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Archive for June, 2010

My Shabbat Sermon: Let’s Talk Turkey

Let’s Talk Turkey” – June 12, 2010 Shabbat Sermon by Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg

Many people expressed the desire for me to speak about the Gaza Flotilla incident where Israeli forces were lowered by helicopter onto a ship seeking to break Israel and Egypt’s blockade of Gaza.  When the Israeli troops were attacked, they fired back leading to the death of nine people and the world going crazy.  When people asked me to speak about this, my reaction was – “what’s there to say?  We’re right, the world’s wrong.  It’s as simple as that.”  But you know what? – it’s not as simple as that!  This incident, with its worldwide condemnation, requires more careful thought on our part and that’s a lesson we learn from Moses in this week’s Torah portion.

Our Torah portion this morning describes the revolt that Korach led against Moses and Aaron.  At first Moses is stunned and you know what he does?  The Torah tells us he fell on his face in prayer.  The great Chasidic master, the Baal Hatanya, points out that Moses should have answered Korach at once with the anger he deserved, but you know why he fell on his face and prayed?  Says the Baal Hatanya, because Moses thought maybe Korach was doing this for the people’s good, maybe Korach is a messenger of G-d – maybe Korach’s right.  So Moses first fell on his face for self reflection, asking of himself: maybe Korach is right or at least partly right.

And so before speaking about this Flotilla incident, I wanted to give myself some time; with the whole world against us, I wanted to reflect on the possibility that maybe they are right or maybe they are partially right.  And I’ve done that and I’ve come to the conclusion:  Israel was right and the world is wrong – so what’s there to talk about?  So I’m not going to talk about it.  I’m going to let others do the talking.  This morning I want to share with you some quotes that I have come across from others discussing the Flotilla incident and I leave it for you to decide. READ MORE

Rabbi Wohlberg’s Sermon archive is available at www.bethtfiloh.com/sermons.

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Articles by a Jew and a Christian, and my Shabbat sermon

Here’s two articles from the Washington Post Religious blog.  One written by a Jew, one by a Christian regarding the Flotilla Incident.  There are people who “get it”.

Chutzpah Thy Name is Gaza, by Jonathan Sarna

The heart is deceitful above all things, by Jason Poling

If you want to hear my thoughts on this subject, come to synagogue this Shabbat (June 12, 2010) when my sermon is entitled “Let’s Talk Turkey.”

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More articles by Jews and non-Jews who “get it”

Here are some additional articles by Jews and non-Jews who “get it”.

Charles Krauthamer in Friday’s Washington Post and Yossi Klein-Halevi in Friday’s Wall Street Journal put into words the way I feel, the way most Jews in Israel feel . . . the way all Jews should feel.

It is important to remember that it’s not only Jews who feel this way.  Jason Poling, a respected minister in our community, spoke for many in an article that is part of the religious blog page of the Baltimore Sun.

And just for a feel good experience, enjoy this video by “The Flotilla Choir”.

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Some who “get it”

It is nice to know that there are some people out there who get it.  Leslie Gelb is the former head of the Council on Foreign Relations:

Israel Was Right by Leslie H. Gelb (The Daily Beast)

Seth Freedman’s article (Israel had no choice over Gaza flotilla) is in The British Guardian, a very anti-Israel newspaper.

And from a source that always understands Israels point of view, Flotillas and Falsehoods, by Mona Charen (National Review Online).

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A “rush to judgment”

I have not been in touch for a while, but yesterday made me start up again.

For Israelis yesterday was what they call a “Yom Kaseh” – a tough day.  All of us as supporters of Israel feel that way.  North Korea sinks a South Korean ship, killing 46 people and the U.N. Security Council has nothing to say.  But when it involves Israel, there is an immediate “rush to judgment” by the whole world!

While it will take time for the whole story to be told, I thought it was important to share some of these perspectives with you:

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J Street is a Dead end: Jewish Critics of Israel

My May 29, 2010 Shabbat Sermon, entitled, “J Street is a Dead end: Jewish Critics of Israel” is now available on the Beth Tfiloh website at www.bethtfiloh.com/sermons.

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