Beyond the Cusp

April 10, 2018

Rabbi Jacobs Still Protesting Netanyahu on Infiltrators

 

North America Reform Movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs has jumped into Israeli politics once again making the same wrong assumptions about Judaism and Torah. What put a burr on his saddle is that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for an investigation of the New Israel Fund due to their recent interference in Israeli foreign affairs by lobbying and paying for protesting in Rwanda pressuring them into refusing to honor their deal of accepting the African infiltrators from Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu was quoted explaining the difficulty and the responsibility for the current difficulties stating, “Over the last two years I worked with Rwanda so that it would be the ‘third country’ to absorb infiltrators we would deport against their will. That is the only legal way that remained for us to remove the infiltrators against their will, since all our others moves were disqualified on legal grounds.” Netanyahu further added, “in recent weeks, after tremendous pressure on Rwanda from the New Israel Fund and sources in the European Union, Rwanda folded on the agreement and refused to absorb infiltrators who would be removed from Israel by force.”

 

Rabbi Jacobs Tweeted a response to the Jerusalem Post article stating, “Shocked & angered by PM @Netanyahu’s attacks on @NewIsraelFund, which for decades has been a trusted champion of an Israel embodying the prophetic ideals of our Jewish tradition, including economic justice, religious freedom, human rights & more.” Rabbi Jacobs Tweeting did not end there as he added, “If the PM is looking to assign blame for the tragic plight of asylum seekers, he can look no further than the mirror.” Rabbi Jacobs continued on with, “From fomenting fear with his use of the term “infiltrators” to the humanitarian disaster of detention centers to yesterday’s shameful flip-flop on an UN-brokered deal to positively resolve the situation, he has done the wrong thing time & again.” We are going to assume that Rabbi Jacobs is also in favor of amnesty for every illegal immigrant in the United States.

 

We are not alone in our fear and alarm at the actions and political alignment of Rabbi Jacobs. Allow us to quote from a press release by the ZOA, “The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed concern at the appointment of Rabbi Richard Jacobs as head of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). Included among our concerns is the fact that Rabbi Jacobs is a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street, the extremist, George Soros-funded lobby group that takes positions to the left of the Israeli Labor and far-left Meretz parties, recently opposed sanctions on Iran, and urged President Barack Obama not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning as “illegal” Jewish homes and communities in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Jacobs is also a long-time board member and advocate of the New Israel Fund (NIF), which is a leading promoter and funder of organizations that advocate boycotting, divesting from, and imposing sanctions upon, Israel (BDS) as well as other groups involved in delegitimizing Israel and mounting ‘lawfare’ suits against Israeli political and military officials, causing these officials to not visit certain European countries. The ZOA is concerned by Rabbi Jacobs’ close association with J Street and NIF and thus at the prospect of the Reform movement becoming a captive of the beliefs and actions of both organizations. We hope the Reform movement, under Jacob’s leadership, will not become an unnamed arm and political ally of these organizations.”

 

North America Reform Movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs

North America Reform Movement President Rabbi Rick Jacobs

 

The first sign that the unfortunate has taken over Rabbi Jacob’s mind to a point where he has confused the leftist extreme wing of the Democrat Party and gone over to the point of supporting Israel’s enemies came in his first Tweet. When he sided with the “NewIsraelFund, which for decades has been a trusted champion of an Israel embodying the prophetic ideals of our Jewish tradition, including economic justice, religious freedom, human rights & more,” we saw the signs of the disease. Yes, Judaism supports religious freedom and treating each and every person with respect unless they first show disrespect or worse, antagonism. His inclusion of “economic justice” is a sign of his being a purveyor of leftist dogma. Where Judaism does have the mechanisms to care for the elderly and the poor, but economic justice, another means of saying wealth redistribution, that does not exist in Judaism. Torah allows a man to retain what he has earned. Each is responsible for giving ten percent to charity which includes assisting one’s own family as charity begins at home. But evening out income such that nobody is permitted to gain excess wealth, this is not Judaism. Rabbi Jacobs has shown numerous other indications that he has aligned his Judaism with his leftist political beliefs and twisted Torah to fit his politics, and not used Torah as the guide for his life and his interactions with others.

 

