.

There have been attacks on Jews in many places this week, including rioting in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, where mobs roamed through the airport looking for arriving Israelis. David Horovitz today wrote a column entitled, Shock at the October 7 catastrophe gives way to horror and fury at global immorality, where he states:

A rising global effort propelled by Israel-haters and antisemites, assisted by falsehoods and misrepresentations everywhere from TikTok to supposedly responsible media, and inflated by fools, to try to halt our military response, or limit and undermine it. Basically, to tell us that what happened on October 7, if it happened, was terrible, but we need to get over it. Subverting “Never Again,” and telling us instead, well, yes, Almost Certainly Again.

It's infuriating. But fury doesn't help us to communicate moral clarity and remind people, again and again, about what happened on October 7. We need to methodically ritualize it, to show the videos and text messages, play those final phone messages, pray at the vigils, call out the names of the hostages. We need to maintain our focus on addressing the horrible things that happened so that the hostages may return safely and those living in Israel's southern communities can rebuild their lives in safety and peace. That is why this war is being fought. Everything else is secondary. The fury is not helpful.

I think I'll pass on the adrenaline.

Moral clarity needs to be focused, empathetic, measured and nimble, able to address multiple injustices simultaneously and distinguish between those that are more chronic and a "once in a thousand year storm."

At the same time, let me tell you what moral clarity is nottribal. Your "team" is due some extra consideration when individual lives are at stake, but we can't allow tribal affiliations to cloud our judgment, even when it seems like everyone else is piling onto the bandwagon of peoplehood. There are reasons why degrading or ending Hamas rule is a moral choice, but none of them is because they picked on our people. Had they pulled an October 7 on Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or Armenians, the evil would be just as morally clear, the act equally repugnant, and the obligation to defeat them equally compelling. Which is also why we can't have a ceasefire right now.

As David Wolpe wrote in the current issue of Sapir:

...The rabbis say that one who is kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind (Tanhuma, Parshat Metzora). They remind us that allowing cruel people to pursue their designs in this world will ultimately lead to innocents running, terrified and helpless, as evil men shoot them in the back, kill their children, and rape the women. It will lead to October 7. The great philosopher Maimonides, having fled from Almohad persecution in Spain in the 12th century, put it more comprehensively. “Compassion toward the wicked,” he said, “is cruelty toward all beings.” (Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, Part 3, Chapter 39)

So moral clarity is a product of the reasoning mind, not unbridled passions. We need to present ourselves with an array of options and constantly challenge and update our choices. A socratic dialogue must constantly be going on in our minds, and if the result comes out more Churchill than Tevye, we know that the case for clarity is compelling.

It has never been more compelling in my lifetime, and arguably since World War Two, than it is now.

I present a variety of opinions in these newsletters. It doesn’t mean that I agree with them all. On the contrary, some of them pose rigorous challenges to my way of thinking. While I often quote from columnists and pundits who tend to be doctrinaire and unyielding, if their motives are transparent and arguments reasonable, I'll hear them out. I want to gather as much information as I could, as any thinking person (or media company) should do before coming to a conclusion.

And so, as best I can summarize it, that's what it means to speak with moral clarity as we engage in dialogue our neighbors, our families, and ourselves. We don't need talking points, all we need is truth.

We need to be prepared to make the morally-clear case for removing Hamas from power. They have ceded their right to run a country.

The front page of Yediot on Monday discloses a document that proves that the Prime Minister was duly warned (even as he has tried to cast blame on others) as early as 2016. It states, "Postponing the decision to carry out a surprise attack on Gaza would be a serious mistake with far-reaching consequences, in some ways more so than the Yom Kippur War. Hamas intends to move the next conflict to Israeli territory while occupying an Israeli settlement (and perhaps even several settlements) and taking hostages."

Monday's Israel Headlines

The Jerusalem Post

Ha'aretz (English)

Yediot Achronot

Recommended Reading

  • The End of Allyship - To be a good ally you’re supposed to vocally affirm and support those you have allied with and to do so in the terms that they understand to be affirming and supportive. You don’t get to tell them the language you use; they get to tell you. You also don’t get to question whether they are legitimate representatives of the group in question. Nor is it acceptable to be silent, because silence at a time when support is demanded is practically the definition of bad allyship. The old ActUp slogan declared that Silence = Death, and during the George Floyd protests I saw many signs declaring that Silence = Violence. You have to speak, and you have to speak the language you are told to say. But it is transparently impossible to be allied in that sense with both Israelis and Palestinians, both Jews and Arabs. In a very literal sense, if you want to be a good ally of one side in the terms described, you need to adopt and use language that will be widely-perceived by the other side as marking you as an enemy.

