Beyond the Cusp

August 17, 2018

Israel Must Act Suicidal to Receive Acceptance

 

On the same day that Palestinian Arabs in the Shomron threw pipe-bombs at the Tomb of Rachel while Arabs in Gaza continued to launch incendiary devices into Israel all while Mahmoud Abbas not only continues to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to terrorists and their families each month declaring that this is the most important expenditure of the Palestinian Authority, we find people claiming that Israel should not be permitted to prevent people from entering the country whose designs for entering Israel is disruption and attacks on the government and people. Needless to add, the Europeans expressed shock and intense despair at Israel, not for actually turning away several American Jews who advocate boycotting Israel, but that they were questioned for twenty to thirty minutes as they entered Israel recently. That we are quite used to as many in Europe, politicians included, act in such a manner as to seemingly work towards the destruction of the Jewish State. What was disparaging was when Ron Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote in the New York Times that he was critical of the recently passed Nationality Law, calling out the country’s “Orthodox monopoly” and accusing the Netanyahu administration of damaging “the sense of equality and belonging of Israel’s Druze, Christian, and Muslim citizens.” Mr. Lauder continued with a litany of complaints which largely circled the idea that Israel just does not get it and really needs to stop acting in its own self-interest and instead begin to comply with all the demands of the American Jewish community and their leftist ideologies. Mr. Lauder had in the past and also in the New York Times insisted that Israel be reasonable and pull back behind the pre-Six Day War Green Line and surrender the remainder to the Palestinians enacting the two state solution even without any peace agreement. Apparently Mr. Lauder suffers from a pathology with which we are quite familiar, and love of Israel is not as paramount in his list of priorities as he has indicated, complying and pursuit of his leftist ideologies and forcing them on any and all who have the audacity of disagreeing with that ideology is his foremost driving force.

 

President of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder

President of the World Jewish Congress, Ron Lauder

 

Now we will delve into this pathology which had taken hold of the majority, if not the vast majority, of the non-Orthodox Jews in the United States. Their unwavering support of the Democrat Party is just one of the signs of this pathology. Their driving force has been given a name from the very Bible they never read, Tikkun Olam. They translate this as “Repair the World” and claim that their leftist, socialist single party desires are the path to such an enlightened state. They insist that spreading this belief far and wide is the true path for completing the task of Tikkun Olam. One of the first concepts I came to grips with after moving to Israel and rediscovering a remarkable religion, Judaism, something I had almost lost when living in the United States, was Tikkun Olam as practiced by Traditional Orthodox Jews. Oddly, it has absolutely nothing to do with leftist ideology, socialism or spreading anything to the less enlightened. Tikkun Olam in the sense it is interpreted in Israel is to work on yourself, your habits, your interactions with others, your dedication to prayer and largely your love of Hashem and everything which he gave us here on Earth such that we could thrive and live with such splendor. Of course I understand that the leftist Jews who are out to change the world to fit their new world order of socialism with free everything for everybody have already perfected themselves. I know this as I had gathered such in countless conversations with numerous of these Jews and a selected few who were totally honest admitted their near perfection. Also, it almost goes without saying, almost to the last one, they believed that I was a monstrous person who was ignorant, rude, ill mannered, uneducated, virtually illiterate and completely clueless about the virtues of their political views and the complete absence of merit in my political views. Thankfully, they did act kindly when we were all in Synagogue and some would even deign to socialize while most simply nodded and continued to avoid us. So, I am not foreign to these crusading true believers who have the inside track on perfection in all areas of life, theirs, yours and mine, if only we would awaken and realize the errors of our ways and then do the proper penance which would include voting for whichever candidate the Democrats run against the demon in the White House, President Trump.

 

