Beyond the Cusp

July 8, 2017

One Single Judaism for One Unified Israel

 

Of late, there has been much unrest and noise from out of the Jewish New Orthodoxy, the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, demanding that Israel bend to their versions of acceptability for conversions that are not strictly Halachic according to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. They were kind enough to put their demands into a letter written to express their obviously superior and more pluralistic views, which will allow for a more pleasant Israeli expression of Halacha, which could be acceptable to a larger general group of American Jews. The claim is that the Jews in America are turning away from Israel because Israelis demand that conversions be performed and approved by the Israeli Rabbinate that recognizes numerous Synagogues for meeting their Halachic standards. They were kind enough to even put it into writing, so, please allow us to quote:

As progressive, pluralistic orthodox rabbis associated with the rabbinic group Torat Chayim, we stand fully as allies with our sisters and brothers throughout the entire Jewish community in support of pluralism in America and Israel. We were disheartened to read that the Israeli government has rescinded its commitment to create a space for alternative and liberal groups to pray at the Western Wall and is moving to delegitimate all conversions but those done by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.”
“Imposing one narrow version of Orthodox Judaism as the official standard for prayer and for conversion in Israel harms the unity of the Jewish people and it harms support for Israel in America. We encourage all Modern Orthodox Jews to publicly support freedom for multiple religious approaches to Jewish life. The Torah demands that we embrace humility in our dealings with fellow human beings. Pirkei Avot teaches: Do not demand to be the sole judge (of what is right or wrong in religious matters) for only God — and not humans representing God — has the capability of being the sole judge.
“This means that we should bring humility – not arrogance; and wonder – not certainty — to our relationships. The Sages teach that we are stronger when we disagree openly and respectfully while continuing to engage with one another and honor each other’s human dignity. We honor the different paths of our fellow Jews, even if we have our disagreements for the sake of heaven, and we yearn deeply to see a truly pluralistic Israel.”
Signed,
Rabba Dr. Carmella Abraham-Rabbi Dr. Marc AngelRabino- Daniel Askenazi-Rabbi Ben Berger-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger-Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo-Rabbi Menashe East-Rabbi Michael Cooper Emerson-Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber-Rabbi Avidan Freedman-Rabbi Marc Gitler-Rabbi Daniel Goodman-Rabbi Dr. Mel Gottlieb-Rabbi Ben Greenberg-Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg-Rabbi Herzl Hefter-Rabbanit Bracha Jaffe-Rabbi David Jaffe-Rabbi David Kalb-Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky-Rabbi David Kashe-rRabbi Ysoscher Katz-Rabbi Will Keller-Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn-Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz-Rabbi Yehoshua Looks-Rabbi Asher Lopatin-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Evan Mayse-Rabbi Avram Mlotek-Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman-Rabbi Micha OdenheimerR-abbi Haim Ovadia-Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard-Rabbi Aaron Potek-Rabbi Dr. David Rosen-Rabbi Abe Schacter-Gampel-Rav Hanan Schlesinger-Rabbi Gabriel Nachman Kretzmer Seed-Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller-Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein-Rabba Ramie Smith-Rabbi Devin Villarreal-Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

 

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

Women Rabbinic Signatories from Above Letter

 

