This past Sunday, I shared with two congregations in the Northeast some thoughts about the situation in Israel, with today’s commemoration of Yom HaShoah very much in mind.
One of the themes I focused on was the notion of me-churban le-binyan (“from destruction to rebuilding”), which has become a central theme of the story of the Jewish people that many of us tell ourselves and each other, in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the State of Israel. I sought to explain how the events transpiring in Israel threaten that narrative, and therefore, are as potentially existential for Diaspora Jewish life as they are Israelis.
I also give a bit of background about the personal histories of many of the people pushing judicial reform in Israel. We owe it to rigorous discourse, I think, to characterize the very best side of the arguments of those with whom we disagree. It’s easy to say why our opponents are wrong; but what about their arguments is right, what about their personal story explains why they feel the way that they do?
So why are these people pushing the judicial reform (who are largely not Mizrachi or second class citizens) so enraged? What really animates them? Much of it, I explain, actually has to do with the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, and the ways in which the Supreme Court did and did not get involved. That’s unpacked a bit in this podcast.
Above is an excerpt from that Zoom conversation. More to follow this week, both tomorrow and the day after.
If you share our desire to forge a community of people engaged in reasoned discussion and respectful disagreement when it comes to Israel, please subscribe today.
We will continue our postings tomorrow with a podcast (available to all) on the songs that have defined Israel over the decades, and on Thursday, a podcast interview for paid subscribers with Ruth Calderon, one of Israel’s leading educators and a former MK, about her attempts to have the Declaration of Independence transformed into a Basic Law.
Calderon reflects with us on why she wanted the Declaration to become a Basic Law, and given what’s going on in Israel this year, what kind of Yom HaAtzma’ut (Independence Day) she thinks we’re going to have.
For those still observing Yom HaShoah (which has already ended in Israel), wishes for a meaningful and inspiring day.
Music credits: Medieval poem by Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Gvirol. Melody and performance by Shaked Jehuda and Eyal Gesundheit. Production by Eyal Gesundheit. To view a video of their performance, see this YouTube: