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is the Voice o JewishWashington. Our mission is to meet the interests o our Jewish community through air and accurate coverage o local,national and international news, opinionand inormation. We seek to expose our readers to diverse viewpoints and vibrant debate on many ronts, including the newsand events in Israel. We strive to contribute tothe continued growth o our local Jewishcommunity as we carry out our mission.
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BoARD oF DiRECToRS
Sctt Mchelsn, Char*;
Robin Boehler; DonEdmond; Lisa Eggers; Cynthia Flash Hemphill*;Allen Israel*; Stan Mark; Daniel Mayer; CantorDavid Serkin-Poole*; Sandy Sidell
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toward establishing widely accepted out-comes, given that GPS conversions havebeen accepted across the ideologicalspectrum o Orthodoxy. Aside rom all o the benets to theconverts themselves, GPS thus contrib-utes to precious Jewish unity and coop-eration, among rabbis, laymen, and theircommunities.
Rabbi Moshe Kletenik is the president of the Rabbinical Council of America and rabbi of Bikur Cholim-Machzikay Hadathin Seattle. Rabbi Barry Freundel is thechairman of the GPS committee of theRabbinical Council of America.
Chai Center of Greater Seattle
Your list o wishes and hopes or thecoming year are probably exactly thesame as mine. No doubt high on thatlist are the important “big ones:” Peacein Israel and the world at large, nan-cial stability, saety in our communities,and health and happiness in our per-sonal lives.But security and stability are not allthat we wish or. It is only natural that weshould want to keep growing, advanc-ing beyond our current position. And so we also worry about such things as whichschool to choose or our children’s educa-tion and uture possibilities; who should we include in our own circle o riends;are we where we need to be at this pointand stage in lie; when will we have enoughto retire and nally relax, and so on.For me, the answer to these weighty questions is one word: Action. What are we actually doing today that will enablethat growth to happen? Are we maximiz-ing the possibilities o today? A ew days ago, I visited with Alex-ander, a 9-year-old patient at SeattleChildren’s Hospital. Unortunately, Alex-ander has many medical complicationsand is ghting with every ragile part o his body just to stay alive. I was there togive strength, love and support to himand to his amily. What actually hap-pened was just the opposite. Tis amaz-ing, precious child taught me a lesson o lie that I will never orget. Watching himght or every moment o living made meappreciate the immense git o lie givenby God to each o us.One o our great sages was RabbiDavid ben Solomon, known as Radvaz.He was one o those exiled rom Spainin 1492 during the period o the Span-ish Inquisition. Radvaz was asked theollowing question: A Jew had been cru-elly imprisoned by the local nobleman,and ater much pleading, the noblemanagreed to release him rom jail or oneday each year. Te Jew was now in a quan-dary. What day should he choose? Shouldhe ask or Yom Kippur, the holiest day o the year? Perhaps Passover should be theday, so that during the holiday o reedomhe could join with his amily and commu-nity? Or maybe it should be Hanukkah,the estival o lights?Radvaz responded that he shouldseize the irst possible opportunity toleave prison and engage in a mitzvah thatcould not be perormed in jail, because when one has that opportunity oneshould not put it o. Te most importantday o the year is
! We live or a purpose, and we are truly alive when we ulll that purpose. AsJews, we are summoned by God to be aholy nation, partnering with the Creatorto perect the world by doing one moremitzvah today than we did yesterday,because yesterday’s mitzvah was yester-day’s mission, but today brings newer andgreater abilities.By conducting ourselves with integ-rity and with graciousness, by bringingsensitivity to our relationships, by radi-ating beauty rom our homes, by using words to heal and not to hurt, every one o us can sanctiy God’s name in the world.In
Literature and Dogma
, the greatpoet and essayist Matthew Arnold writes:“As long as the world lasts, all who wantto make progress in righteousness willcome to Israel or inspiration, as to thepeople who have had the sense or righ-teousness most glowing and strongest.”Te almud tells us the story o how in the study hall there was a custom thatthe almudic sage would teach in a sottone, ater which one o his senior stu-dents would repeat those teachings tothe study hall in a louder voice. One day the wie o the translator met the wieo the sage Rabbi Abahu, and said, “My husband does not need your husband toprompt him with the discourses, becausehe is just as learned, and or the act thathe bends down to hear the whispered dis-course and then relays it to the audience,he merely does this or respect.”Rabbi Abahu’s wie complained toher husband, “You must re this ingrate,since he is not giving you the honor youdeserve. One day he will yet claim that all your teachings came rom him.”“What dierence does it make?” Rabbi Abahu replied. “Trough me and throughhim let the One Above be praised!” You see, the world is about action andabout getting the job done. Seldom in thepast have the opportunities been greateror the stakes so high. For the rst time inmany, many years we live in a ree soci-ety in which Jews have the opportunity to participate in all political, ethical andcultural processes. Tis is a time whenJudaic virtues are admired by non-Jews. We are praised or our strong community lie, the warmth o the Jewish amily, ourpassion or education, and our commit-ment to philanthropy. Tis means that we have the chance to be an outstand-ing voice in the moral conversations o mankind.God’s name becomes sanctied whenthose who claim to have a relationship with Him use their aith to inuence theirlives. Our great sage Rabbi Abahu, thegreat Radvaz, and brave little Alexandershow us that we too can live that way.Our resolution or the coming yearshould be to utilize every moment avail-able to us to live the ullest lie possible,by acting nobly and ethically, seizingevery mitzvah moment possible. In this way, we will bring honor to ourselves, tothe Jewish people, and to God.May we all be blessed with health, suc-cess and happiness!
Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky is host of Shmooze Radio and the Rabbi’s Messageon KKNW-AM 1150 and executivedirector of The Friendship Circle and theChai Center of Greater Seattle.
szg t mtzv ot!
What are we doing today to help us reach our goals in the uture?
I would like to correct two errors inLeyna Krow’s otherwise excellent reporton the Iran-Israel conerence I organizedat Town Hall on December 16 (“Iran,rom the let,” Dec. 25). First, there wereover 100 people in attendance, not 40 asKrow reported. Second, she misstated JStreet’s position on Iran sanctions. J Streetsupported the Berman sanctions bill. Butit continues to state that it preers theObama administration’s policy o diplo-matic engagement, while holding sanc-tions in abeyance as a last resort.I should state that I personally oppose J Street on this matter (while I supportmany o its other positions). But I wantedto make clear just what J Street’s positionis regarding sanctions.
As president o the board o Congrega-tion Beth Shalom, I was dismayed to seethe recent heading in the
“Meetthe Synagogue” (Special section, Dec. 25).Given the many choices o synagogues inSeattle, I wondered how the synagogueslisted were chosen. I assume that only syn-agogues with budgets to pay or advertis-ing were selected. In what way does thisrepresent meeting Seattle’s synagogues?It’s a shame that you missed an opportu-nity to introduce your readership to theplethora o exciting, vibrant and diversesynagogue communities in our relativelysmall Seattle Jewish community.
Susan Mnas,Presdent, Cngregatn Beth ShalmSeattle
hq tc Tr
Convicted Federation gunman Naveed Haq was scheduled to be sentenced Tursday, ater
went to press. Tough the proceed-ings were likely a ormality, Haq is expected to receive a mandatory lie sentence. A ull report can be ound online at www.jtnews.net.