With such an impressive list of names, one would think that this is a movement with tens of thousands of members. They represent, at most, a few thousand Jews. Most of the names above were either in the initial movement of graduates of the Yeshiva run by the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization. Perhaps the initial discussion we should entertain is the actual feelings towards Israel that is honestly held currently in the United States. As former members of the Conservative Synagogue, which was the better choice between it and the Reform Synagogue, as the town had no Orthodox and the closest Orthodox group met at one person’s residence a little over a hundred miles from our home, just a tad beyond walking distance; we got a first hand sample of the true and honest feelings of a typical congregation, and from the sample of those who attended Saturday Morning services, alias, the really seriously religious group. We will get to our sampling, but first some, reality check, facts. When the Israelites left slavery in ancient Egypt, according to our Sages, approximately twenty percent of the Jews decided to leave and the remainder preferred the safety and security of Egyptian slavery. When the Jew returned from the Babylonian exile, our Sages tell us, again about twenty percent decided to return and build the Second Temple while the remainder figured they would sample Persian culture and practices. When Israel first opened up to Jews the overwhelming reaction was not exactly excited exhilaration. Simply put, very, very few Jews left whatever comfortable lives they had in Europe, America, Russia, the Arab world of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Iran, India, Ethiopia, South Africa and wherever else the Jews were living in the 1800’s and first quarter of the 1900’s, before the British decided to close the door, the flow was light to a trickle resembling anything but a torrent. The Jews stayed put. Even when Ze’ev Jabotinsky (one of our main heroes) visited Eastern Europe and tried to tell the congregations that the Nazis and Hitler were going to be a huge problem for them and they should come to Eretz Yisroel, you know what happened? The Rabbis, once the word got out, refused to allow him into their Synagogues and, even when he managed to tell their congregations, they told their congregations that Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a lunatic and scare-monger who had no idea what he was talking about and they were fine and should simply stay put. The point, the Jews are like all people, they prefer the comfortable place that has been home no matter the situation and are apprehensive about change. Imagine that.

 

That said; let us move on to the next little misconception. When they poll any sample of Jews about their feelings towards Israel, the question is virtually always something like, “Do you support Israel?” Surprisingly, the response usually receives seventy-five or eighty percent say yes. But how about when the question is, “Do you support the Two-State-Solution and a state for the Palestinian people?” Believe it or not, you still get well over fifty percent sometimes as high as seventy-five percent yes. Now we can get to a more particular poll where the question becomes, “Do you support Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government?” Now it depends on whom you poll amongst Jews. Strictly Halachic Jews will respond well over fifty percent and probably close to ninety percent supporting. Reform Jews will respond exactly the opposite with over three-quarters not approving the Netanyahu government. The Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox Jews will probably respond favoring the negative side as they see the Netanyahu government as their opposition and not favoring their position of a more understanding and liberated Judaism. The Conservative Jews will poll, unfortunately, closer to the Reform than the Halachic Orthodox Jews when it comes to the Netanyahu government. If Amir Peretz, the new Labor Party leader, or Ehud Barak, a newly active Labor Party former leader who also has decided he might desire a run against Netanyahu, and either of these leftists were to become Prime Minister of Israel, then the non-Orthodox Jews would suddenly love the government while the strictly Halachic Orthodox Jews would still support the government and Israel because their support is not tied to politics. They would also express some wariness towards such a government but would still support the government and oppose maybe some of their ideas.

 

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

Co-ed rabbinic ordination ceremony at Yedidya with Rabbi Daniel Landes

 

So, where are we going with all of this discussion? Well, let us go straight to the really big question and what if they asked all the American Jews, “Are you planning on making Aliyah in the next ten years?” This is the one question where the answer would be rather consistent across all stripes and it would be a rather solid, “No!” Perhaps this would be the good spot to talk about our pre-Aliyah experience. First and foremost, our Rabbi, Hashem bless the man, was supportive and overjoyed for us and his enthusiasm was wonderful. The congregation broke into three distinct groups, which mirrored their politics almost to a person. The conservatives, both the openly conservative and the friends who preferred that we never reveal their politics, to a person were happy and many expressed their desire to also make Aliyah and many of these are planning on retiring to Israel and we invited them to come to the same area we chose, though some expressed a great desire to move to Jerusalem. The through and through leftist members all but to a person considered us to be borderline insane for wanting to move to Israel and leave the United States, the best and most natural place for any Jew to live. Many pointedly bet that we would be back in the United States within a year, two at the most. The more moderate congregants were less declarative but the majority of them simply wished us well but thought that we were making a mistake to leave the United States and especially to go to Israel. Honestly, we were surprised by the reaction being from the greater majority of congregants we knew and were social with were discouraging in their expressions towards our making Aliyah. The really odd thing was that they were confused about our enthusiasm for moving to Israel and leaving the United States. Most who asked why we were making the move did not believe the answer that one of us had always wanted to make Aliyah and the two of us both really loved our pilot trip and were anxious to make the move. Lastly, the ones who thought we were going to come running back to the United States are in for a surprise, we love it here in Israel.

