Your Temple Sinai Window to Israeli Culture, Politics, Life, Religion and More!
“Advocating for Israel in a Changing World”
Zack Bodner, Regional Director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
Sunday, March 18, 1:00pm – 2:30pm at Temple Sinai
Mr. Bodner will speak about the most recent events in Washington D.C. and throughout the Middle East that impact Israel’s security. Those who attend will have a chance to ask Mr. Bodner questions and learn more. RSVP. encouraged. Contact Janet Taksa at (510) 526-7559.
The New War Against Israel
A panel discussion held at Temple Sinai on 2/27/11
Sponsored by the Temple Sinai Israel Education Committee and the Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay
Our panel, moderated by Rabbi Steven Chester, was comprised of Riva Gambert, Director of the Israel Center at the Jewish Federation (JFED), Julie Bernstein, Director of Campus and Community programs at the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and Sheida Neman, a UC Berkeley student previously working at the nonprofit World Alliance for Israel, who is active at Hillel and on the Israel Action Committee.
While preparing this program, several questions were to be addressed. Why is the movement to boycott Israeli products and divest economic ties with Israel taking hold on campuses, in city councils and board rooms? Why is Israel demonized beyond the level of criticism customary for the rest of the world? Why is there a double standard?
During his introductory remarks Rabbi Chester commented that Rabbis ofen are afraid to speak on the topic of Israel because of ideological rifts in their congregations. Fortunately, Temple Sinai has been able to have civil discussions on the topic. Nevertheless, we do live in the East Bay where there can be the type of frightening spectacles of the UC Berkeley Student Senate debates about divestment from Israel. Stepping back from the heat of the Boycott/Divestement/Sanctions (BDS) movement, one needs to look at the reality of Israel amidst the recent events in Egypt. Israel is a stable democracy in which there can be peaceful transitions of government.
Riva Gambert began with the late 19th Century view of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, who predicted that creation of an independent sovereign state for the Jewish people, eventually Israel, would lead to the decline or disappearance of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately, this has proved to be wrong. What we see today on an enhanced scale as accusations mount against Israel is really a continuation of anti-Israel rhetoric which began in the 1950s, particularly in the Soviet Union, as an attempt to bring the Arab world closer to the Soviet axis.
This Anti-Israel campaign began in the early 1960s before the 6 day War in 1967, subsequent tragic events, 2 intifadas, terrorism and the need for national self-defense. Related trends in the public domain have tried to portray Israel as an imperialist state like the U.S.A. This has exacted a terrific price of alienation by worsening the prospects for peace in the region. It is important to look at the impact of this evolution of Anti-Semitism to this new prejudice on students, people who set the agenda of American and world politics, the U.N. and the Middle East peace process.
Riva felt she expressed the views of the other panelists in believing that constructive criticism of Israel, in the hope of solving societal inequities and regional conflicts, is appropriate when proportionate even if painful. However, the Anti-Zionism which has resulted from media presentations is over the top, hyperbolic, obsessive and defamatory. It incorporates anti-Semitic tropes, medieval superstitious imagery as well as Nazi and Soviet propaganda. [Continued on our page "Upcoming, Current and Previous Events". Click here to read the rest of this report and to see a bibliography of publications related to the topic.]
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom
Proposing Pathways to Peace: Three Perspectives
Some 70 people attended the Israel Education Committee's March 2010 "peace roundtable" and heard a lively and thought-provoking discussion from three speakers who expounded on their three different perspectives for peace between Israel and her neighbors. Rabbi Chester moderated and started the afternoon by asking the following questions:
1. What does peace mean?
2. What has prevented progress in achieving peace?
3. What is needed to move towards peace?
· To bring our congregation closer to Israel.
· To establish a presence within our community and show the community-at-large that we are connected to Israel.
· To understand the complexities of Israeli politics, government and religious movements.
· To advocate for the progressive/reform movement and social justice issues in Israel.
By engaging Temple Sinai congregants in discussion, education, raising awareness, supporting and celebrating Israel.
Have a question about the committee? Contact the Chair: Valerie Sopher