Sunday, March 3, 2024

In This Moment: Will There Be A Ceasefire and Hostage Exchange? And if not, whose fault is it?; Women's History Month at TBE


In This Moment

Will There Be A Ceasefire and Hostage Exchange?

And if not, whose fault is it?

Those are the questions being asked today. The US and others have placed the blame squarely on Hamas for this delay. But some within Israel are claiming that PM Netanyahu is deliberately adding new conditions, which are only adding to the risk for those hostages who are still alive. Whatever everyone's motives are, heavy fighting has been reported, as Israel knows that time is fast running out to accomplish its war objectives. And Israelis are beginning to doubt that winning this war is possible.

A poll released today by channel 13 in Israel yields some interesting results: Marc Schulman reports:

When asked about their stance on a compulsory draft of the ultra-Orthodox, 67% of respondents said “Yes;” while only 21% answered “No.” Regarding the primary reason for Netanyahu prolonging the war, 53% of respondents are convinced it is to maintain power, whereas 35% believe it is to achieve total victory.

The bill to draft Ultra Orthodox could bring down the government when a renewal deadline is reached at the end of this month.

See the Tweet below for a clear, balanced perspective. And just below, a quote from David Grossman's must-read op-ed from today's NYT, "Israel is Falling into an Abyss."

The profound despair felt by most Israelis after the massacre might be the result of the Jewish condition into which we have once again been thrown. It is the condition of a persecuted, unprotected nation. A nation that, despite its enormous accomplishments in so many realms, is still, deep down inside, a nation of refugees, permeated with the prospect of being uprooted even after almost 76 years of sovereignty. Today it is clearer than ever that we will always have to stand guard over this penetrable, fragile home. What has also been clarified is how deeply rooted the hatred of this nation is.

Another thought follows, about these two tortured peoples: The trauma of becoming refugees is fundamental and primal for both Israelis and Palestinians, and yet neither side is capable of viewing the other’s tragedy with a shred of understanding — not to mention compassion.

Jewish Joke Night Follow-Up

And a Vision for Beth El

Last Friday's Jewish Joke Night was, um, memorable. The music was incredible and the joke session was filled with surprises (you'll just have to ask someone who was there). Given that it was my final J.J.N., I thought I'd share some of my favorite Jewish jokes from that night (including the winner), along with some other old favorites from past Jewish Joke Nights. You can find them here.

Also, another of the winning jokes, according to our three judges, was brought to us by Scott Sekuler. It's also one my all time favorites. You can here me recounting it in my Kol Nidre Sermon from 2008, about 17 minutes into the audio. And while you are at it, why not give a listen to the whole sermon. The topic is authenticity, a favorite theme of mine. And there is a Purim - Yom Kippur connection drawn in the sermon, as relates to the topic:

With so many people passing themselves as something they aren’t, we now can understand why Yom Kip-purim, which literally can be translated as “a day like Purim,” is considered the antidote to that holiday that seems its polar opposite. On Purim we put on masks. On Yom Kippur, we take them off.

And if you're nostalgic for old High Holidays sermons

- and who wouldn't be! - you can go right back to the first sermon cycle I shared as senior rabbi, in 1992, entitled, "A Vision for Beth El". It's both jarring and reassuring to read those words now, calling out to us from over three decades ago. Here are some excerpts:

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, and given our year-long look-back at my time at TBE, this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss a historic moment that we experienced here, the decision to be so inclusive of women that we didn't limit that inclusivity to living ones. We chose to include the Matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Lean, in the chanting of the Amidah. That decision was forged collectively and it took several years to gain consensus. But gain it we did, in the mid 1990's, when decisions like this were still controversial. In 2007, as part of our Synaplex programming, I collected some of the key source materials and discussed how the decision came about. You can read those source materials here, and at services this coming Shabbat morning, hear about what this historic moment meant for TBE.

Recommended Reading

Tomorrow's Front Pages

If Mpnday's front pages haven't been uploaded yet,

try clicking the same link later this evening.


The Jerusalem Post

Yediot Achronot

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