 

The reality is that the vast majority of American Jews cannot see moving to Israel in the coming years and believe that leaving the United States is a foolish and idiotic idea. They will say they support Israel whenever they are asked by a pollster. They say this because it requires nothing from them. Many will send money to Israeli funds and charities because that is what Jews do. But when they are talking amongst themselves, they tell a different story. They are not in any way Zionist and have referred to the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria as settlers and many honestly believe they are living on Palestinian lands. The majority believe that if Israel would be more flexible and just give the Arabs the lands beyond the Green Line that there would be peace. They agreed with President Obama that Israel was the reason there was no peace. Often having conversations with many of our fellow congregants, we found that avoiding the subject of Israel was the wisest of decisions. The average American Jew doesn’t give Israel much thought, as they are far too busy with life. Their first and foremost thought politically is support of the Democrat Party and liberal ideology. One of our friends from the congregation e-mailed us after the election and since and told us something we could have simply assumed ourselves. The congregation was largely in a funk being excessively distraught about having President Trump elected with Hillary Clinton somehow not being permitted her coronation. What can we add; they are good, loyal, leftist Democrats who place their party as amongst their highest priorities. It’s good to know that things have not changed, well, not exactly.

 

Many Jews in Europe are rapidly learning how fragile the societal acceptance of Jews can be. Many of the nations in Europe have rapidly growing anti-Semitism, which is starting to frighten many of them. What has been even more upsetting has been that from what we have noted, many of the Rabbis are telling their congregants that everything is under control, the government will protect them and that there is no reason to panic. The reality is that there is plenty of reason to panic. One perfect example comes from, of all people, Chief Rabbi of Russia and President of the Conference of European Rabbis Pinchas Goldschmidt who called for the Jews to take unity with European Muslims as they have a common cause in resisting attacks on minority religions and defending religious freedom. He was quoted in the Guardian stating, “When there is tolerance for other languages, other cultures, religions, traditions, we Jews feel more accepted. Jews always felt more comfortable in places where other cultures and religions were respected. At the moment when an ultra-nationalist wind begins to blow, it makes Jews, as a minority, uncomfortable.” Meanwhile, in France many Jews are wearing kippahs woven to match their hair so as not to draw attention while others simply ceased wearing them in public. Unfortunately, time has made the situation unavoidable and most of the Rabbis have taken to heart the need for their congregants’ safety. Some have began to admit of the necessity of caution and possibly for leaving Europe for the United States, Canada (postponing the inevitable) or Israel. Chief Rabbi of Brussels Avraham Gigi has stated, there is “no future for Jews in Europe.” He told a radio audience that, “There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes and some of them are planning on emigrating.” The remainder of his radio interview can be read at the above link. A simple search tells the terrifying story facing European Jews but despite all the evidence of danger, many Jews remain passive refusing to leave their homes for the greater fear of the unknown.

 

Mind you, there is something Israel could do which would make this an easier sell that we believe that there is only one Judaism, that would be to have one Chief Rabbi. The great news is this will come to fruition once the Knesset passes a bill unifying the Chief Rabbinate and instead of having one Chief Rabbi for Ashkenazi and another Chief Rabbi for Sephardi, Israel would have one Chief Rabbi for all the Jews. One Chief Rabbi, one Judaism, and one Jewish People as unified Jewish community, then Israel can claim that one Jewish Law exists for all Jews. That would be the strongest message Israel could give the world and would allow for a single voice of the one Chief Rabbi of Israel telling the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox organization, that there is but one Judaism and one Halacha for all Jews and this cannot be denied. Watering down Judaism or making a new and more “open” Judaism which permits for each Jew and each Synagogue or community to make their own Halachic laws and interpretations, then what is Judaism but a series of clubs each with their own charter. This experiment was already tried and it started in Nineteenth Century Germany with the early principles of Reform Judaism formulated by Rabbi Abraham Geiger. This more open form of Judaism was designed as Jews were, for the first time, recognized as members of the population of the nations in which they lived. The Ghettos were opened and the Jews were permitted to live wherever they wished amongst the general population. The new Judaism was fashioned to permit the Jews to enter into the general population as equals without being seen as different and so they would be accepted more readily. Many ‘unnecessary’ rules which were not ‘absolutely required’ or really all that ‘important’ to the essence of being a Jew were made ‘voluntary’ and Jews began to be assimilated. If you want to see the effect of making Judaism fit the desires and needs of each Jew individually instead of making each individual Jew fit Judaism as defined by Halacha, just look at the Reform Jews in the United States and you get your answer. According to estimates done near the end of the last century, the rate of intermarriage of Reform Jews was approaching three out of every four marriages. That makes Reform Jews merely with a one out of four chance of marrying within the faith. That is assimilation’s result, the end of the Jewishness of Jews.

