friday, november 2, 2012 .
“This was the kind of book that was ‘parve.’ You could learn your science and still appreciate being a Jew.”— Stroum lecturer Professor David Ruderman, on the best-selling book “Sefer HaBrit.” See the story on page 6.
tHE rabbI’S turn
Rabbi Chaim levine
hop for hroim
What is it about hero-ism that moves us so much?Why is it that when we wit-ness human beings puttingtheir lives on the line to helpanother we eel so inspiredthat we tell their stories longaer they are gone? We writebooks about them, and memo-rialize them in lm. Why?Tere is no way seless-ness, heroism, and sacriicecould bring us to tears i it wasn’t connectedto something at the very core o who each o us is and why we are on this earth. When wesee another person going beyond himsel, itawakens our own dormant hero. Tat partwithin us rejoices in the purity o giving toanother without any thought o personalgain or recognition.I am blessed beyond what I can expresswith being surrounded by those peoplein the Jewish nation who were in circum-stances where, without exaggeration, thiskind o pure heroic giving took place every day. I’m talking o course about the injuredhayalim — soldiers — I have met throughmy involvement in Hope or Heroism. Irealized recently, however, that there arethose among the Jewish people whose hero-ism and selessness is no less great than ourinjured soldiers, albeit largely unrecognized.In 2006 Captain Roi Klein was involvedin one o the most brutal battles in thesecond Lebanon war against Hezbollahterrorists. Roi and his soldiers were caughtin a terrible ambush in the village o Bing-bel. Space in this article does not allow meto go into detail o the battle, but o thedozens o grenades thrown by the terror-ists at Roi and his soldiers, one suddenly landed right in the midst o them. Imagineor just a second that you were there. Inthat terrible moment, what happens next?Without hesitation Roi did what he elthe must do to take care o hissoldiers. He leapt on the gre-nade in an attempt to protecttheir lives.wo o the soldiers whowere near him at that momenttold me that as Roi landedon the grenade, he said the“Shema Yisrael” prayer, withthe ervor and passion “they write about in the books o the Prophets.” Roi remainedalive or a ew seconds aer the blast. Heinstructed his soldiers to radio what hadhappened to their commanders and thenpassed rom this earth, leaving behind hiswie and two children.In Israel, ater Roi was buried, hischevruta (orah study partner) began towrite down all o the orah insights Roihad come up with while they were study-ing. He published them under the name“With All o Your Heart,” a line rom theShema prayer Roi recited beore he died. Ioen study this small book o writings onShabbat; it’s incredible.Aside rom all o Roi’s soldiers, thereare other heroes in this story, but I wantto ocus specically on his wie and hismother. Are they, and all the wives andmothers o these soldiers, not heroic andseless in ways we could never under-stand? Tey are giving their children andhusbands to Am Yisrael so the rest o usmay be sae. I don’t think I could possi-bly put into writing the level o daily sacri-ce they make or the rest o us. Te wivesand mothers o our injured soldiers are thesilent heroes o the Jewish nation. Teirlevel o giving can only be described as atthe level o “what they write about in thebooks o the Prophets.” Tey are the livingJewish heroes o today, and when Jewishhistory is written, their chapter will shineas brightly as any.
W w pd df m qt
I can remember the moment mar-riage equality became important to me.More than eight years ago I sat down witha member o our local clergy, David Ser-kin-Poole, a man who with his partnerMichael had adopted and raised threechildren with special needs. Why, I won-dered, was I allowed to marry the woman Iloved? I hadn’t done anything particularly special or important by the time I walkeddown the aisle, and I took that right orgranted. Yet here was someone who hasdone this much good — and continues todo good things or his congregation andhis community — and he doesn’t get thesame right to marry the man he loves?Since then, this newspaper hasexpressed support or marriage equality.With a measure on our ballots to upholdsame-sex marriage in Washington State, Iask today that you do the same and vote toapprove Re. 74.While I don’t mean to put the Serkin-Pooles on a pedestal — aer all, they dealwith the same ups and downs and mun-danities o lie as any other couple — itwas the opportunity to understand theirlives and the indignity o being deniedsomething as undamental as a marriagecerticate that made me understand how this amily was considered less than equalin the eyes o the law.As Jews, many o us have known whatit is like to be shut out o certain areas o society, whether it was in health clubs, col-leges, neighborhoods, or, as we rememberar too well, civilization as a whole. Many o us cite past discrimination as a reasonto prevent it urther today.When we wrote an editorial in 2009in support o Reerendum 71, which gavesame-sex couples “everything but mar-riage,” we said this:
It’s an issue of fairness. As Jews,whether it’s because we have experi-enced unequal rights so many timesin the past, or because we live in thebelief of loving thy neighbor as thy-self, it should be of utmost impor-tance to ensure that our neighbors,our coworkers, our fellow synagoguemembers have the same rights aseveryone else.
