Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Why the difficulty with messianic Jews and not secular Jews?

Greetings all,

A reader asked me the following questions:

"In respect of  Messianic Jews it seems that  that most (all?)  Jews see them as no longer Jews, is that correct? But why do religious Jews not say the same about  Secular Jews? I have always thought that  being a Jew is passed down through havinf a Jewish mother, so if you can inherit it (unlike Christianity), how do you lose it?"
My answer:

Firstly you are correct that a Jew is Jewish if your mother is Jewish, also if you convert to Judaism you are considered to be Jewish as anyone born Jewish. We follow this because it is part of the Oral Torah which Moses received at the same time as the written Torah of the Bible. I appreciate that Christianity rejects the notion of the Oral Torah, but Jesus (being a good Jew) did not c.f. Matthew 23:1-3 ,Mark 2: 23-27& Matthew 5: 17-20. Also we see that this law was already in practice in other parts of the Bible: in Ezra the Jewish men were told to send their wives and children back to Babylon because they were considered to be non jewish, not Jewish women being told to send back their husbands and children.

Secondly. I also understand secular Jewish atheists who are observant for cultural or family reasons. That's a distinctive feature of Judaism, a nation and a community, fused into a religion which permeates every aspect of oneself and life. We are more than a group of religious believers, but a global family. And to me family and community are key aspects of Judaism. We don't turn our back on family and therefore we shouldn't turn our backs or force them out, that those who struggle with God, with beliefs, but who wish to still be in the tent, however, it is quite clear that messianic Jews don't fit into this category.

Thirdly. A Jew who believes in Jesus as his/her “Lord and Saviour" has become a Christian. Even if not a formal member of a church group that person is a Christian theologically. The halacha (B.T. Sanhedrin 44a) recognizes the biologic link to the Jewish people as inviolate, but also recognizes that as long as one remains an apostate one is not considered to be part of the Jewish community. A willing convert to Christianity, whether formally or informally, forfeits his/her legal and social rights, which express a Jew’s belonging to the Jewish people. A Jew must meet, actively or inactively (e.g. a secular Jew), the fundamental biblical stipulation: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7). God declares: “I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

I've come to appreciate that one can never fully understand God, I believe a rabbi one said "if I knew him, I would be him"(Judah ha Levi) and as it is written:

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how life enters the body being formed in the mother's womb, so you cannot understand the works of God, the maker of all things"(Ecclesiastes 11:5).

But follow God and his commandments are nonetheless the thing for a Jew to do. A concluding thought to ponder. Does God prefer the most pious person, who observes the rituals and believes with dogmatic precision, but acts in a shameful fashion or the one who just tries with all of their heart? That to me is the difference between secular Jews and messianic Jews. But for all we are to bring them ALL back to the fold and help them become observant of the Torah. It is incumbent to hear the words of Ezekiel when he lamented "Those who went astray you did not return and the lost you did not seek "(Ezekiel 34:4).

New Year reflections

Greetings all,

Today in the secular calender is New Year's Eve, which we shall be quietly celebrating because tomorrow in the Jewish calender is a fast day (great timing eh?).But whilst we are on the subject of  new year, I guess I shall leave it to the floor to discuss resolutions, predictions for the forthcoming year. I don't have any, because there's little point in giving resolutions you can't keep and who knows what's going to happen. Having said that , I do have the feedback from my previous post and I hope next year I will be able to write about some of the topics mentioned.

Happy (secular) new year folks.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Dave's back!!

Well ..... I intend to start the blog up again, after my sister and bro decided they'd branch out on their own again(which is fair enough). Anyone got any topics you'd like me to write about, please leave in the comments thread below and I shall pen a few posts.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I hadn't forgotten....

.... that tonight in 1938, one of the most infamous pogroms occurred. I wasn't sure if I wanted to discuss this,  as I often get lost for words and my emotions, especially anger and hurt, get the better of me. However, my sister has put her brief thoughts down in a way I can't on subjects such as this one, here.

Events to remember

Greetings all,

There are 2 things to reflect about today.

The first is the remembrance day, in which Britain remembers the fallen of 2 world wars and the wars Britain has fought since, especially pertinent during this year's 100th anniversary of the start of world war I.

The second-which seems like only yesterday- is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of Socialism in eastern Germany, the eventual reunification of Germany and the end of the cold war.

I will leave readers to think about these events in the comments thread below.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

If i were a rich man....

Greetings all,

 I switched on the radio and if classic song was being played! So I thought I'd share it here.


I've been absent from here for a while, in part because it is our holiday season& therefore my eye has been on other matters and partly because I'm reflecting on the direction this blog should be. I haven't gone away. I am just contemplating the future.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The future British isles?

Okay , so this  was a prank. But it's the  reality  of a yes  vote, isn't  it??

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Atheism, observance and orthodoxy


David here,

This is something written elsewhere, but as it is on my heart, I thought I'd reproduce it here, for my own readership to ponder. The context is about how atheist  Jews in the orthodox community continue to observe Judaism, for community and family reasons, but no longer believe in God (albeit the atheism isn't public).

 This was my response:

I don't feel I fit into the categories mentioned, but I would say I'm a Jew first and foremost, of the Sephardic tradition, who believes in God and specifically the God of the Tanakh. I do have theological issues with taking all of the bible literally, such as a talking donkey, a talking serpent, a flying and talking scroll,  a six day creation et al. I  have had personal issues from the past where I have often questioned the almighty and been somewhat estranged from him, but I do see this questioning as part of the Jewish tradition. 

 I've come to appreciate that one can never fully understand God,  I believe a rabbi one said "if I knew him, I would be him"(Judah ha Levi) and as it is written:

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how life enters the body being formed in the mother's womb, so you cannot understand the works of God, the maker of all things"(Ecclesiastes).

I also understand atheists who are observant for cultural or family reasons. That's a distinctive feature of Judaism, a nation and a community, fused into a religion which permeates every aspect of oneself and life. We are more than a group of religious believers, but a global family. And to me family and community are key aspects of Judaism. We don't turn our back on  family and therefore we shouldn't turn our backs or force them out, that those who struggle with God, with beliefs, but who wish to still be in the tent. I think one of the US presidents, Lyndon Johnson made a quip about tents and people shouting out, rather than into the tent.

A concluding thought to ponder. Does God prefer the most pious person, who observes the rituals and believes with dogmatic precision, but acts in a shameful fashion or the one who just tries with all of their heart?


Monday, 8 September 2014

Mazel Tov to the royal family!

Hi all

Hannah here!

Congratulations to the duke and duchess of Cambridge, who is preggers again!

I just love the royal family.Never do get why people  want to make Britain a republic. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thoughts on Gaza

David here,

So there is a cease-fire agreement in place between Israel and Hamas.  For Israel a lot has been achieved, such as destroying the terrorist tunnels and hitting the terrorist cells hard. But there has been a cost on lives and money: $2.5 billion, 70 Israeli dead and 2,000 Gazans, not all terrorists have lost their lives.

Then  there is the backlash against the Jewish diaspora community, the terrible relationship between Israel and the US... and seemingly most media outside of Israel was hostile to her. Bibi's popularity has slumped, despite overwhelming support for the war in Israel, his cabinet seems quite divided.

So no one comes out a clear winner. But for the various parties involved, my personal view is that Israel stopped too early, probably due to US and European pressures. However much  this has effected the political landscape, it won't alter the fact Hamas is still there.  Sooner or later, when they've rearmed they will start to attack Israel again. The cycle will continue until Hamas is gone or Israel. And it won't be Israel disappearing.

Thoughts on Iraq

David here,

Whilst I want to get back to some discussions on Judaism on this blog, I do feel I want to put this one up for discussion and debate.

Should Britain join America in intervention in Iraq to combat IS? And is it enough to carry out air strikes, will we need to face up to the fact we will have in send in ground troops? What is the strategy and how will we walk away?

I don't have a answer to these, at least not answers I like!

My heart says yes, but my brain says no. My head tells me it would be a bloody non winnable conflict. My heart sees the genocide and murder and wants to strike at this evil with all the might the Allies have.

Difficult choices, difficult decisions. But that is why we elect Parliaments and Presidents, to make difficult decisions, not to duck them.

What do readers think?

Double standards of The West

David here,

Right, let's get the double standards o meter out here. Two of the big topics at this NATO meeting will be:the situation in the Ukraine and the situation in Iraq. I'm focusing on Ukraine in this article.

The West has been furious for Russian intervention in the east of the country and the annexation of Crimea the intervention was on the grounds that these people consider themselves Russian and don't feel well treated by the rest of Ukraine. Now these rebels have apparently committed war crimes, yet there have been zero demonstrations in London about this or about Russian intervention in the region. Ah well, it's because it's not Israel is it?

Western governments have been sanctioning Russia as a result. But why? They expect Israel to forfeit a capital and a lot of land for peace, in order to create a Palestinian state, because of some idea of Palestinian self determination.  I get this and this post isn't really about whether or not one agrees with this or not. What is important is to note the double standards.If Palestine has to be created out of Israel, so the Palestinian people can have a state, then why can't eastern Ukraine have a stay in  be reunited with Russia? Why are we allowing a vote in Scotland for independence and denying this idea for the Russians of eastern Ukraine? Why shouldn't Israel rule what the west says is Palestine, when they are saying  the non Russian western Ukraine  should rule the Russian half?

Is it just me or is this whole idea of  national self determination,just an arbitrary concept, based upon however one feels about a particular country?? To my mind if we agree that Palestine should be a country and that Scotland has a right to decide its own fate, then let the people of eastern Ukraine do the same. Get rid of the cold war attitude. We've got other wars to fight. And a war with Russia isn't one of them.

Latest musings

Esther here,

New post up here

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bizarre conspiracy theory

David here,

This is one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories via the J Post -

Israel and the United States are responsible for creating the Islamic State phenomenon, former Cuban president Fidel Castro is quoted as saying on Wednesday.The 88-year-old former ruler also attacked McCain, Israel's "most unconditional ally."Castro alleged that[Senator John]McCain, “together with [Mossad, conspired] in the creation of the Islamic State, which today controls a considerable and vital portion of Iraq and reportedly one-third of Syria as well.”

What? Has the world just got even crazier or is it just me.

posted at my place


Esther here. I've put a post up to discuss the antisemitism rally held on Sunday, here

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Greetings all,

David here.

Well I'm finally back into the grove, after a long summer break, we had a fantastic time and I can't believe we are now in September and the start of the autumn months (that's fall to my American readers). Came back to 1,455 emails, which have taken a week to clear. The most annoying ones are those you get from " co workers"(guess which business partner of mine has been on one of those American management courses!)  Are those that give you a lot of useless information, that you simply don't need to know,  especially the routine maintenance of the building, by our outsourced facilities ' team',about every last detail that they are up to, sometimes one wonders when these office geniuses are going to start copying to everyone that they are just popping out to the toilet or a cigarette break. Such is the joy of office work and being one of the bosses, and of course I really do appreciate all of the staff :).

But enough about my tales of woe. I've got a few things I am going to write about on this blog, however, I always appreciate feedback. So what would the readership like me to address in forthcoming weeks? This doesn't have to be specific, it could be about a theme or subject. Of course I'm not going to turn the blog into one about knitting or anything like that, but I'm sure you all get where I am coming from here.

Well it is great to be back, any way.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Shabbat Shalom

Greetings All, David here,

Well I'm back after a break. Much to review, but Shabbat dawns.I therefore wish everyone a Shabbat Shalom and a good Shabbos.


Si observo el Shabat, Dios me protegerá.
Es una señal eterna entre Él y yo.

Está prohibido cargar objetos
emprender viajes, o hablar de
asuntos corrientes, de asuntos
comerciales y de temas del reino.
Sólo meditaré en la Torá de Dios,
que me dará sabiduría.

Releeré la Torá de Dios que
me hará más sabio.
En ella encontraré paz para mi alma.
Así como para la primera generación
mi santo Dios hizo un milagro,
otorgándoles pan doble, así mismo
duplicará mi comida cada viernes.

Dios dictó una ley religiosa que
prescribe la presentación del Pan
de Proposición.
Por eso, está prohibido torturarse,
según los sabios, excepto en el
Día del Perdón (Yom Kippur).

