Commentary on Mishpatim
A really lovely review of 70 faces in the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly

Worth reading: two posts about Israel

I'm on the road and don't have time to write anything substantive this week, but I wanted to signal-boost a couple of things I've read in recent days.

The first is an essay by Israeli Dahlia Scheindlin: Dear liberal American Jews: Please don’t betray Israel, published in the online journal +972. (If you're unfamiliar with the magazine, here's their About page.) Dahlia's essay calls on liberal American Jews to resist the temptation to turn away -- and also the temptation to remain silent.

I am particularly moved by her point that it seems, sometimes, as though American Jews love Israel only when we are shown its beautiful side. I think she's right that many of us who yearn for Israel to be the fulfillment of our highest ideals of righteousness have a difficult time facing some of what's happening there. But I suspect my Israeli friends would agree with her that we must resist the temptation to turn away. More: we must stand with our Israeli friends, relatives, and colleagues as they do the hard work of repairing their nation.

The other thought-provoking (though depressing) post I've read about Israel recently comes from Israeli-American Emily L. Hauser. Her post is called The Khader Adnan case and Israel’s criminal stupidity, and it's about Palestinian Khader Adnan who is being held in "administrative detention" (which is to say: arrested without charge and held indefinitely) and who is near death from a longstanding hunger strike. (My colleague Rabbi Brant Rosen also posted about Adnan recently.)

Emily doesn't shy away from the reality that she doesn't like Adnan and she doesn't like Islamic Jihad, but she argues (and I agree with her) that administrative detention and torture are still unethical. She also makes the case that they are unwise -- that the Israeli government's treatment of Adnan only raises the profile of Islamic Jihad and creates another very high-profile martyr. (Rabbis for Human Rights has an excellent selection of Jewish teachings about torture and indefinite detention -- intended to spark conversation about U.S. policies, but the texts and teachings are equally valid here.)

I pray for peace and for transformation, in the Middle East and every place where violence and hatred mangle human lives. Please, God, speedily and soon.

Dear Velveteen Rabbi readers: please remember that I am traveling with my son and my online time is limited; I will not be constantly online to keep conversation civil. Comments are unmoderated for now, but please don't take that as an opportunity to speak unkindly toward or about anyone. Thanks, y'all.