The problem is these Jews and all their coreligionists are actually practicing Secular Humanist Socialism and not so much Judaism. Their Synagogues have been converted into centers for group-think and often are used to promote Democrat Party candidates and even have run campaign assistance as a committee within the Synagogue. Their prayerbooks are often devoid of any Zionism declaring for the longing to reestablish the Jews ancient home in Eretz Yisroel. Many of the traditional prayers have either been reworded or done away with completely. Had we attempted to use the prayerbook from some of the Synagogues we belonged to in the United States, we would not have been able to follow a service in a Traditional Orthodox service here in Israel. Their prayerbooks have been sanitized with a new theme centered on all that could be if only the world were remade in a more socialized manner. Sermons often carried messages straight from the leftist list of most important political battles to still be fought and won. In many such Synagogues, they will allow for mixed marriages where one of the couple is Jewish and the other is not. Some will go further and allow same sex marriages in the Synagogue. This is their choice and if that is their idea of Judaism, they are free to pursue exactly what they choose. On Yom Kippur once we were treated to a sermon about how gloriously wonderful the two recent people of a couple married by the Rabbi, but in a hall and not the Synagogue as this was a more religious Synagogue and community, and how they were so gentle and tender and the beautiful point where they were to kiss and how it was almost tearing in many of the attendees eyes as these two men kissed. We were told about the great wonder their love was and all the details. After the service, we heard many members of the congregation congratulating the Rabbi for the great sermon and his willingness to officiate such a wedding and some inquired why the marriage was not held in the Synagogue. Apparently, the Rabbi and the couple mutually decided to hold the ceremony outside the Synagogue was the answer. This was the sermon on the Day of Atonement and nothing deeply spiritual about self-improvement, forgiveness which Hashem bestows upon all of us and an entire history of sermons rich in Torah but instead we sat through a sermon which we found difficult. We were still in the United States when having this experience and there were an extensive list of similar such sermons from back in the 1960’s where my family had joined a Reform Temple, they did not have a Synagogue, but that was not a problem as here everyone was indoctrinated regularly at services in the liberal leftist ideology as if that was what was dictated in Torah. Back then, the name of Hashem was in some of the prayers just as today as it is impossible to say the Shema without naming Hashem.

 

We fully understand where Mr. Lauder was coming from in his articles, though we would have preferred his publishing them in one of the many Jewish publications so as to be less conspicuous as to have the President of World Jewish Congress being so publically critical of Israel is less than helpful. Maybe Mr. Lauder does not realize that Israel is being attacked on all fronts by virtually everyone with an obvious exception, President Donald Trump, the man who actually did move the United States embassy to Jerusalem. But we are pretty sure Mr. Lauder is fully aware that Israel is being attacked. He probably also believes he understands exactly why Israel is being attacked and is the man with the answer, become like the American leftist Jews and stand for the ideals and beliefs they hold dear. Should we complain that doing such would violate Torah, we believe he would refer to the Torah as an old scroll still being written on parchment and as such is obviously outdated and we need to get with the program. Mr. Lauder is far from alone and had a backup choir of very full-throated fellow leftist Jews demanding that Israel throw out the playbook which has kept Judaism alive for over three millennia, and instead pick up the Democrat playbook and adopt the views of the supporters of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as she is their new cheerleader and spokesperson campaigning everywhere as she is just so wonderful. We hope you did not miss the sarcasm. There is also Rabbi Jacobs who also desires that Israel fashion itself after the Democrat Party and Reform Judaism. Both of these men and their ilk are also very upset with Israel for actually having the unmitigated gall to have again elected right wing governments and allowing Bibi Netanyahu to once more be Prime Minister. They would prefer Yair Lapid, Avi Gabbay or Tzipi Livni to be the Prime Minister as their political thoughts and remarkable brilliance in their agreement that the Two State solution is best for Israel. That these political parties would support such a thing as the Two State solution is one of the main reasons they must continue to be in the opposition and not in power. We would love to have these very same Jews come home and we would welcome them, as they are family. As family, we would really prefer to keep our squabbles within the family and not on the editorial page of the New York Times.

 

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

 

June 30, 2017

Plans for Heterodox to Move Forward and Move On

 

Let us assume that times they have changed and the Jordanian Waqf has been sent packing back to Jordan and an area on the Temple Mount has been cleared and the foundation is being laid on a little more than two acre area sitting between and forward of the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque as many things have changed. A small area of the Dome of the Rock’s Plaza will be used for the Third Temple. One might have thought that even this far after the end of the Palestinian problem being settled people might have given it a rest, but no. Some did claim it was quite satisfactory while many Arab leaders claim that the solution of buying the lands and granting every non-Jew an extravagantly generous relocation bonus was cheating the Palestinians and many from within Israel who took the offer of their heritage. Those who relocated claimed that no heritage was worth that much. So, here we are twenty-five years after the al-Aqsa War which began with Hamas’s coup in which Mahmoud Abbas was barely rescued by, unofficially, a rescue squad dropped in with a dozen CH53 helicopters taking out the leadership of Fatah and the Palestinian Security Forces including all of Force 17 and the helicopters were covered in the air by one dozen Osprey flying low support and a half dozen Harriers flying high cover, though against what Hamas aircraft would be a logical question. Hamas turned their coup right around into a two front war on Israel the second week of August after they had received a United Nations approved and protected transfer of security forces to serve as police in their Judea and Samaria controlled areas. They also sued in the United Nations to have their areas freed of any IDF interventions and for recognition as Palestine demanding they be granted free access between Gaza and Judea and Samaria. They received everything they requested from the General Assembly where less than a dozen nations opposed their demands, requests, whatever, but the United States vetoed everything in the Security Council. And for now, we can end with the proposed history thus allowing this story to continue.