Es un día que impone respeto,
un día para deleitarse, de pan y
buen vino, de carne y pescado.
Los que estén alegres ese día
conseguirán la alegría.
Porque es un día en el que Dios
me llena de felicidad.

If I observe the Shabat, God will protect me
It is an eternal sign between Him and me.

It is forbidden to carry objects
undertake journeys or talk of everyday events,
commercial affairs and even things of the kingdom.
I will only meditate on the Torah of God,
which will give me wisdom.

I will re-read the Torah of God which will make me wiser.
In it I will find peace for my soul.
Just as for the first generation my holy God performed
a miracle, giving them double bread,
in the same way He will duplicate my food every Friday.

God gave us a religious law which prescribes
the presentation of the Bread of Proposition.
That is why its is forbidden to torture oneself
according to the wise men, except on the Day of
Atonement (Yom Kippur).

It is a day which demands respect,
a day to take delight,
in bread and good wine, in meat and fish.
Those who are happy on that day will find happiness
because it is a day when God fills me with happiness.

Abraham ibn Ezra
(Rabbi Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra/Abenezra)
(Tudela, 1092 / Calahorra, 1167)

Friday, 15 August 2014

Shabbat thread

Is posted at my place this week (:

click this link


Friday, 8 August 2014

Shabbat Thread

Hi All,

Hannah here !!

Share away on this weeks events, Torah reading or whatever else it is that you want to talk about.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hashem remember Zion & Babylon

David Here,

Whilst I am winding down for my holiday next week, I wanted to make a brief post about this one. 

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion".
Psalm Chapter 137

I have posted a little about Iraq and ISIS on this blog  & what they are doing to the  people there, specifically the minorities of Iraq; as regulars will know my mother was born an Iraqi Jew, just before we were sent packing out of that country . 

As I've noted before, there are no longer any Jews for ISIS to kill in Iraq, so they are instead focusing on Christians & now a religion called Yazidis. Christians are having their homes marked to signify  that they are Christians, others are being forced to convert or die : the Yazidis are being driven to mountains and left to starve to death. This is genocide. Yet the 'world' is silent, the UN is deafeningly so, the media hardly makes a whimper. They are too consumed with attacking Israel for 'war crimes', whilst the real war criminals, who have an identical agenda to Hamas- that is a global fundamentalist Caliphate- leave human beings to die like wild animals. This is appalling. I think we have reached one of the low ebbs of hypocrisy here .

But the west won't intervene or the UN won't go on about war crimes. There is simply isn't the will to spend time, money, effort and soldier's lives on the people of Iraq. People are sick to death of wars in foreign lands (there is a famous quote from Neville Chamberlain about that when he agreed to Munich, if someone could find it for me?).  Furthermore there is no identification with Christians or any other religion in the secular west, people simply don't identify with anyone who claims a religious label, let alone Christianity, but then the people of the west don't even seem to identify with Israel anymore, which is in effect a secular republic (the reason is of course because Israel specifically calls itself the Jewish state, which to secular ears is 'racist' and not multicultural enough). There is also, I believe,  a fear among elites of provoking another Islamic 'street' backlash against intervention in a Muslim land,whatever the nobility of the cause of intervention in Iraq. 

Final thought is that military planners will advise anyone who wishes to send a gun boat to Iraq, they could be faced with a UN or ICC war crimes trial. Why?Because what Hamas have done in Gaza, ISIS will do in Iraq. The 10,000 or so of them are basically plain clothes thugs with guns. They will simply encamp to the nearest city, fire at anything than comes into their way. In this scenario it would be difficult to target ISIS and not kill civilians. The media, the UN and anyone else you care to mention would shift the war from a humanitarian one, to 'western imperialism', 'war crimes against civilians', 'a grab for the oil', etc etc. That is why the US/UK/Europe will do SFA. It is terrible. I do not like it. 

I ask myself  What will it take for the west to take notice of  the spread of militant Islamic organisations like ISIS and tackle them ? When we have a couple of thousand armed gangs in our own streets, bullying their own community into their particular fanatical version of their religion and persecuting/killing everyone else? When  it is in Paris? London? New York? (and at least the US citizens can protect themselves, because they have the right to bear arms).  What will the west do then? 

