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September 7, 2018

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PAGE 4A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 7, 2018 By Avl Weiss tion of the Chief Rabbinate, which follows rigid that all of humanity regardless of religion or democracy that happens to be in the Middle Orthodox practices. I, too, an Orthodox rabbi, race is sacred and every human is created in East. It is a unique Jewish democracy--with (JTA)--The High Holidays are approaching, have felt the sting of the Chief Rabbinate. Let- the image of God. all its beauty and complexity. It is a time when Jews worldwide join together ters I've written attesting to the Jewishness For me, a strong sense of Jewish identity And no democracy faces the existential inthe spirit of camaraderie, pouring out their of longtime congregants of my synagogue in does not contradict universal consciousness challenges that Israel does. Despite threats hearts for a good new year. New York, where I have served for 45 years, but is a prerequisite to it. on each of its borders, and even from within, But the lead-up this year has been differ- have been denied. I have little doubt that the architects of this Israel tries to do all it can to adhere to demo- ent, often pitting Jews against Jews in bitter Detractors, too, must take into account new law believe that it does not discriminate cratic principles. It's difficult to imagine that controversy Rosh Hashanah 5779 arrives questions raised by the law's supporters, againstArabs.Theywouldinsistthatequality other nations facing similar threats would with the passage of legislation declaring that Too many Israeli Supreme Court decisions for all is legislated in other Basic Laws that do the same. IsraelisaJewishstatewiththerightofJewish have alienated many Jews living in Israel. would fulty protect Arabs and other non-Jews This Rosh Hashanah, supporters and self-determination. Supportersanddetractors While all communities ideally should be open living in Israel. detractors should remember that there is a have been characterizing each other using to everyone, the Israeli Supreme Court has But with nationalism on the rise both in short but clear pause between the sounds of inappropriate, explosive language. On one allowed Arab communities to exclude Jews the U.S. and around the globe, the timing of the shofar. The pause may be understood as side, too many have called the law's supporters while forcing Jewish communities to include this new law is suspect. And it very well may giving participants time to listen and incor- "racist'; on the other, too many have called its Arabs.Additionally, because ofthe importance be that politicians are using the law to gain porate each individual note's meaning into detractors "anti-Zionist." offreespeech, somerhetoricbyArabmembers political points, our hearts and souls. Such language must stop. It fans the flames of the Israeli parliament that has bordered on Because of these concerns, I, a strong sup- This, I believe, is our mandate, our "tzav ofconflict, potentiallyleadingtohatred--even treasonoushasbeenpermittedontheKnesset porter of Jewish settlements, believe that the hasha'ah." Rather than the two sides in this violence. While a word is aword and a deed is a floor. This has outraged some Israeli Jews. new law should be amended to include a simple debate demonizing the other, each must listen deed, words lead to deeds.As the rabbis declare, I have long felt that the founders of the but important phrase from Israel's Declaration to the other. Each much see the other as an ally wise people must be careful with language, state should have been more decisive and of Independence:"[Israel]will ensure complete in the common goal of strengthening Israel as Rather than call the other names, each side named the country the Jewish State of Israel equality of social and political rights to all it was originally created to be: a Jewish state should listen to the other's concerns, allowing in 1948, proclaiming its Jewish identity from its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race with inextricably built-in democratic values them to influence their own thoughts. Listen- the outset. Among other matters, this would or sex." I suggest this addition because these of individual equality for all of its citizens. ing is at the core of Rosh Hashanah's shofar have clearly declared "Hatikvah" as Israel's na- rights are absolutely central Jewish values. Avi Weiss is the founding rabbi of the ritual.Theritualisnotonlyaboutsoundingthe tionalanthem, Hebrewasitsofficiallanguage, Suchanamendmentwouldwinoversupport Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Bronx, N.Y shofar, but, as its preamble blessing proclaims, the Israeli flag as its national banner and the of many of the law's original naysayers, and founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and listening ("lishmoah") to its sound. Law of Return as applying exclusively to Jews. Truth be told, supporters and detractors Yeshivat Maharat rabbinical schools. He is Supporters ought listen to issues raised by I support the nation-state law, even as I of the new law have more in common than a co-founder of the International Rabbinic detractors. Specifically, with the one-state insist that all citizens of Israel be treated not. Too many are politicizing the issue and Fellowship and longtime Jewish activist for solution gaining traction among Israel's Jews, equally. I believe strongly in reaching out to painting their opponents as extremists. The Israel andhuman rights. The viewsexpressed willArab citizensbe deniedan equalvote?And, our Arab brothers and sisters, and so I visited center, including supporters and detractors in this article are his own. it must be added, does a Jewish state mean a the mosque in Yasuf that was desecrated in of the law, recognize that Israel is a hybrid: a The views and opinions expressed in this theocraticstatewhereJewishreligiouslawwill 2009andreachedouttothefatherofMoham- Jewish democratic state, article are those of the author and do not be imposed against the will of many? med Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian teenager Therearemanydemocraciesintheworld.No necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its par- Recent events have increased these fears. A who was murdered in 2014 after three Jewish twoarethesame.lsraelisnotsimplyaWestern entcompany, 70 Faces Media. Conservative rabbiwas picked up by police for boys were kidnapped and murdered. I have performing a marriage outside ofthejurisdic- reached out because of my passionate belief By Ben Cohen government-backed A1 Jazeera website. "[T] o be honest I assumed that the issue of anti- (JNS)--In all the furor around the anti- Semitis~mwas something that was exclusively Semitism plaguing the British Labour Party, associattedwith the far-right," confessed Steven I've noticed two distinct forms of defense of Fielding, a professor of politics at the Uni- both the party and its far-left leader, Jeremy versity of Nottingham. He continued: "What Corbyn. has surprised me is the alacrity with which The first defense, favored by those for whom supporters ofJeremy Corbyn--and sometimes Corbyn is a Socialist equivalent ofL. Ron Hub- veryclose and prominent supporters of Jeremy bard, is to dismiss any and all accusations of Corbyn--have been guilty of, atbest, indulging anti-Semitism as a "hoax" or "smear" aimed in unconsciously anti-Semitic tropes." solely at destroying their leader's prospects of That theme was taken up in a longer article becoming Britain's next prime minister. The by Ian Almond, who teaches at Georgetown second, which may be wrong-headed but is at University's campus in Qatar. Briefly recount- least grounded in intellectual sincerity, is that ing his childhood in England, Almond recalled there is indeed a problem inside the Labour his shock "when, at the age of 12, my teacher Party, but that including anti-Zionism among told me the word 'joo' I had just spoken, which the examples of contemporary anti-Semitism I had thought to mean to lie or cheat, was ac- only makes the problem worse, tually'Jew' and was anti-Semitic." He went on Numerous examples of both of these de- to assert that "anti-Semitism is so entrenched fenses have appeared in the last week. To take in our society, so depressingly persistent, that an instance of the first, according to veteran to trivialize it is to trivialize the blueprint of pro-Palestinian commentator David Hearst prejudice itself. It is a barometer of moral in Middle East Eye, the definition of anti- cowardice:whensomeonedoesn'twanttotake Semitism drawn up by International Holocaust responsibility for their own faults or problems, RemembranceAlliance (IHRA)--the source of they blame the Jews." the current Labour row--is actually a "weap- Nothing to disagree with there, as Almond on" intended to"terrify all politicians from clearly grasps the critical role that anti- having any contactwith Palestinian organiza- Semitismhas played historically. The problem tions." Because Corbyn has shown principled is that his understanding is restricted to the resistance to the depiction of anti-Zionism as appearance of anti-Semitism in its vulgar, a mutation of anti-Semitism, Hearst argued, crude form only: ugly myths about Jews and the hostile reaction of the British press leaves the Transatlantic slave trade, say, or Internet only the question of "how much dirtier the tiradesabout"theRothschilds"andother"Jew- campaign to unseat Jeremy Corbyn as leader ishbankers."Itdoesnotoccurtohimthatwhat of the Labour Party is going to get." is sold under the label of "criticism of Israel" Instances of the more nuanced approach appeared, ironically enough, on the Qatari Cohen on page 21A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE 1SSN 0199-0721 Winner