friday, april 13, 2012 .
letters to the editor the rabbi’s turn
“It is shocking to me that anybody would ever feel so worthless and meaningless that their child, having been bullied to a point of suicide, wasn’t worthy of the world’s attention.”— Oz Fishman, BBYO’s international co-president, on the effects of extreme bullying. A story about what the Jewish community is doing about it appears on page 20.
WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We wold love to hear fro yo! Or ide to writi aletter to the editor ca be fod at www.jtew.et/idex.h?/letter_idelie.htl,bt leae liit yor letter to aroxiately 350 word. The deadlie for the ext ie iAril 17. Ftre deadlie ay be fod olie.
What happens at the seder(doesn’t) stay at the seder
Rabbi DaviD Fine
Unin fr Rfrm Judaism
Years ago I passed a sign-board whose message hasremained with me. “Reli-gion is what happens aer thesermon.” Simple and pow-erul.We are at the tail end o Passover. Te rituals o theseder are behind us — or arethey? I think the true impacto the seder is not on the oneor two nights it is observed, but rather asa booster or the entire year. ake thesedays, a halway point on the Jewish cal-endar to Rosh Hashanah, as a marker orwhat you want your year — or your lie tobe. Follow up on the message o Passover.A scan o just our Passover ingre-dients, elements o the seder — thoughthere are many more — will lead us in thisdirection.
he search orleaven — or that which pus up. Just asyeast le to sit and rise pus up bakedgoods, so too arrogance and pride caninate a person i ignored. At Passoverwe seek out the leaven in our homes asa way to create distinction. How healthy it is, spiritually and physically, to con-sciously rid ourselves o conceit. Passoveris an opportunity to look inward — intothe home o our souls —and to adjust ourown living.
Ha Lachma Aa
: Tis is poor peo-ple’s bread. We declare this at the rstappearance o matzoh at the seder. Whowould order an item made solely o ourand water at a estive meal? At Pass-over we identiy with those lacking oodchoices, who cannot choose what they will eat. How are we going to see to it thatothers have ood to eat? Do we contrib-ute to MAZON — A Jewish Response toHunger? Do we contribute to Leket Israel,which distributes 220 tons o ood a week to the hungry inIsrael? Do we work at a oodbank? Do we grow ood anddistribute to others?
: It would havebeen enough. his is ourpaean to reedom. We recountthe steps o liberation. Eachone would have satised us,so long as we would have leEgypt — Mitzrayim. In Hebrew the wordliterally means the most constricted o places. How are we ortiying others todepart their own internal or external mitz-rayim? Are we working collectively to endslavery, which still exists in Sudan, in thecocoa elds o Ivory Coast, or the broth-els o Cambodia and even in the streets o American cities? How are we partneringwith others to release economic shacklesand bring about justice?
: Blessing aer a ullmeal. Tis is intended to remind us toacknowledge the gis and blessings thatwe have, rather than ocusing on what welack. In a larger sense, it calls us to aware-ness and to express our appreciation —to the Divine and to each other. Seek outopportunities or expressing gratitude.Tis not only increases social capital, butmore important it changes our own inter-nal compass, directing us toward our gisand responsibility to others.Te almud teaches that one shouldonly pray in a room that has windows(Berachot 34b). One can read this as anadmonition to know what is happen-ing in this world even as one reaches outbeyond one’s sel. Passover is an extendedprayer. Keeps your eyes — and your mind— open. Celebrate Passover ully. May itlast guratively long aer your seder iscomplete.