I do not want to conclude on this note, though, for there are many practical things that people can do, such as supporting various charities involved here (I don't have a list, but if some one can up this up on the comments thread , I'd grateful). Above all, we can Daven (pray) and say Psalms in this situation, as we have done and continue to do for our own Jewish community, the IDF and Israel and see the time when : 

'Out of Zion shall go forth Torah,
and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.'

(Isaiah Chapter 2) 

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Is it is over... it seems to be over.... for now

David here,

I am taking a quick dive back into blogging, for this article.

It looks like the current military conflict is Gaza is coming to an end or at least  a long pause, whilst some form of ceasefire is arranged between the 2 sides in Cairo. It has been a tough fight, one in which many Israelis & Palestinians died, not because of Israeli 'imperialism', but because of the sheer intransigence of Hamas. Millions of pounds of aid were misspent by terrorists building these tunnels and the resources of Gaza were all ploughed into projects, not for the welfare of the territories people, but for terrorists purposes. To be sure Israel has NOT overthrown the terrorist regime, which would have been my aim. I can appreciate why Israel did not do so, for various strategic and political reasons. My only fear is that in a couple of years, if not months, this whole thing will happen again, as the terror network is still there .But at least the tunnels are gone and Hamas have been dealt a severe blow.

In respect of the Palestinian threat to join the ICC : this is an utter joke. Not that Israel should recognise this kangaroo court, but  even if it did, I doubt the Pals will go for this, other than by way as a negotiating chip. Why? Well put simply the reason why so many in the west fall for Palestinian propaganda is because the media like 'real time' information and the Hamas give them that, or more accurately lies and utterly ridiculous lies at that. The IDF is often slow to rebut these charges, because they are a modern western PROFESSIONAL fighting force and therefore do thorough investigations when things apparently go wrong, have armies of lawyers, investigators etc  & most of the time when reports are issued, we often see half of what has been claimed by the UN/media/Hamas is a load of distorted and twisted untruths, but by that time the media circus has moved on, so the mud and propaganda victory sticks with one side . The problems for the Pals is that all of this is kept and documented by the IDF, so their lies would be exposed in the full glare of reality if it ever went to a court (not, note, that it should, as Israel has no case to answer anyway).

As for the impact on this for British politics, I won't comment as such on this, because that is my brother Sam's patch (read his blog here). All I will say is that this war has yet again exposed some ugly latent anti-semitism , which is sad because the bulk of the British population- the silent majority- are with Israel and against the terrorists. That we have idiots like the liberal democrats calling for an arms embargo and voter (Islamic) grubbing fools like the Labour party is unfortunate. And then there is Lady "principle" Warsi, to which one asks where was your principle on other occasions it was called for when it comes to 'morally indefensible' outrages ? 

Finally, as ever, we must thank the men and women of the IDF, the young flowers of Israel, who have had to do the fighting to protect the Jewish homeland. Our thoughts are with those who have not come back. May they not be forgotten. As we have said in Britain on Monday, "they gave their today, for our tomorrow". 

G-d bless you all.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Summer Hiatus

David Here,

Next week I'm taking my immediate family on a 2 week holiday or 'vacation'. I feel like I need a break. Only problem is, the first 2 nights we are staying in, ahem, Paris. Which should be a fun experience. But seriously, I'm looking forward to my holiday (which for those who don't do humour means we're not actually going to Paris). 

Therefore during the next 3 weeks, this blog will be extremely light in terms of comment and posts for the next couple of weeks. In order that you don't miss out, I'd recommend you follow us by e-mail.  I will admit that constantly posting on this and other blogs since February has knackered me, on top of my job and duties as a husband. I will be back sometime in September, so I hope to see you all then.  Also you can check out other blogs that my brothers and sisters write as well. They will post here to let you know of these.

Hashem bless you all and until September, I remain yours 


Friday, 1 August 2014

This weeks Shabbat Thread

Dudes, Sam here.

You know the drill. Share away on this weeks events, Torah reading or whatever else it is that you want to talk about.

PS- my own blog is here if anyone is interested in reading it.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

A one state solution ?

