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JTNews | September 14, 2012 | High Holidays Edition

JTNews | September 14, 2012 | High Holidays Edition

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Published by Joel Magalnick
JTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington High Holidays issue - September 14, 2012
JTNews | The Voice of Jewish Washington High Holidays issue - September 14, 2012

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Published by: Joel Magalnick on Sep 13, 2012
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@jew_ish • @jewishcal
the voice of
connecting our local Jewish community
jews in sports history. really. page 43our new food columnist page 8
september 14, 2012
27 elul 5772
volume 88, no. 19
Wishing youa sweetNew Year
Joel Magalnick 
JTn .
friday, sepTember 14, 2012
 Your Community
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For more information, contact Michael Wardlow,michaelw@jewishinseattle.org, 206.443.5400.
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Thank You to Our
as of September 10th
American Jewish CommitteeCamp Solomon SchechterCongregation Beth ShalomCongregation Bikur Cholim-Machzikay HadathCongregation Tikvah ChadashahFriendship CircleHadassahHerzl-Ner TamidHillel UWJewish Day SchoolJewish Family ServiceKline GallandLivnot ProjectNorthwest Yeshiva High SchoolPJ LibrarySamis FoundationSeattle Hebrew AcademySeattle Jewish Community SchoolSephardic Adventure CampSephardic Bikur HolimStroum JewishCommunity CenterTemple Beth AmTemple B’nai TorahTemple De Hirsch SinaiURJ Camp KalsmanWashington State HolocaustEducation Resource CenterWashington State JewishHistorical Society
 Ahadnjad’s nhancdtacy st b chand
Lawrence Grossman
JTa World nws Srv
NEW YORK (JA) — When worldleaders converge on New York this month,Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadine- jad will again be present. Te occasion isthe opening o the United Nations Gen-eral Assembly session. Tis time, though,Ahmadinejad comes with enhanced diplo-matic credentials. He is no longer just heado Iran; he also chairs the 120-memberstrong Non-Aligned Movement.Countries in the Non-Aligned Move-ment constitute nearly two-thirds o theU.N. membership. Te last time they gath-ered was in ehran in late August or themovement’s summit. It wasn’t just lower-level diplomats who were present but also24 presidents, three kings, eight vice presi-dents and 50 oreign ministers. Tey unan-imously endorsed Iranian policies, many o which are acts o deance against inter-national norms.One would have togo back to the 1936Nazi Olympics to nda more blatant inter-national whitewasho a rogue regime.Adol Hitler by thenhad ruled Germany or three years. Publicly committed tooverturning the results o World War I,making Germany the supreme power inEurope and combating what it deemedthe menace o world Jewry, his regimehad outlawed dissent; imprisoned, tor-tured and killed thousands o politi-cal opponents; begun a rearmamentprogram; occupied the Rhineland in viola-tion o treaty obligations; and enacted theNuremberg Laws depriving Jews o citi-zenship. Nevertheless, no nation boycot-ted the Berlin Olympics, and Hitler usedthe spectacle to cement his internationallegitimacy.Fast orward to the present. Iran’sleadership, intent on becoming the lead-ing regional power, has denied the Holo-caust and publicly committed itsel to wipeIsrael o the map. It has outlawed dissent;imprisoned, tortured and killed politicalopponents, religious minorities and gays;and is developing the capacity to producenuclear weapons in deance o the UnitedNations and in the teeth o economicsanctions leveled by the United States, theEuropean Union and others. Tis record iscrystal clear. Yet, no Non-Aligned Move-ment member boycotted the ehransummit, which the Iranian leadership usedto cement its international legitimacy.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonparticipated, against the advice o many who elt that his presence would lendundue credibility to a regime that repeat-edly had demonstrated contempt or theworld body. o his credit, the secretary-general in his address criticized Iran orhuman-rights abuses and threats againstIsrael, and urged it to comply with U.N.resolutions. But his was a lone voice and itwas ignored.Te assembled delegates sat quietly asIranian speakers reiterated the old chargesagainst the United States and Israel. Andthe 120-member summit rubber-stampeda 680-point document that seems likely tosow the seeds o urther trouble.Tree points in the text are particularly menacing.First, Israel was condemned or itsnuclear program, whereas Iran’s nuclearprogram, alsely described as being orpeaceul uses only, was pronounced tobe ehran’s “inalienable right.” Tus ahealthy majority o U.N. General