 

I must admit that I only realized the necessity of strict Halachic Judaism as the sole allowable form after coming to Israel. This realization came along with the realization that being a Halachic Jew is actually far more easily accomplished in Israel. The supermarket only sells kosher food, the major ones while there are specialty markets, which are not necessarily kosher. There are Synagogues within walking distance throughout the town where we live. The main reason a Jew in Israel would not live a Halachic life is by choice, not lack of opportunity. In the United States, if a Jew does not reside in a neighborhood within walking distance of a Synagogue or have somebody from the congregation willing to put them up every Shabbat who does, then either they never attend Shabbat services or they use some form of conveyance on Shabbat. Those are the choices. To be a Halachic Jew in the United States you will need to either shop at one of the specific markets out of the many or be very specific in the brands you purchase. A Halachic Jew may only purchase meat from specific butchers. The basic idea is that being a Halachic Jew outside of Israel is only easy providing you reside in a very specific neighborhood, a luxury which is not necessarily affordable for all Jews. In many a city the Jewish ghetto, and that is what they actually are even if gilded, does not resemble a ghetto and can be very pricey. In Israel, being a Halachic Jew is possible in every price neighborhood.

 

Another reason there can only be one Judaism and that it must be Halachic as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is because the big century-long experiment with cafeteria Judaism has failed and failed miserably. Tailoring Judaism to each fancy will lead to only one thing, no Judaism. Yes, a congregation of Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, Jews can be held together most often by the Rabbi leading it. But what happens after the founding Rabbi? Does the next Rabbi have the strength of personality to hold everyone to the exact standards? Will the next Rabbi have that ability as well? Eventually the congregants will seek different Rabbis and each time the rules will be altered, weakened just enough to fit the new desires and demands of each successive congregation. The freedom initially taken to alter Halacha leads only one place, no Halacha just as the Reform movement proved. Sure the Torat Chayim, Open Orthodox or Progressive Orthodox, will claim that theirs is a different system and that it can hold the line. The problem is they have already proven they cannot hold the line as their own ordained Rabbis have allowed same-sex marriages and are now calling for an allowance to be made for intermarriage. Where now are they going to stop? The best bet is they will simply be the next revolution and will be exactly the same as Reform Judaism was except their decay from Halachic Law will be faster and more detrimental to Judaism than was the Reform movement. That is why Israel needs only one Chief Rabbi and Judaism only needs one Halacha.

 

All we wish to say is, “Judaism is One Religion for One People in One Nation with One Chief Rabbi.”

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 27, 2017

But it is All Relative These Days

 

What if I told you that a one dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill were all the same? You would likely call to arrange psychological help for me for my own good thinking I had a screw loose or you might try to trade as many one dollar bills for any hundred dollar bills I might have. But the reality is that the difference is all relative, the hundred dollar bill is worth, relatively, one-hundred one dollar bills. How about something a little less obvious for our second try? What if I told you there really is no difference between worshiping G-d and worshiping the Devil and that the two have basically equal effect on our society as you do all of your worship alone or with fellow worshipers thus it really does not matter. Again, it is all relative. Let us try that there is actually little difference between same sex marriages and hetero-gendered marriages. It is basically the same, relatively. Or what if we claim that a person should be permitted to behave as whatever gender they feel they are and that whatever biological gender they are born is of no real consequence because it is all about being comfortable with your identity. Further, we have to accept that people who believe they were born the wrong gender must be permitted to use the bathroom of the gender they choose to be and not the one their birth gender dictates because, once again, it is all about their being comfortable with their choices. What does it matter to you if some woman believes they’re a man and use the men’s room or a man who believes they should have been born a woman uses the women’s room? It is all relative and no business of anybody else and who are any of us to decide what is normal and right. To make any deal of such things just proves how narrow minded so many people in our society happen to be and it is a kind of gender-fascism to deny these people the right to act as they choose. We all need to adjust and make room for people of choice, for that is what these people are, people of choice. And who’s to say if they might choose tomorrow to be their birth gender for a couple of hours and then switch back and forth depending on their mood every morning, it’s none of our business, right? These are the latest demands the progressive gender police are now demanding, whatever anyone chooses, gay, straight or bi-sexual, male as female or female as male or one who likes to be both by the whim of the moment and any other gender, racial, nationality, religion or whatever else is selectable, we must all simply accept whatever we are presented with as a choice and ignore the facts right in front of us. Nothing is beyond the norm and there is no normal any longer and those who decide the right and wrong of everything are insisting that we just get used to it and learn to live with these new realities.