Over at rationalist Judaism, Rabbi Slifkin has noted that the recent conflict in Gaza has seriously called into question (at least presumably in Israel) of the 'one state solution' ,see his article here.

I have to admit a couple of years ago, in fact until recently I harboured a belief in the 2 state solution. My opinion is gradually changing toward a one state solution in which Israel officially annexes the West Bank, Gaza and Golan as the only possible solution. My rationale for this is in part based on Rabbi Slifkin's arguments in the article, but more widely that Israel simply cannot be secure without practically controlling the borders, airspace and a military presence in any Palestine state, ergo Palestine would be nothing other than a client state of Israel at best; at worst it would be seen as an 'occupation' by another method. The idea of a one state solution does create issues in itself, as I noted in the comments, to to which I will further add on this post  and  elaborate on, after  giving the matter some further thought  : 

  • What will Israel do with the Arab population?
  • Could the WB be given some form of self rule, but with Israel in control of the security and foreign policy ? (probably wouldn't work and would be decried as a 'Bantustan').
  • Should the Arabs of the disputed territories be given, like those in 'Israel proper', full  Israeli citizenship? Logically this would make sense.
  • If they are given full citizenship where will this leave the demographics of the world's only Jewish state? OK, even if the hereditary 'refugees' are  given citizenship of the countries they currently live in and granting Israeli citizenship only applied to people living in the 'disputed territories', that would still significantly reduce the Jewish majority. However, at present there is somewhat of a baby boom going on in Israel; as Israeli women are conscripted into the army and then have children later on in life,which plays havoc with traditional demographic predictions and of course Israel could soon see the arrival of 600,000 Jews from France. So whilst demographics are an issue, I don't see them as being  a total stumbling bloc to a one state solution.
  • Would points 3 and 4  not lead to a Yugoslavia or Syrian situation, i.e. a permanent aggrieved minority, who have traditionally be taught to hate Israelis & eventually lead to the destruction of Israel being a homeland for Jews? 
  • Alternatively, could the Arab population be given compensation and money to relocate in other Arab countries (again another logical choice) in which they would feel more comfortable with? Be reminded that after the Gulf war Kuwait unilaterally expelled 400,000 Palestinians from its territory, but without compensation or help to relocate. In this idea we would be talking about voluntarily relocation with cash and support. So the idea is not as horrendous as it sounds.
  • Would this relocation work? 
  •  Who will pay for this relocation? 
  • How will Israel persuade its biggest ally, the USA, of the merits of this plan, given that the US is officially committed to the idea of a 2 state solution? 
  • How will the other Arab states be induced to accept this plan? 
  •  Am I wrong  to even consider this as a serious alternative to a 2 state solution? 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

For the UNRWA, with love...

Judaism into the C of E?

David here, 

It seems to that my sister Hannah  has been thinking (always an interesting sign) about the possible reunification of Judaism and using the Church of England as a model (don't worry, she did ask me to post a response to these ideas)  : 
' the problem of a national state religion depends upon the culture you are in. I'll give my country, England, as an example; England has a national Church with Bishops in the Parliament, but we are hardly a theocracy like Iran. When Henry VIII created the Church of England and broke away from Rome there resulted about 100 years of war, strife and persecution on and off, back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism . That was bad. But eventually the C of E became a giant moderated compromise of the different brands of Christianity (Catholic, Evangelical and Liberal) , because the English had had enough of extremist religion in the form of the Puritans of Cromwell. & of course, eventually, non Anglicans obtained tolerance and then political rights, Catholics got the vote and Jews re-entered the country after a decade of civil war in 1656. Today the Anglican or Episcopalian Church is seen as one of the most moderate brands of Christianity. Could not Judaism do the same? So, imagine if Sephardi, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform were all in one grouping .The problem with Israel is that Israel has surrendered the Rabbinicate to the worst excesses of Haredi Judaism- a distinct minority in Judaism. That is the problem, not religion per se.'
We can ignore the sweep of history here and also overlook the fact that the Anglican Church, precisely because it wields together numerous fractions into one body, often divisive fractions at that, it always seems somewhat incoherent & about to tear itself apart. 