Ok then; perhaps it’s impossible to be a good ally to everyone. If you’re comfortable saying “Israel is a colonialist oppressor practicing apartheid therefore ordinary Jews who sympathize with Israel are my enemies” or “Hamas is a religious fascist organization therefore Arabs or Muslims who empathize with Gazans are my enemies” then you are fine. You’ve chosen which side you are on, like a good ally should. The accumulation of enemies can be clarifying, I’m sure—a relief, in its way, that you don’t have to be conflicted or confused. But apart from the fact that this is, generally, a terrible way either to do politics or to make friends and influence people, it makes it impossible for purportedly liberal institutions—which are routinely asked to act as allies—to function.

  • Israel—and America—Have No Choice but to Act (The Free Press) A ground operation in Gaza will likely lead to a Third Lebanon War. Israel will truly find itself “fighting for the homeland,” in the parlance of Israeli commentators. Victory would bring security, at least for a time. But it would come at an enormous human and political cost. A more optimistic view is that with unequivocal and effective support from the United States, Israel may find a way to take advantage of Iranian hubris—Tehran’s growing belief in Israel’s imminent defeat. Iran could end up sending its prized proxies into battle, only to have them crippled by a concerted American and Israeli response. Severing the tentacles of the Islamic Republic’s “octopus” would not only allow Israel to come out stronger, but would go some way toward winning back the long-lost confidence of America’s regional partners, particularly in the Gulf. The problem for Israel is that, unlike chess, this is a multiplayer game. And the main player on Israel’s side, the United States, does not yet appreciate that it too is under zugzwang. Israel and America have to act. And they have to act together. The alternative is victory not only for Hamas, not only for Iran, but also for the new Axis the Western world confronts.

  • The DEI Complex Will Never Protect Jews (Tablet) - Young Jews have never felt more alone on American campuses as they have during these past two weeks. Classmates and soon-to-be-former friends have rallied in large numbers to celebrate the burning and torture of 1,400 Israelis. Professors have announced their glee at the redemptive spilling of settler blood. University administrators who treat every scratch of racist graffiti as a kind of communitywide soul-murder have discovered a newfound sense of nuance when faced with the 21st century’s worst butchery of Jews.
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Saturday, October 28, 2023

In This Moment: The Ground War Begins..on Shabbat; The Day the Music Died (and the month it came back)


In This Moment

Shavua Tov - It was a Shabbat filled with significance. Click to see photos, video and the dvar Torah of our Bat Mitzvah, Eliana Nadel. Above: Sen. Blumenthal, speaking at our service last night, co-sponsored by AJC. Find the service archived at https://www.tbe.org/tbe-live/.

Below: Click to watch this running loop featuring the names of those who perished in Hamas's terror attack on southern Israel, from Israeli TV.

The Ground War Begins..on Shabbat

I am not surprised that Israel chose to begin its ground attack on the Sabbath. While some might consider it bad luck, or even a sin, a war such as this one can - and must - be fought on Shabbat. It was also one of the few ways Israel could use the element of surprise, since the "devout" Hamas brass would think that Jews wouldn't dare risk angering Adonai by fighting on Shabbat. Fighting on Shabbat is what israel's enemies do when they want to pull a surprise attack, which is what happened on Oct 7.

In the second century BCE, Seleucid armies adopted the strategy of attacking Jewish renegades on Shabbat. The Jews offered little resistance and were slaughtered. In 1 Maccabees, the Hasmonean patriarch Mattathias rejected that blind piety, stating, "If anyone comes against us on the Sabbath day, we shall fight against him and not all die as our brothers did in their hiding places."

The Talmudic sages taught that one who is vigilant in saving a life on Shabbat is praiseworthy. The Talmud presents several scenarios involving permissible Sabbath violations to save a life including rescuing a child from a pit or saving someone drowning in the sea. The rabbis applied the principles of Pikuach Nefesh both to saving the lives of Jews and gentiles and also made it clear that the risk of death did not need to be certain or immediate. (See this parsha packet on Pikuach Nefesh)

By any definition, rescuing hostages, one of the prime goals of the invasion, justifies fighting on Shabbat.


Here is the Ha'aretz summary of today's happenings:

■ Israel’s military operation in Gaza has entered a "new phase," says Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, amid reports of a far more significant Israeli incursion into Gaza involving infantry, armor, engineering and artillery forces in cooperation with the air force. IDF Chief of Staff Herzl Halevi reiterated that the objectives of the war require a ground operation in Gaza. “To expose the enemy, to destroy it, there is no choice but to enter forcefully into their territory,” he said. Israel says it assassinated Hamas' naval and air force commanders overnight Friday.

■ Amid an almost complete internet and cellular blackout in Gaza, heads of major international aid organizations, media outlets and charities said they’d lost contact with their local representatives.

■ U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, speaking with his Israeli counterpart, emphasized the “importance of protecting civilians” during IDF operations and and on the “urgency of humanitarian aid delivery for civilians in Gaza," according to a Pentagon statement.