 

The war was in its third day when the worst possible occurred and Hezballah joined the Hamas offensive believing they could make the critical difference, or maybe we should say that Iran thought they would make the critical difference. They did and Israel now holds almost all of the traditional lands of the Twelve Tribes with the Litany River as her northern border (see map below). The Russians in the name of Bashar al-Assad, yes he is still alive, took the northern parts of Syria so Hezballah is still on the northern border, just without any missiles as Russia reached an agreement with Israel to demilitarize the entirety of the Syrian-Israeli border, and the Russians have proven to be far more reliable than the United Nations. After the war, Israel made the offer to purchase any land, home, business, apartment, farm or other properties from any non-Jew within the enhanced Israeli borders and provide a generous relocation benefit along with the buyout plus airfare to any nation on the planet. Israel was even paying the price of any properties as they had been before the six-month war. Well over ninety-percent of Gazan, Judean and Samarian Arabs took the buyout, relocation benefit while almost seventy-percent of Israeli Arabs also took these options, and the three nations where the majority moved were Saudi Arabia, Canada and the United States with a relative few choosing Mexico. This was not surprising as Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia were the only nations the United States was able to pressure and bribe into accepting the refugees. The overwhelming majority of the Arabs who remained in Israel were Christian Arabs along with the Baha’I and most of the Druze decided to remain with Israel. The United Nations condemned Israel, demanded Israel share rule with the Arabs and when Israel instead formed the new Israel they decided to remove Israel from the United Nations. So, it was decided that the time had arrived to build the Third Temple in Jerusalem which was reached after heavy lobbying by The Temple Institute. Chief Rabbi Eliezer Melamed was also supportive as was the Beth El community. Once the United Nations and much of Europe and the West except the United States, Poland, Canada and Romania renounced their relations with Israel and removed their embassies, there was little to lose and no real consequences the world could threaten. Israel and her populations finally felt free and no longer burdened by needing to please the rest of the world, they had shown their true colors and done their worst, thus it was truly time to build the Third Temple as the people of Israel demanded.

 

Hypothetical Israel and Twelve Tribes of Israel

Hypothetical Israel and Twelve Tribes of Israel

 

Now with construction about to begin as the preparations were completing, there came the demand, the Temple had to have a courtyard area that would accommodate all of the many Heterodox Jewish communities. The claim came from the CEO of International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), UJA-Federation of New York, the chief executive of American Jewish Congress, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform movement), the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative movement) and a number of secular Jewish institutions who queried as to why any of the vast majority of non-Orthodox Jews would feel they have a place in Israel, acceptance within Judaism and would even desire to support Israel if the Third Temple was not inclusive of their sensitivities and practices. What was notable was their complete lack of mention or recognition of Halachic, or Jewish Law. The Third Temple was being built according to the instructions of how the Temple was to be constructed. And guess what? There was no place in the plans for anything other than a single courtyard for the Jews. The Israeli religious institutions, government and, after a group filed a complaint with the Israeli Supreme Court to force a second courtyard for the Heterodox Jewish communities, even the liberal Supreme Court Justices refused to allow a secondary courtyard and backed the religious community. So, the Third Temple proceeded to be built with a single courtyard and as closely as was understood to the biblical and Torah specified construction of the Temple.

 

End of the imaginary and now for a reality which I found after I made Aliyah and moved permanently to Israel. I was a relaxed Jew while living in the United States. Most of my life I barely went to services even on Shabbat or the High Holy Days. Often doing so was not even a possibility. The majority of places I lived the closest Synagogue was quite distant. If one existed, they were more often over an hour away and if there was one within twenty-five miles, I considered myself fortunate. I also had another problem with many Synagogues, and it was not distance in a literal and more usual meaning but rather political and sociological. Often people, including too often the Rabbi and definitely the men’s club and leaders of the synagogue would shun me once they found out that I did not believe in gun control unless you meant heading to the range for the day and practicing, that I seldom voted for liberal politicians, that I did not favor same sex marriage and instead believed that marriage should be a ceremony, with or without certificate, at a house of faith while the government should issue certificate of union and not marriage certificates. This way the government could have their secular rules, the religious institutions could do as their religious inclinations direct them, and the two should never dictate to the other what they must do. They were shocked when I did not support the courts demanding that bakers make a cake for a same sex marriage because they did not approve. They would claim I was a reactionary conservative monster. They were close but missed that I might be a realist libertarian conservative. I doubt most even know what one is.

