50 people gathered at the David Citadel Hotel this evening to open the
Conservative Movement Solidarity Mission. Our delegation includes 15
rabbis, 2 cantors, several other synagogue professionals and many
lay-leaders. We're proud that such a large group has joined our mission
with little notice.
opened tonight with greetings from Yizhar Hess, Executive Director of
Masorti Israel, Laura Lewis, Executive Director of the Masorti
Foundation, and Shueli Fast, the new Chair of the Masorti movement in
Israel. Then our chairs, Felipe Goodman and Bob Slosberg facilitated a
conversation where participants described how they came to be part of
the mission and what they hoped to gain from it. Barbara Goldstein of
Roslyn Heights, NY said "I came because I needed to be here." Many
others echoed her sentiments. Some were here earlier in the summer, but
felt they needed to come back now.
dinner, Felipe introduced our speaker, Hon. Professor Sholomo Avineri
of Hebrew University. He spoke about the difference between what might
have ideally happened between Israel and the Palestinians and what the
reality is. He noted that the peace negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians were stuck and have been for a while. His suggestion was
that both sides look to build trust wherever possible rather than
looking to resolve their conflicting narratives. By taking small steps,
we can start to find our way out of the conflict. He said that partial
solutions that deal with details rather than with resolving narratives
are most likely to move peace negotiations forward. But he also noted
that even gestures that build trust take sacrifice and political will.
The group was left with much food for thought as we begin our first full
day on the ground in Israel tomorrow.
RA expresses its thanks to Yizhar Hess for all of his help in planning
this mission and especially for the last minute schedule changes. He
has worked tirelessly for the past week.
We go to
bed tonight uncertain if there will be a ceasefire tomorrow or not.
Either way, we will head to the South where we will visit with our
kehillot in Ashkelon, Beersheva and Omer, visit an Iron Dome battery,
and meet with soldiers. We look forward to the chance to hear from
colleagues and community members and bring them hizuk.
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&…