Masorti Foundation: Masorti Jews in Netanya Attacked as they exit Shabbat davening
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I would have much preferred to make this message just one of wonderful good wishes, but the senseless hatred of some in the ultra-Orthodox world calls for something more.
I awoke the day before the start of Pesach to read the message below from Yizhar Hess, the Executive Director of Masorti in Israel. It would be bad enough if this were the first report in Israel of such incidents, but alas it is not. The Mayor of Netanya did immediately issue a strong statement condemning these attacks.
As we each prepare our celebrations, we should not forget, but neither should we dwell on, the deeds of evildoers.
Thank you for your continued support of the work of Masorti.
Hag Sameach to all.
David H. Lissy
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
A MESSAGE FROM YIZHAR HESS:
Though we are nearly at the eve of Pesach, I must share with you an event so very far from the holiday spirit.
Last Erev Shabbat, a group of young men dressed in "religious attire" arrived at Kehillat Bet Yisrael in Netanya, throwing stones at the worshipers as they exited, following the conclusion of Shabbat prayers.
This was the third such instance to occur in recent weeks. In the previous incidents, in addition to the throwing of stones, the young men attempted to enter the premises in order to create a disturbance inside. Complaints have been filed with the police. Security cameras have been installed in an effort to identify the perpetrators, should they return.
This incident is a continuation of a series of such violent events that has targeted the non-Orthodox streams in Israel. Last Thursday, windows were shattered at the Reform kehilla in Raanana, even as the walls were sprayed with graffiti. A few months back, both the Masorti and Reform kehillot in Raanana were targeted. On the eve of Rosh HaShana, eggs were thrown at the Masorti kehilla in Kfar Saba, Hod V'Hadar, even as the walls were spray painted with vulgarities.
One would be hard pressed to think of anything less in the spirit of Judaism than the stoning of a synagogue on Erev Shabbat. This wave of ugly violence against the non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel must serve as a warning, a red flag, if you will, to all who are concerned with the democratic future of our State. The Masorti movement has established eight new kehillot during these past two years. As non-Orthodox congregations in Israel increase in number, Jewish fundamentalist intolerance rears its ugly head.
May we be blessed with good news and may we all enjoy a Hag Sameach!
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…