 

Now I live in Israel. I make it to morning services as often as my aging body allows. Evening services, which includes afternoon, a short lesson and then evening, I attend in the winter as they are held early enough for me to attend before taking my evening medications. Spring and fall I am able to attend the evening first services which is the afternoon service, but then need to take my medications which allow me to start sleeping soon after taking them thus I stay home after taking them. This may appear to be strange as I also am keeping Kosher and light Sabbath candles, even if it requires my wife waking me to do so. There is something about the Land of Israel and the ease by which you are able to be religious and follow the Mitzvahs. I need to be honest and point out that I am still learning some of the Mitzvahs, but I am giving it effort. What originally surprised me were the levels of satisfaction and increasing belief in Hashem here in Israel. I have not reached the level that I am capable of hearing voices when near the Western Wall. The Temple Mount I cannot talk about not having been up on the Temple Mount, nor am I likely to do so until Jews have equal rights to walk and pray on the Temple Mount. This is a restriction which only Muslims are permitted to perform as the Jordanian Waqf still makes the rules for this holy site. They claim that their ever-stricter rules preventing people other than Muslims from having any right as a human being on the Temple Mount is because they decide it should be next to impossible and that makes complete sense because as Muslims they do not believe that anyone else is a human being.

 

The reason that the Third Temple (when built) and other holy sites in Israel, especially those which are outside and in general view of the public, one need act religious and not just to the level that one is comfortable committing but to the highest level in consideration for the religious who one would be offending by not obeying Halachic Law. One would not attend an Orthodox Bar Mitzvah and insist on having their girl friend sit in the main auditorium, not wear a Kippah because they do not wear them at the Reconstructionist Temple they belong to nor would one request a cheeseburger during the luncheon. When in Israel and outside you are, in many ways, in an Orthodox area. Walking into a Synagogue in Israel, unless you know for sure, simply believe that it will be an Orthodox Synagogue. The Western Wall is a form of Synagogue and one should simply assume that it is Orthodox area where such strictness applies. For fifty years the Kotel, as the Western Wall and Plaza are referred, has been treated as an Orthodox religious area and there have been numerous people who visit the site and they accept the men and women have separate areas and that the men will wear a Kippah. This has included quite a few non-orthodox and even non-religious men and women who have held to the restriction of an Orthodox Jew without any vociferous complaint.

 

When did the decency fall apart and the new demands become prevalent? The answer is in the very recent times, like the last decade at most. The next question has to be, why? Let us say it has something to do with our recent theme and the decision by the left that all things concerning Judaism (as well as Christianity) are evil and must be deconstructed, diluted and then destroyed. This includes the numerous secular leftist Jews, quite a few of which belong to non-Orthodox sects of Judaism or to the Oren-Orthodox, another sect which tries to fake being Orthodox by retaining the title without many of the rules, actually an ever increasing number of the rules have been dropped. All of these sects may not be in favor of destroying Judaism but they do contain a fair number of people who do favor such a destruction. What we do know about those on a mission to destroy Judaism, they are organized and will try to take over the control of ever more Jewish organizations in order to destroy our religion from the inside. What better place to destroy something than within. One perfect example is the Anti-Defamation League and their new Director Jonathan Greenblatt. Mr. Greenblatt is about as secular Jew as one can find and his politics as a Leftist Progressive outweigh his concern for Halacha. He supports LGBTQ rights, same sex marriage and believes that Israel must bend to accepting his ideas if the American Jews are to support Israel. The real question should be if these are the core beliefs of American Jews, how can they consider themselves Jews when they are really secularist progressive leftists. The two are separate and distinctly and mutually exclusive. It is not possible to ignore Torah and three thousand years of Jewish core beliefs and simply change them because your politics support the leftist secular irreligious views. Torah does not change and is what Hashem desires from us as Jews. If your belief in secular leftist progressive views outweighs your belief in Torah, then you are not Jewish and please do not try to dictate what makes a Jew to Israel, you will feel disappointed and rejected every time, though there are places in Tel Aviv where your ideas are acceptable, please feel free to visit these and you will find your stay in Israel pleasant. But should you visit my Synagogue or the Kotel or numerous other religious and holy places in Israel, please do us the courtesy of proper attire that includes wearing a Kippah for the men and separate access and possibly seating. Israel may be a modern nation but that does not make us any less Jewish and it is possible to be both. When in Rome, do as the Romans do and when in Israel, do as the Orthodox Jews so as such are the standard in Israel. Do not expect anything less and we will not bother you with your habits in America.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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