Congregation Beth El will host the Berkeley Jewish community's annual commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The somber program will include song, reflection, testimonials and prayer. Our guest speaker this year will be Yaa'kov Harari, a Holocaust survivor, long-time Berkeley resident and member of congregation Beth Israel. The Beth El Men's Club has arranged for Mr. Harari to speak at Beth El and tell his story as part of our commemoration of the Holocaust. Our annual service is jointly organized Congregations Beth El, Netivot Shalom and Beth Israel and is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Federation of the East Bay.
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&…