Healing the Relationship Between North American Jews and Israel

I want to take a moment to highlight next Shabbat, Saturday September 1st.  At services that morning, we will celebrate Eugene and Diane Linett’s 50th anniversary together with their family. In the evening,  we will hold a very special service called Selichot that helps to spiritually prepare us for the Yamim Noraim, the days of Awe, which are a time for introspection and commitment to change in the coming year.

We will begin our evening at 8:30pm with a fascinating conversation about one of the relationships in our lives in need of healing this year- the relationship between North American Jews and Israel.

One of my teachers and colleagues, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, recently featured in the Jewish Week  will have a conversation with Maital Friedman about the rough edges of this relationship. It has intensified in recent months due to the Kotel decision, the Nation-State Bill, arrest of a Masorti Rabbi for performing a non-Orthodox wedding, questioning of a North American journalist over his political views at the airport, and more. Rabbi Creditor and Maital will lead us on an exploration of the ways in which we can work to repair this relationship and others pertinent to our lives. Even if a relationship with Israel is not something we would like to work on, I encourage us all to think about this relationship as an example of others in our lives in need of healing that we can focus on during the Selichot service.

There are moments when we, North American Jews, see Israel as a beacon of light to the world and feel proud of its many achievements and want to rush in to help carry the weight of responsibility inherent in building a nation. Inevitably, there are moments when Israel is not acting in a way congruent with our values or ideology. This causes us to question if we are still responsible to support Israel if it chooses to act in ways different than how we would want it to act.

In fact, Israelis and North Americans disagree within their own populations on many subjects. For example, there are a variety of opinions on important policy questions such as should we work towards one or two states for Israel and its Palestinian population? Who is a Jew in Israel and how is it defined? Who has jurisdiction over personal religious matters like marriage, divorce, conversion, and burial?

If we are to heal this relationship, then we should acknowledge that despite our differences of opinion we are one people, and we must discuss these questions of concern and debate them as partners for our shared future of the Jewish people.

I look forward to taking part in these discussions on September first and beyond.

Have a great week,
Rabbi Adam Baldachin

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