But is she right or wrong? Should we put aside our various traditions for the sake of greater unity or just accept the current status quo of agree to disagree with our religious differences, but be united when it comes to defending the overall 'arch' of Judaism in respect to Israel, male circumcision, kosher slaughter and general Jewish welfare ?

I agree that SOME form of 'reformation' of the Israeli Rabbincate is required, but is this a step too far for Orthodoxy? Or is the idea of, say, restoring a Sanhedrin of  Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Sephardi Rabbis & Sages too much to happen before the coming of Messiah? And to add to this, do we not have to wait until Messiah comes for a new Sanhedrin and then a new Temple in Jerusalem? Or should we at least seek to be more co-operative between Jewish traditions and denominations, even as we acknowledge in maturity our glaring theological differences?  

Monday, 28 July 2014

Reflections on Gaza, 20 days later

Are we under siege ? 

In the European diaspora with the pogroms in France, the increasing anti-semitic attacks in Britain, the feeling in Germany's Jews that' it is 1938 again', a brutal attack on a Rabbi in Morocco,the calling by elements of the Turkish press for Turkey's Jews to collectively 'apologise' for Gaza, along with their Prime Minister's (an apparent NATO ally) outrageous remarks about Israel, the media hostility toward Israel defending herself ...

In Israel there is  the diplomatic flurry for Israel to come to terms with terrorists who wish to see the destruction of the Jewish people, whilst  the brave men and women, Jews and non Jews alike of the IDF are fighting in fierce battles to stop the terrorism that has been the bane of the Children of Israel ever since Israel pulled out of Gaza nine years ago.

As for what happens now : we need to sit tight and realise we are all in the long haul of bringing the terrorists to book . We need to continue to pray and support Israel and the IDF as well as those in the diaspora community who feel that are under threat. We must also Daven for the very men and women, the young flowers of Israel who serve in the IDF, in doing what they have to do, namely defend the people of Israel against all harm and in so doing being willing to commit the ultimate sacrifice in their blood and possibly, their lives.We also need to find muster and a prayer for Israel and for our diaspora, that our leadership will model themselves on the Israeli leadership of Moses, the steadfastness of Deborah, the spiritual guidance of Samuel, the faithfulness of Hannah, the courage of Esther, the military prowess of David and the wisdom of Solomon.

Above all, we as a people need to continue to follow Hashem and pray that he will, via the brave men and women of the IDF, swiftly deliver the children of Israel from harm. May we be able to see the coming of Mashiach and the end of all wars & universal peace as it is said "The L-rd will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be one L-rd, and His Name the only Name." [Zechariah 14:9].

Two other concluding thoughts. Firstly over at Esther's Place, she reminds us that Jews have used their wits and intelligence to defend ourselves in centuries before and that this is a key part of the equation today : 
"The one thing that we must remember is that we Jews have often had to defend ourselves and our religion, when we had no Israel and no IDF. We did so on the back of our wits, belief & sheer courage : does anyone remember the disputation of Barcelona? So today there is an Internet and yes it can be full of disturbing messages and arguments. 
We must regain that voice quickly and win the argument .It is not social media that is the problem, rather we must remind ourselves that we are Jews and we have never been afraid of defending our faith when necessary, often with the most powerful weapon of all: words, writing and debate. So today we must remember that whilst opponents have a voice so do we. Let us make them hear us. Let us win the argument once more. "
Secondly and finally, after gross hypocrisy of the latest UN resolution (where is their consideration for the ethnic cleansing of Iraq's Christian minority?) ,Ambassador Ron Prosor tells it how it is :

John Kerry as Odo?

David here,

Well it seems that the failing shambles that is the lame duck Obama Administration (see this Telegraph article) in the persona of  Secretary of State John Kerry, is upsetting even the uber liberal Israeli  Haartez newspaper or at least one of its correspondents who writes :

Kerry isn’t anti-Israeli; on the contrary, he's a true friend to Israel. But his conduct in recent days over the Gaza cease-fire raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events. It's as if he isn't the foreign minister of the world's most powerful nation, but an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast. For a few moments Friday one could not avoid recalling the things Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said about Kerry, and admit that despite the fact that it wasn't appropriate, he may have had a point.

But some clearly already have sensed Kerry's other worldliness: