Mullahs and political leaders of the Islamic world call for Death to Jews any way that perpetrators can facilitate - by gun, knife, car or can opener. We have seen the affirmative reaction to these calls with the treacherous stabbings and mowing down of innocent Israeli civilians as well as Jews throughout Europe and right here in New York. Iran burns the Israeli flag and vows the destruction of the state. Jewish students are besieged by anti-Semitic demonstrations at universities and colleges across America and Canada. Earlier this week, Moshe Halbertal, a renowned Israeli professor who teaches at NYU Law School and is credited with having developed the ethics code for the IDF, was prevented from delivering a lecture to the U. of Minnesota Law School. This protest that lasted more than a half hour, was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, a group that is increasingly active on campus and feeds into the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement as well. As recently reported, most faculty members at our elite universities are politically liberal and provocatively anti-Israel. These are some of the issues facing young Jewish students and adults.
The Union for Reform Judaism, this nation’s largest Jewish group comprising 1.5 million members, issued a major statement at its annual conference this week. Was it a renewed dedication to helping Jewish students combat the stigma and fear of being pro-Israel on campus? Was it a resolve to join with other anti-discrimination groups to combat the anti-Semitism that results in physical violence as well as intimidation by harassment? Was it a resolution to organize its congregants to send moral support to its brothers and sisters who are being murdered in Israel? Not exacty. Instead, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the URJ, jumped trendily onto the LGBT bandwagon, pledging to reach out to transgenders, refer to them by their pronouns of choice and alter the wording of prayers to make them gender neutral. How’s this for improving the Psalm of David: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Ne maketh me lie down in green pastures; Ve leadeth me beside still waters. Ze restoreth my soul.
The problems of the miniscule transgender community have been publicized and addressed by the hyperactive LGBT movement as well as numerous Civil Rights bureaus; these are not specifically related to any religious denomination. The problems of Israel, growing world-wide anti-Semitism, Israel apartheid week on campus, the erosion of American Jewish identity, the anti-Israel character of Middle Eastern Studies in American universities - these are subjects crying out for Jewish attention and support.
Sadly, Rabbi Jacobs seems more pre-occupied with issues that guarantee him a column in the New York Times and a sure bet that he won’t disturb his membership with any bad news.
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