Assem-bly nations have undermined the sanc-tions regime backed by the U.N. Security Coun-cil and encouraged theIranian nuclear gambit,which the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency reports is close to rui-tion.Second, the summitcondemned terrorismbut declared that “thelegitimate struggle o peoples undercolonial or alien domination or oreignoccupation” was not terrorism. Tus, two-thirds o the General Assembly approvedo the Iranian-supported Hezbollah, sinceit is ostensibly aimed at the Israeli “occu-piers.”And third, Israeli occupation is iden-tied as the primary cause o the Arab-Israeli conict and ending it as the propermeans to secure peace in the region. Forgood measure, the document accusesIsrael o mass torture and o eorts toeradicate the historic Islamic heritage inJerusalem. Te Palestinian reusal to nego-tiate a two-state solution or to acknowl-edge the proound Jewish connection toJerusalem is absent.Non-Aligned Movement memberspledged support or renewed Palestinianeorts to secure U.N. recognition, a deci-sion that Palestinian Authority PresidentMahmoud Abbas immediately cited inannouncing his plans to demand upgradedU.N. status when he addresses the GeneralAssembly on Sept. 27.Iranian Supreme Leader AyatollahKhamenei called the ehran summit agreat success or Iran and a “humiliatingdeeat” or its enemies. He even describedthe event as a showcase demonstratingthe superiority o the Iranian system overWestern democracy. Tat’s eerily similarto what Hitler, Germany’s supreme leader,thought the Nazi Olympics achieved orhis regime in 1936. Te parallels are right-ening.Canada, a vibrant democracy and not
In our World News sectionat www.jtnews.net, inves-tigative journalist EdwinBlack shows how far Iranhas come in its nuclearweapons program.
the rabbi’s turn
friday, september 14, 2012 .
“Sometimes, when we have a plan and we want to change something, we think we have to have it all fgured out.”— Artist Wiebke Light on her year-long project o creating and sending a postcard a day to everyone she knows. See the story on page 9.
wRIte A LetteR tO tHe eDItOR: w ould lov o har from you! Our guid o riing a lr o h dior can b found a .jn.n/indx.php?/lr_guidlin.hml, bu pla limi your lr oapproximaly 350 ord. th dadlin for h nx iu i spmbr 18. Fuur dadlin may b found onlin.
What Rth’s arra can tach s abt r wn nns
rabbi racheL nussbaum
Th kv cooprtv
I returned recently rom awonderul summer in Israel,where I had the privilege o serving on the aculty or theBronman Youth Fellowshipsin Israel program. It was atotal treat to teach the groupo 26 ellows — high schoolseniors rom a wide rangeo Jewish backgrounds andcommunities across NorthAmerica.Each morning, the program began witha shiur, a orah study session, and aculty members were encouraged to pick a textthey loved to teach. I chose to do a closereading o the biblical Book o Ruth withthe ellows. Te themes that emerged romour conversations — including loss, inti-macy, and loyalty, to name but a ew — allelt incredibly relevant and contemporary.Returning to Seattle in this electionseason, I realized an even clearer applica-tion o this text: Reerendum 74, the voterreerendum in avor o marriage equal-ity. Te Book o Ruth and its interpretivetradition provide one o the clearest illus-trations o how the Jewish tradition hashistorically been willing to overlook oroverturn a scriptural injunction in orderto adjust to reect changing moral expec-tations and world views. I believe thattoday there is a clear parallel in the move-ment to grant legal recognition to same-sex unions.Ruth hersel is the quintessential out-sider-turned-insider. She begins her lieas a Moabite in the land o Moab but, ol-lowing the death o her Israelite husband,willingly chooses to align hersel with hermother-in-law Naomi, returning withNaomi to her ancestral land in Bethlehem.hroughout the remain-der o the book, Ruth is moreor less treated as a membero Naomi’s extended amily,yet her status is not 100 per-cent clear. Te text seems toassume that the orah’s com-mandments — including themitzvot o gleaning, redeem-ing property, and leviratemarriage (to the extent thatthey apply at all in this amily’ssituation) — apply to Ruth as they wouldto any Israelite. However, throughout thebook, Ruth continues to be reerred to as“Rut haMoaviyah,” “Ruth the Moabite.”Has Ruth become an insider, or does sheorever retain her outsider status?o see the insider-outsider tensioneven more clearly, it is helpul to read twotexts in juxtaposition with one another.We begin with the coda o the Book o Ruth, chapter 4, verses 18-22:
Tis is the line o Perez: Perez begot Hezron, Hezron begot Ram, Rambegot Amminadab, Amminadabbegot Nahshon, Nahshon begot Salmon, Salmon begot Boaz, Boaz begot Obed, Obed begot Jesse, and  Jesse begot David.
