I commend Verrona Gore and Yifat Bar-Dagan for offering in this week’s email, as well as in previous weeks, recommendations for specific actions that we can take to offer our support to Israel during this time of crisis. I encourage everyone to do so.
By design, the nature of this column is to express my thoughts and feelings in a relatively concise manner. However, the subject of Israel’s war in Gaza is impossible to address in four or five paragraphs.
Certain questions about this war are central: Is Israel justified in engaging in a war against Hamas? What are the Jewish values that underlie the “just war” doctrine? What are the standards by which the Israel Defense Force’s code of ethics seeks to minimize if not prevent civilian casualties? Has the IDF lived up to its own code? How do we express our pain over the loss of life in Israel and in Gaza? What responsibility do we have as Jews to express our solidarity with Israelis?
Perhaps you have been thinking about some if not all of these questions. To that end, I would like to invite you to join me in addressing these concerns in the context of a study session. On many occasions: on the night of Selichot; on the afternoon of Yom Kippur; in our weekly Torah study class, we have explored the most profound questions of human existence. In addition, in adult study classes, especially this past year’s 9 session course entitled Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship, we have engaged in passionate discussion while at the same time affirming our fundamental respect for one another’s perspective.
Next Wednesday night, August 6, you are invited to come to our Social Hall. The groundwork for our study will be texts that express a Jewish perspective about war. There also will be time for people to raise questions, express opinions, and seek common ground not only as individuals but as a congregation about how to respond during this time of crisis for Israel. We’ll begin at 7:30pm.
As I return from a period of personal and familial relaxation, it is good to be back with my community here in Fremont. Through worship and celebration, study and action, let us affirm our bonds with one another and our ties to Jews worldwide.