ADDITIOns TO THE TImELInE
The article “A chronology of the cancelled invitations to gay and lesbian Israelis” (March30) left out important details. As one of the people who was present when the LGBT Com-mission made their decision to cancel the StandWithUs event and who later spoke at the City
Council hearing in favor of their decision, I would like to ll in some gaps in the JTNews story.At the Commission meeting on March 15, a group of LGBT Jewish and Palestinian activistsurged the commissioners to reconsider their decision. Several Jewish Voice for Peace activists,
myself included, explained that while we were not against hearing from individual LGBT Israe-lis, we could not support a tour backed by StandWithUs and the Israeli consulate.We explained that this event was part of a larger strategy of pinkwashing, the Islamopho-bic strategy of positioning Israel as an oasis of gay freedom in the Middle East surrounded by
uncivilized and homophobic Arabs, especially Palestinians.Two Palestinian LGBT activists described how pinkwashing affected them and their com
-munities. The commissioners were moved by their stories (at least two of the commissionerscried), and said that they hadn’t understood that holding this event would marginalize and
invisiblize LGBT Palestinians.Later, at the city council hearing, several Jewish and Palestinian activists spoke in favorof the cancellation, and Stefanie Fox, a Jewish Voice for Peace organizer (not Dean Spade asthe JTNews states), presented the letter of 3,500 signatures in support of the cancellation.Why did the JTNews interview only people who were against the cancellation (Rob Jacobs,the regional director of StandWithUs and Zach Carstensen from the Jewish Federation)? Amore balanced article would have included interviews with the Jewish activists (part of anational Jewish peace group of 100,000 supporters) and the Palestinian activists who were
in favor of the cancellation.
Wedy Eliheva soeroseattle
ApOLOgIEs ARE nOT EnOugH
We suffered a great public opinion defeat with the City of Seattle LGBT commission’s egre-giously bad decision not to meet with the Israeli LGBT group (“A chronology of the cancelledinvitations to gay and lesbian Israelis,” March 30). While I know that all sorts of apologiescame forth from the Seattle LGBT community and the City Council, the damage was done. It
is long-term damage both to the local Jewish community and to Israel.Put simply, there were global news stories about the refusal, and no news about the apol
-ogies. The anti-Israeli forces are publicizing their victory, which it was. They are using the vic-tory to gain more friends and to solicit more money. Check what they are doing and sayingon their websites.We got apologies, or as they say in Yiddish, “bubkis.”
Proper reparations need to be made: What we should have asked for at the City Council
and what we should go back and ask for now is that the City of Seattle have a special day hon-oring countries that support gay rights and make Israel the top country in that category. Weshould ask that the City of Seattle invite the gay leaders from Israel back to Seattle and to havea day honoring them in their personal efforts to bring equality and tikkun olam to the world.
Reflections from Mike Wallace
Te ollowing excerpt written by MikeWallace is rom “I Am Jewish: Personal Refections Inspired by the Last Words o Daniel Pearl” by Dr. Judea and Ruth Pearl.Wallace was senior correspondent on “60 Minutes” and was a reporter or CBS News or more than our decades. He died on April 7 at the age o 93.
Reprinted with per-mission rom Jewish Lights Publishing
(JA) — Occasionally down the yearsI’ve winced at being labeled a “sel-hatingJew” because my reporting rom the MiddleEast was perceived as tainted by hostility toward Israel. It wasn’t true, o course, but Igured it came with the territory, meaningthat I was deemed biased because I reportedaccurately what was happening on theother side, with the Palestinians.And it turned out that every once in awhile it was helpul to me as a reporter,or the act that I am Jewish and not in thepocket o the Israelis seemed to appeal tomovers and shakers in Cairo and Damas-cus and Riyadh, who were willing to talk tome on the record with some candor.I’ve worked the Middle East beat sincethe 1950s, back in the days o MosheDayan, Golda Meir, Menachem Begin,Anwar Sadat, Yasir Araat, MuammarGadha. My relations with all o them,with the sole exception o Begin, were cor-dial and straightorward. But when I ques-tioned Begin in a ashion that I thoughtreasonable and he ound belligerent, ourconversation was brought to an end by theintervention o Ezer Weizman, his deenseminister, who shortly aerward took meor a riendly drink at a nearby bar.My eyes had irst been opened toIsraeli-Palestinian realities by two pio-neering gures rom that part o the world.Back in the ies, Reuven Dane, a Roma-nian Israeli, and Fayez Sayegh, a Palestin-ian Christian, two riends o mine, gaveme a primer course on the complicatedsubject, or which I remain grateul.I have long admired the courage anddetermination o the Israelis and sym-pathized with their yearning or a securestate. I have similar eelings about the Pal-estinians. But I’m an American reporter, aJew who believes in going aer acts on theground, as Daniel Pearl did, and reportingthem accurately, let the chips all wherethey may.