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Wednesday Wisdom & Wit

07/26/2023 02:14:42 PM


Rabbi Daniel Sherman

There is lots on my mind as the month of July will soon be coming to an end. It has been wonderful hosting our Summer Union Shabbat Services and leading services with Cantor Rebecca Garfein. This week will be our last summer services at Temple Sinai. For August, services will shift down the avenue to Touro Synagogue.

Reminder: this evening we will mark the beginning of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, with a special Wednesday Night Live discussion on the history, traditions and observances for Tisha B’Av. Everyone is invited to join us on Zoom this evening at 7:00pm.

First and foremost on my mind this week is the current political situation in Israel. I am saddened and worried by the actions of the government. On the other hand, I am encouraged by the massive protests that have taken place throughout Israel – as much of Israel is united on these complex issues.

I wanted to share with you the statement issued by the Reform Movement this week. We will discuss the current situation more at Shabbat Services this week and next month in an additional WNL discussion.


July 24, 2023

Today is a sad day for Israel’s democracy. The passage of the amendment removing the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to overrule decisions and appointments of Israel’s Government using the legal standard of “reasonableness” will reduce the checks and balances placed on the government. This is the first significant step of the ruling coalition to move forward with their judicial overhaul and pass their radical legislative agenda.

The Reform Movement in North America vehemently condemns the strongarm tactics of the current coalition as they push through this divisive legislation which imperils Israel’s already-fragile democracy. This could have been a moment for Netanyahu to unite the nation and secure Israel’s standing in the world as a strong and leading democracy. Instead, the concerns of the majority of Israelis and Jews across the world, including the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have taken to the streets in recent days and the thousands who marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, have been ignored.

The upcoming holiday of Tishah B’Av, when the Jewish people mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, is widely recognized in our tradition as punishment for our ancestors’ internal intolerance and hatred. Seventy-five years after its creation, the modern Jewish state of Israel is being threatened by extremists, which we know from history can only bring calamity upon our people.

As the largest Movement in Jewish life outside of Israel, we remain committed to the State of Israel, its people, and the values outlined in its Declaration of Independence. We are deeply committed to strengthening the institutions of Israeli civil society, specifically the Israel

Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which is leading the fight to keep Israel a Jewish and democratic state. As MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv stated, “We lost this battle, but we will win in the end.” We call on the members and institutions of our Movement to lean in and support our partners in Israel, strengthening their resolve to preserve Israel’s democracy.

Thu, February 22 2024 13 Adar I 5784