 

Well, pardon me but I am having just a little more difficulty with these demands as they continue to get more and more ridiculous. I was able to accept the sexual preference with the ever-growing sexual deviances which I believe are somewhere around LGBTQ and perhaps tonight there will be a couple more letters added before dawn. That was all something which we all might be capable of living with as it had little to do with our everyday lives and it never hurts being polite and unquestioning and accepting people as they were in their private life. But things could not be left like this and instead things, as usual, had to be pressed further and further. Many people, and probably rightfully so, got all bent out of shape about the anybody can use whatever bathroom they feel like using simply because that is how they feel that moment. This means that some three-hundred-seventy-seven-pound man can feel dainty some morning so he can just cruise on into the local gym and use the women’s locker-room and shower with the ladies, no problem, because that is just how he feels that morning. OK, so that is the example everyone uses. Let us try a different one. Your sixteen-year-old daughter has a fight with her boyfriend and in a fit of pique, she decides she will get him good so she decides to be a boy today and goes to gym with the boys and bares it all in the shower just because she felt rejected. That is a little different, isn’t it? But it was her right to choose and we are not supposed to question these things. That bring us to the question, how in all that is unholy did things get this absolutely bat crazy? Whose idea was all of this and why did society allow this to get where it is? The answer is anything but friendly because the reason is ourselves. Some of this was the mainline story in the recent PBS special event titled “Real Boy” about a female who desired to be a boy and how we must support those we know who might have such thoughts. Reason with them, counseling them, anything other than total support for their delusions are all but a criminal act punishable by societal casting one out.

 

PBS “Real Boy”

PBS “Real Boy”

 

We the people have been asleep far too long. While we were complacent, another word for asleep, those whose desire to change our entire civilization and leave nothing which has been valued by the culture most of us live with and only desires to continue living with, but that was not good enough for these people. They have some design where they wish to take our society which required the destruction of all the world held holy. These people have this hatred for the history and the morality it carried with it. Their hatred includes all that aligned with Judeo-Christianity. I know that a number of my readers are rolling their eyes saying here we go again. Well, unfortunately, a little and only as much as necessary. It is not us who are the problem, but the people whose desire is to transform the society because they despise everything which normal members of society stands for and they insist that everything must go. They have ever since been holding a fire sale where all morals must go and be replaced with an any and every thing goes society simply because that is what they demand. Where did they get the standards for their “new morality,” you inquire. Well, let me take a guess here. I think it might have been in their anthropology course on ancient societal norms and religious rites. They were likely fond of the freedom allowed by these ancient idolatrous societies and perhaps became enamored by the entirety of the lifestyle.