Tat holds true today. We said at thesame time that the issue then wasn’t aboutmarriage, but about those rights that mar-ried couples oen take or granted. Whathas become clear is that “everything butmarriage” is not enough. Tere are stilltimes when a couple during a crisis mustpull out a card proving a domestic part-nership. Tat partnership is recognizedhere, but not necessarily everywhere else.And is anyone renting a tux and book-ing a DJ aer heading down to Olympiato pick up a domestic partnership regis-tration card?Opponents o this measure say Re. 74redenes marriage. Tis law would rede-ne
can get married, but or those o you married already, I have one simplequestion: How does it redene your mar-riage?Tink about that. For two people wholove each other to be able to walk downthe aisle and stand in ront o a rabbi anddeclare to their community that they are joined in marriage both beore God andbeore the state is a very powerul thing.How can we justiy that such a rightshouldn’t be available to everyone?What’s interesting is how the marriageissue transcends party lines. Accordingto a poll released earlier this year by thePublic Religion Research Institute, ully 81 percent o Jews support same-sex mar-riage. aking a closer look, o the peoplewho identied as Democrat, 89 percentapproved o marriage equality. hat’smost, but not all. Fully hal o Jews whoconsider themselves Republican — 48percent, plus the margin o error — alsoapprove. Te study also noted the trend o support is heading in one direction: Up.We are well aware that not everyoneagrees or will agree on this issue. Tat’sokay. Passage o the reerendum doesn’tmean the conversation has to stop, and thelaw is explicit in stating that clergy whodo not wish to perorm such marriagescannot be obliged to do so.Many halachic Jews, those who livestrictly by the laws set orth by the orah,see the idea o two men or two womengetting married as a problem due to theprohibition o them lying together. Butmarriage is about ar more than consum-mation. We all know this — it’s aboutteamwork, it’s getting through the nightwhen a partner is sick, it’s watching Vtogether, it’s getting the kids to school ontime. It’s loving your neighbor as you loveyoursel.As a newspaper that serves our entireJewish community, we must welcome inas much o our community as we can,regardless o anyone’s place on the spec-trum o observance.Over the last couple decades, moreand more synagogues and Jewish agen-cies have become welcome homes to gay,lesbian and transgender Jews. A coalitiono 28 Jewish organizations across the stateare leading the charge to approve Re. 74because they too see the need to seek jus-tice or everyone who comes through theirdoors. We are proud to be a part o thatcoalition.So please vote to approve Re. 74. Youcan do it or Cantor Serkin-Poole. Or yourneighbor. Or your sister. All things beingequal, we all should be equal.that risk rises to 10 percent or those whohave a “rst-degree” relative with the dis-ease, such as a parent or sibling. A second-degree relative with the disease also hasan elevated risk; a person with an identi-cal twin has between a 40 and 65 percentchance o succumbing to schizophrenia.Using behavioral, neurophysiological,and unctional brain imaging approaches,Heresco-Levy said that his studies duringthe last 20 years clearly show there is“severe sensory dysunction in schizo-phrenia.”He believes that limiting the onset andthe severity o symptoms is, at this time, oneo the only ways doctors can aect the pro-gression o schizophrenia, but noted thatthis approach may set the stage or urthertreatment options or other conditions.“We recently perormed clinical trialsthat ound evidence that glutamatergicdrugs can help not only schizophrenia butalso depression, Post-raumatic StressDisorder, and Parkinson’s disease,” addedHeresco-Levy. “Yet these possible treat-ments are not established and certainly not in the health und basket. It is researchor the uture.”
Longtime JTNews correspondent and freelance journalist Janis Siegel has covered international health research for SELF magazine and campaigns for Fred HutchinsonCancer Research Center.
israel: To your healThPage 2