■ The U.S. has deployed its second aircraft carrier strike group, the USS Eisenhower, in the Mediterranean, further bolstering its military presence amid concerns of an escalating conflict with Iran and Hezbollah.

■ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the families of Israelis held hostage by Hamas since October 7. Netanyahu told the families that he’s “not sure people understand how” the effort to return the hostages “is conducted and in what scope, including instructions to the forces in the field and in very broad, global, and local contexts - and it continues all the time."

■ A Hamas spokesperson claimed that the organization was about to reach an agreement with Israel over the hostages held in Gaza, but that Israel had "stalled" on that possibility. He added that Hamas would only release all the hostages if Israel freed all of its Palestinian security detainees.

■ Rocket barrages targeted northern and southern Israel throughout the day. IDF exchanged fire with Hezbollah fighters near the Lebanon border; a surface-to-air missile from Lebanon intercepted by Israeli air defense system.

■ The IDF’s spokesperson said Israel was “expanding the humanitarian effort” to bring water and medicine into Gaza, adding that Gazans who moved to the south “will receive assistance."

■ A Palestinian man was shot and killed by an Israeli settler in the West Bank on Saturday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry and Israeli military sources, as violence continued to soar in the area.

■ The Palestinian Authority’s health minister, Mai Alkaila, accused Israel "committing genocide in Gaza" and claimed that 7,300 Gazans have been killed so far, and 19,000 were wounded.

■ At least 29 journalists have died covering the Israel-Hamas war so far, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

■ Israel has ordered its diplomats to return from Turkey to Israel in response to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan repeating, in front of a mass pro-Palestinian rally, that Israel was an occupier but Hamas was not a terrorist organization.

■ In London, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched to demand the UK government call for a ceasefire. Meanwhile Egypt’s foreign ministry said “Israeli obstacles” are impeding the delivery of aid to Gaza.

The Day the Music Died

and the month it came back

Click to watch a telethon held a few days ago, called "We are here," a show of support for residents living on those communities devastated on October 7. The program raised over 8 million shekels and featured some of Israel's most famous musicians. There are no subtitles, but music is an international language and these songs are all pretty well known among Israelis - for good reason.


October 7 was literally the day the music died. Israelis love music and especially to sing together at festivals, so the fact that a music festival was a prime Hamas target was, in a sense, an attempt to kill music itself. Because of that, it is more important than ever to restore music to its rightful place in Israeli and Jewish culture. We have to keep on playing and singing.

Every war in Israel has had its signature songs. As the tanks rumble into the fray this night, it's still too early to know what tunes from this war will capture the hearts of a grieving nation. But already, musicians have been working overtime to lend comfort to troops and to those on the home front, and to raise money for victimized families. I'll share some of what has come out this far, in the hopes that it might restore music to our lives as well, and in the hopes that quiet and safety might soon return in a more permanent way for all those who live in the region, Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The Israel Philharmonic has been working overtime. Not only did they provide accompaniment for the telethon, but they performed a program of classical music before an empty hall (for security reasons) but which has been seen all over the world.

Against the backdrop of the Gaza war, Yuval Dayan released a new song titled "Keep Your Heart." Dayan shared that the song was born out of a meeting with a bereaved mother who requested a song capturing the situation and the power of togetherness. Dayan never considering releasing a new song right now. Instead, she found solace in connecting with fighters, wounded individuals, evacuees, and finding comfort in consoling those in mourning. Each encounter inspired her even more. (See 'Waiting for You at the End:' Yuval Dayan releases new Gaza war song - JPost). The song is below, and English lyrics below that:

If the light goes out between us, it will reignite in its place

If the sea becomes entangled between us,

We will navigate away and return in due time

Let the sadness peel away, aiding its passing

If you are unsure,

I will provide you with reasons, just take care of this heart

Remember the good because I promise to protect us,

I will not leave

Just trust this heart, focus on the girls because

I promise to safeguard us.

Israel specializes in songs to comfort and strengthen the spirit in troubled times. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a cottage industry. A nice collection of these songs has just been put together by an Israeli music site: See below:

The Maccabeats came up with this new version of the traditional prayer for Israel.

Here's Zamir's version of the Prayer for the IDF, performed several days ago. (Yes, that's Dan in the third row). And below that, David Burger's exquisite version of the Prayer for the State of Israel.

Last week, Israel's top satire show, Eretz Nehderet, returned to the air. Remember how SNL returned after 9/11 (seeing Mayor Giuliani in the opening is a little freaky)? Well, this was similar, with a song led my Shlomo Artzi.

David Broza did a full concert at B'nai Jeshurun in NYC lsat week. The concert begins about 30 minutes into the video, and you'll find Yihye Tov where it belongs, as the finale.

Sunday's Israel Headlines

The Jerusalem Post

Ha'aretz (English)

Yediot Achronot

Recommended Reading

Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, Connecticut 06902
203-322-6901 | www.tbe.org
A Conservative, Inclusive, Spiritual Community