of 46 Press Awards FLORIDA EWISH NEWS HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, Inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite I01, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor News Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer Christine DeSouza Society Editor Office Manager Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Account Executives Kim Fischer Marci Gaeser Contributing Columnists Jim Shipley Mel Peaflman David Bornstein * Ed Ziegler Production Department David Lehman,Gil Dombrosky Joyce Gore To forgive or not to forgive? That is the question! By Mel Pearlman In a previous Everywhere column, "Love is not the antidote to hate," (Heritage Florida Jewish News, Aug. 17, 2018), I suggested that respect for one another was the only effective antidote to hate. Now, as we approach the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time of self-reflection in our relationship with the Divine, we will also likely hear from the pulpit of many synagogues, the need to reflect on our many personal relationships, on our general behavior, and how well we treated those with whom we have interacted within the past year. As we seek forgiveness via prayer, repen- tance and charity for our heavenly transgres- sions, we are also urged to seek forgiveness from those we have mistreated or hurt, and in turn to forgive those who have behaved badly toward us. A good start then would begin by reintro- ducing the practice of respecting one another despite our different views, and forgiving those with whom we had issues during this past year. Respect for one another may even make the path to forgiveness less treacherous. In the final analysis the decisions we make about forgiveness will be unique to each of us, but there is no reason not to make mutual respect the underlying basis for all our actions. In that light, I would begin by asking for- giveness from those readers of my columnwho were personally offended or hurt by the con- tents of any of my columns this past year, and by forgiving those who may have denigrated me personally for the views expressed in my writings rather than respectfully expressing an alternative view. While respect for others is always appropri- ate, there are some views, matters and conduct that are so egregious as to be unforgivable. Despite the legitimacy of the Women's Move- ment for equality in all aspects of American life, I find myself unable to forgive those progres- sive Jews who in January marched with the anti-Semites and anti-Zionists (redundancy?) in Washington, D.C.; nor will I forgive the Jew-haters who proclaimed that feminism is incompatible with Zionism. As a supporter of equal rights for the LBGTQ community, I will not forgive those members in that community who condemn Israel, which is the only nation in the Middle East where LBGTQ individuals can live openly without fear, are respected, and enjoy equal protection of the law. I also find myself, in this time of forgiveness, unable to forgive those Jews who opposed the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. While criticism of Israeli government and U.S. policies that effect Israel is perfectly legiti- mate, I do not forgive those who reside outside Israel who seek to impose policy changes by coercive methods, because they cannot effect change in Israel by the legitimate use of the Israeli ballot box. Those who threaten to withhold donations to Israel's social and medical NGOs, or wage economic war on Israel through the BDS to delegitimize the Jewish state, and organiza- tions like Students for Justice in Palestine who physically intimidate Jewish students and suppress free speech, or actively support indirect funding of terrorism against Jews and Israelis, are not only not forgiven, but must be continuously condemned and actively opposed. As the new year unfolds, we should keep in mind Israel's security needs and pray for a year of peace, prosperity, health, and good fortune for both America and Israel. As Jewish Americans we should give particu- lar thanks that we are doubly blessed by G-d's Covenant with the Jewish people and by the protective embrace of the U.S. Constitution. La Shana Tovah! In you wish to comment or respond to any of the contents herein you can reach me at Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner. If you wish to respond by ranting and raving, please go into your bathroom, lock the door and shout your brains out. Mel Pearlman has been practicing law in Central Florida for the past 45 years. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; on the District VIIMental Health Board, as Special Prosecutor for the City of Winter Park, Florida; and on the Board of Directors of the Central Florida Research and Development Authority. He was a charter member of the Board of Directors and served as the first Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as its first pro-bono legal counsel.