We decided to let you hear from Rabbi Rick Jacobs in his own words taken from his Address to the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial Celebrations. These are excerpts from his talk. (Our comments will be contained within parentheses.) “Our movement is stronger because of the congregations that are visionary and courageous enough to reinvent the core functions of synagogue life, from new models of education to new models of membership to new models of spiritual practice…” (Change is good, provided it is all based on Torah, yet he does not mention Torah in his call for change.) “Like any established organization in a time of change, ours must be willing to ask ourselves which old habits need to be shaken up. Not because it’s nice to get an upgrade once in awhile – but because the forces we face demand our urgent attention and action.” “And when we ask ourselves those ever-present, ever-important questions – How can we can ensure that we stay relevant and effective? What new questions do we need to answer and what assumptions do we need to challenge? – we should take a cue from the successes we’ve seen.” (More relevance and change reacting to the world, yet where is the following of Judaism’s history and guidance from the Torah?) “When we ask the participants of our youth programs to tell us what it means to them to be Jewish, what do they say? They want to feel part of a real community.” (Torah life anyone?) “Our synagogues and programs have the power to turn that purpose into something real – somewhere to go, someone to talk to, something to do when this moment feels too overwhelming. A community that speaks and listens with respect, that welcomes a diversity of views, and that isn’t afraid to take a moral stand.” “It is only on Shabbat that we call seven aliyot to the bimah. No day sees more aliyot. No day is holier. And the beauty of this tradition is that on our calendar, no holiday is more common.” (Finally we hear something purely Jewish and from Torah, Shabbat, the blessing which Hashem gave the Jewish people, the first people to have a day of rest every week, the weekend is Jewish.) “those who express their faith the way we do: not only through ritual and study, but through tikkun olam and tzedakah, through social justice programs and a Judaism with the courage and backbone to stand up for those who need a voice. For refugees, undocumented immigrants, the LGBTQ community, victims of our criminal justice system, interfaith families, Jews of color – and those of us who reject the false choice between standing against racism and standing beside Israel.” (Here Rabbi Jacobs uses known code words which mean a kind of Judaism somewhat removed from Torah such as, ‘tikkun olam’ which they interpret as save the world through leftist policies, ‘social justice programs,’ ‘refugees, undocumented immigrants’ these are listed together by purpose as the leftists consider them to be one and the same as we saw in the criticism of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his use of the term ‘Infiltrators’ and the intent to deport them where Rabbi Jacobs sees them as refugees who must be absorbed.) “we can make it clear that social justice activism on campus and Jewish life on campus can be one and the same.” “In an age when more and more young people don’t put down deep roots, when more are planning an interfaith or same-sex wedding, but fewer are members of congregations, it’s not always so easy to find a rabbi or a cantor to officiate. All the more reason we should never turn our backs on them.” (Well, we guess that is it for Torah Judaism as we had figured.) “we have to remember that if the Judaism we offer our young people doesn’t speak to the great moral issues of the day, it won’t speak to them.” (That is good, but what forms their relationship to the ‘great moral issues of the day.’)

 

Rabbi Jacobs also believes that the Rabbis in his Reform Judaism organization should perform same-sex marriages as well as inter-faith marriages even with Ministers or Priests co-officiating. He supports strong firearms control, ending hate speech which is code words for speech codes and ending the debate in favor of leftist thought, while claiming unending love and support for Israel he simultaneously has criticized Jerusalem and West Bank policy and settlements while castigating a long list of the current government positions, he suggested that Reform Jews should understand the errors and victims on both sides of the conflict, claims the occupation threatens Zionism, speaks extensively on the rabbinic concept of tikkun loam positing that it means repairing the world, and finally Rabbi Jacobs would fit in the opposition of the Israeli government as he was quoted stating that “many Jews, especially younger ones, feel that Israel has become too intolerant not just of Arab citizens of Israel, but also of non-Orthodox Jews, Ethiopian Jews, LGBT,” while expressing concern over “the weakening of democratic institutions like the Supreme Court as a result of constant attacks by the ultra-Orthodox and far right.

 

He speaks regularly and strongly demanding Israel change the Rabbinate such that it become more like his North America Reform Movement and accept the leftist agenda he near constantly harangues Israeli Orthodoxy as being closed minded and disconnected from the major form of Judaism, Reform Judaism. He demands Israel allow civil marriages and supports the problematic Supreme Court which had believed that they had the last say in every and anything in Israeli society to the point the Justices had been negating laws passed by the Knesset while writing new laws themselves and even countermanded orders given by IDF commanders during the last Gaza War. This was fine for Rabbi Jacobs and the restraining of the out of control court he calls destruction of Israeli democracy. How ending a dictatorial Supreme Court is ending democracy befuddles us. He believes that Israel is supposed to bend to the United States and because Reform Judaism is the most populous form of Judaism in the United States, Israel must change to match the United States. This is a problem here in Israel as well as the opposition parties also demand that Israel bend to the will of the Reform Jews in the United States, adopt the policies of the Democrat Party, and allow the left to rule. Rabbi Jacobs also would support having the United States to follow the leftist political wagon and allow the Democrat Party to rule unopposed in order to enact what he believes is the only means for society to survive. In Israel and in the United States the leftists are pushing for allowing anybody who crosses the border to stay and to be granted citizenship, the illegal immigrants in the United States and the African Infiltrators in Israel. They want secular marriages without restriction such that same-sex marriages are performed, inter-faith marriages are permitted, and both are permitted be treated as Jewish. They call for women to have full equality but not just under the law, in employment, within social fabric but also within religion such that women are permitted to be ordained as Rabbis, women conduct themselves as men in services with wearing of Tefillin, carry the Torah, read Torah as part of services and use blessings which are normally reserved for men only.

 

Both groups demand that there be an area at the Western Wall reserved for couples as well as Reform and other non-Orthodox services and even when an area was made available at a secondary location relatively close to the main wall it was hardly ever visited despite being made alternative Judaism friendly. The claim was it was not the same and they demand that they be placed at the main area visible to all which would greatly distress the Orthodox Jews praying there, but that is the main objective though it remains unstated. Rabbi Jacobs and his allies in the United States along with the leftists in the opposition in Israel both are demanding the same rights, that their side is permitted to decide all items politically, civilly, culturally, domestically, socially and in every sector and region of daily life even to include religiously. Their belief is that the leftists are the sole authorities and all of people’s lives must be turned over to their discretion with any dissenting concepts are to be automatically rejected. This is what the governing leaders of both nations, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu, are facing with a general dissent which is unrelenting and hate-filled spread all over social media and in general demonstrations occurring weekly or more often. This is a situation which could be very dangerous in two of the seemingly central democracies, Israel in the entire Middle East and the United States as the world leader.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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