 

Whatever, perhaps it was the professors who decided that they wanted to have this and put an end to the tyranny of the Church. That was the wording I remember from the comparative societal evolution course or some other garbage. I was a mathematics major and needed what I thought was an easy elective to boost my GPA. Well, the course was easy enough once I realized all I had to do was compromise every principle of normalcy and repeat the mantra that modern religious morality was the worst development of humankind which ruined everything good that the world had going. Free love and the ability to use human sacrifice to get rid of anybody who was not with the program was the theme of the course. The professor really believed that Christianity was an evil and that G-d was a corrupt concept and that morality was a choke collar placed there by the first pope and it needed to be removed and this could be performed through societal revolution. What was frightening was the number of students who lapped up every word of how the natural state of humankind was hedonism with as few rules as possible, and with people like the professor in charge. The problem is now those students are the professors and they are stoking a revolution and it is traveling at light speed and invading Western society. This is not the first generation to try and replace Judeo-Christian society with barbarism; there were many previous attempts through the ages. One such person can be seen stating this obvious idea that humankind was not supposed to live morally but free from morals and this man was going to free humankind from Jewish conscience and Christian morality (see video below).

 

 

Yes, that was kind of unexpected by many, but this is the ideals that too many of the social science professors are pushing to their charges in those colleges and universities which parents are spiting out and wasting ten upon tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars so their innocent children can become productive members of society. Instead they are being indoctrinated to be revolutionaries who are going to change society and return humankind to their proper place freed from the new immorality, normalcy. They are being taught that everything which was right and proper for their parents’ generation is wrong and that they are to be the new societal leaders and are to bring the new morality to the people. They are to be the liberators freeing humankind from false prophets and the immoral conscience which has burdened Western society for the last two-thousand years. They are being told that the wave of the new normal has made great strides in the past fifty years and that now is their time to finish what their predecessors, their professors have started. This is the propaganda which has been the food for thought in far too many college and university classrooms in the humanities and soft-sciences. Where this will eventually end up is anybody’s guess. The truth is that all the gains made by society since Abraham broke the idols in his families’ store before leaving his homeland and moving to what would become the Promised Land are being destroyed by those who are driving with all the thought and tools at their disposal to return humankind to the worship of Baal. Where will it end?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 11, 2017

Israel in Need of an Internal Revolution

 

There are some who believe that Israel should form a committee to draft a Constitution which then should be voted upon by the citizenry. There are those who call for a simple change in how appointments are made to positions such as Judges, Attorney General, Police Commanders, Military Commanders and other political and justice and enforcement positions. There are many who are calling for Israel to annex all or parts of Judea and Samaria. Some are demanding that the Palestinian Authority be dissolved and its leadership and most of the security forces be deported. There are some calling for the office of Prime Minister to be determined by direct elections instead of by whichever political party receives the most number of seats and forms the coalition as they claim this results in granting excessive power to the Prime Minister as his party also controls the parliament and can prevent legislation from being considered at his whim. There are those demanding that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) be more religious soldier friendly touting the infractions being imposed upon far too many religious soldiers which force them to choose between a good performance review and their religious ethics as often their training or activities present conditions which break Halachic Laws, and the military command is fully aware of these difficulties and are using them to drive religious soldiers from the ranks of the military and particularly from the officer corps. When religious officers reach the rank of Major they often face opposition and malice intended to drive them from the service and they face selected distrust which robs them of any possibility for further promotions as the Central Command seeks to retain their secular purity. All of these disparate forms of revolutions are simply pieces of the problems which could all be remedied through the efforts of one group of people from within the Israeli population; the Rabbinate.

 

The first step needed would be the unification of the position of Chief Rabbi. I am far from the sole Israeli Jew who has one parent who is Ashkenazi and the other who is Sephardi. With such a divide, while leaving the rule that my Father automatically is used as the determinative factor, despite in my case that my Mother was more involved in my religious education; such individuals will often have a clash if they marry opposite their father, be he Ashkenazi or Sephardi, with a wife knowledgeable of the opposite set of rules. An example comes next week during Pesach concerning whether or not one may have rice, for example. Still, with the number of intermarriage between Ashkenazi and Sephardi youth, the number of Jews who will not look at Judaism as much as being bipolar as Ashkenazi and Sephardi. Making such an alteration will require unifying Judaism such that there is a single prayerbook, a single set service, a single Kashrut standard which is accepted by all the now disparate Rabbinate factions. This will require many of our leading and most respected Rabbis to come together and reach an agreement which will make all of them relatively and equally uncomfortable with the final set of rules, prayers, prayer services, Hebrew language and a merging of Jewish history such that the story of all the branches are interwoven into a single story. This will leave everybody upset with the results and pointing to some fact here or there bemoaning that such an important event which occurred in Kutná Hora in what is now the Czech Republic or el Kharga Oasis in Ancient Egypt has been omitted from the combined histories. Yes, we picked these locations completely at random and any similarities to events or descriptions are purely coincidental. If the numbers of complaints are relatively equal from all angles, then the stories and other merging events are likely being performed correctly and with careful considerations. These are events which will be happening behind the scenes except for the merging of the positions of Chief Rabbinates into one office covering every Jew making a giant step towards the unification of Judaism at least within Israel.