Although Ruth’s name doesn’t appearin this all-male genealogy, it is clear romthe context o the narrative that “Ruththe Moabite” (the wie o Boaz and themother o Obed) has really made it: Sheis the great-grandmother o King David!But how can this possibly be the case,given Deuteronomy’s attitude toward theMoabites, in chapter 23, verses 4-5?:
No Ammonite or Moabite shall beadmitted into the congregation o theLord; none o their descendants, evenin the tenth generation, shall ever beadmitted into the congregation o theLord, because they did not meet youwith ood and water on your journey afer you lef Egypt…
Reading the Deuteronomy text, itseems almost impossible that the Book o Ruth can end on such a positive note,given Ruth’s Moabite origins. However,the interpretive rabbinic tradition con-siders Ruth the rst convert to Judaism,with numerous midrashim emphasizingher inner qualities such as modesty andloyalty and generally casting her in a very positive light.At the end o the day, Ruth’s Moabiteorigins never totally disappear rom thenarrative, and yet she seems to be ully accepted as an Israelite. As I said above,this tension and resolution is one that Ibelieve has a parallel in our own day andage; this all, in particular, I can’t help butread this text in light o the campaign orLGBQ inclusion in our American society and, more specically, or marriage equal-ity in the State o Washington.Many o the opponents to Reeren-dum 74 claim to speak in the name o religion, using a verse rom Leviticusto demonstrate that the Bible does notaccept homosexuality. However, as theRuth case reminds us, our textual tradi-tion is not monolithic, and the weight o our religious texts and traditions can alsobe brought to bear to support precisely theopposite conclusion. In the case o mar-riage equality, it is easy to think o numer-ous relevant Jewish values: Tat all humanbeings are created b’tzelem elohim (inGod’s image), v’ahavta l’re’acha kamocha(the commandment to love your neighboras yoursel), the principle o k’vod ha-bri-yot (human dignity), and the calls or us toempathize with society’s underdogs basedon the principle that we were once strang-ers in the land o Egypt.Te Ruth example provides us with amodel or how we can approach our owncontemporary version o this question o boundaries and inclusion vs. exclusion.Just as the Ruth text and subsequent rab-binic interpretations seem to outweighthe punitive attitude o the Deuteronomy  verses, I believe that the weight o ourJewish traditions and values around inter-personal relationships — which empha-size principles like inclusion, humility,dignity, and equality — can and should beheard over a single verse rom Leviticus.I am proud that the Seattle Jewish com-munity has largely banded together insupport o marriage equality and Reer-endum 74, but there is still a tremendousamount o work to be done between now and Election Day in November. As wehead into this High Holiday season, I hopethat we will have the opportunity to reecton and be inspired by our own tradition.Te challenges o creating and main-taining a pluralistic and open Jewish com-munity are very real; our Jewish texts havebequeathed to us a complicated and oencontradictory set o traditions and guide-lines. It is my hope that we will learn romthe way that “Ruth the Moabite” has cometo take her place in our canon, in the gene-alogy o King David, and in the line point-ing us toward redemption.In this election season, may Jews romacross the widest possible spectrum o ourcommunity take the lead in ensuring thatour American society can oer the possi-bility or nding sanctity in heterosexualand homosexual unions alike.a Non-Aligned Movement member, hassevered diplomatic ties with ehran. Itsoreign minister described Iran unam-biguously as “the most signicant threatto global peace and security in the worldtoday.”As Iran moves closer to a nuclearbomb, suppresses democracy and con-tinues to threaten Israel, much dependson whether the international commu-nity, set to gather this month at the UnitedNations, remains in thrall to the move-ment’s approach or emulates Canadiancourage.
Lawrence Grossman is the American JewishCommittee’s director of publications.
Our High Holiday plea
As we begin our new year and reect on the one drawing to a close, we oen use this as a time to think about how we canbetter support our Jewish community. One way to support your community, and at the same time help to sustain the resourcethat lets you know what’s happening in your community, is by making a donation to JNews. Your donation, whether it’s $36,$100, $500 or $1,000, though not tax deductible, will help us improve upon everything we do, in the name o better inormingand educating you. We will thank all o our donors on our honorary masthead this coming October.Simply visit the “Subscribe” page at www.jtnews.net or contact Becky at 206-774-2238 to make your gi.Tank you, and shana tova rom all o us at JNews.
 Joel Magalnick, Editor and Acting Publisher 

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