 

Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic or el Kharga Oasis in Ancient Egypt

Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic
or el Kharga Oasis in Ancient Egypt

 

All of these steps are in preparation for making a change in Israel which will take a great effort from the entire Rabbinate, each and every member from every faction working often in conjunction with one another for a maximum effect. Israel is in need of a spiritual awakening. She has been becoming a more religious nation with a greater percentage of the population attending daily services and living Torah observant lives. There are those who are returning into the Torah observance whose lives sometimes slip but are making strides. Meanwhile others are becoming Torah observant for the first time in their lives or the first time in years after leaving such a lifestyle either while in the military, university, workforce or simply having left their parents’ house. The challenge for such individuals vary with some facing having to learn for the first time a wholly new way of living and sometimes struggling in the process. These people and the secular Jewish population require more assistance than most with encouragements and gentle assistances. They will require education and reinforcement until the religious life becomes almost, if not completely natural. The greatest challenge will be introducing the secular Jewish population to a religious life in a natural and unthreatening way. What such efforts would require, you ask. It would need for the Rabbinate, every Rabbi, to spend time being more public in their lives and leading a life which invites people to follow their examples and piques their interests. They also will be required to be approachable and open to people and affable such that people will feel comfortable seeking them out for information and guidance. This will also require Torah observant practices to be instituted as to what would be considered appropriate and inappropriate activities, actions, practices and situations for members of the general Rabbinate to engage in. Many in the Rabbinate will require further education on the acceptable and preferred means for approaching people and guiding them back to their faith. Some in the Rabbinate may be found inarticulate or otherwise unable to perform adequately and will need assignments in other areas perhaps teaching or administrative. The entire Rabbinate will need be brought under a single administrative effort.

 

Temple Institute concept for what building the Third Temple in modern day Jerusalem would appear like from a distance with modern buildings of Jerusalem in the background. May their vision and this concept figure become fact and fulfill our desires for unity and a single Temple and House for Hashem in our midst. May this dream be fulfilled before the next Ninth of Av so our lament will be lessened.

Temple Institute concept for what building the Third Temple in modern day Jerusalem would appear like from a distance with modern buildings of Jerusalem in the background. May their vision and this concept figure become fact and fulfill our desires for unity and a single Temple and House for Hashem in our midst. May this dream be fulfilled before the next Ninth of Av so our lament will be lessened.

 

There will also be a need that the Oral Law be reinstituted as an Oral Code which will be written but also updated, altered and mediated periodically with the Rabbinate choosing from amongst their ranks those they consider best suited to make wise and meaningful changes at set intervals, perhaps every three of five years. Once all these programs are in place and everything arranged neatly and actually functioning, then the people of Israel can consider returning to life as intended by Torah with the adjustments and changes initiated under the new Oral Law. There are things which will require large alterations such as the sacrifices as Israel is no longer a sleepy little agrarian society as it was three millennia ago. Instead of a King we will likely maintain an elected democratic and possibly even Parliamentary form of governance but with the single alteration that there will be a higher office than Prime Minister or President, that of the Cohen Gadol (Heb.כהן גדול), the head priest. Once these changes have been accomplished there will be one last item which will have become unavoidable by this point, the rebuilding of the Temple, the Beit HaMikdash (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ‎) in Jerusalem. Long before we complete these changes the annexation of all of Judea and Samaria will have long been settled and completed and the world will have come to accept it as fait accompli. Should this transformation take place and Israel return to being the central home of the Israelite Jewish People living a Torah observant lifestyle, by and large, this will solve many of the problems currently faced by Israel and odd as it may at first appear, it will also make the world a better place with time.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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