Israel in Crisis, Reconstructionist Leaders Respond
The High Holidays of 5775 (2014) arrived in the wake of Operation Protective Edge: Israel's longest war since the 1948 War of Independence. During the war, a group of Reconstructionist rabbis visited in Israel as part of a long-scheduled mission. The trip was scheduled long before the war, and greatly affected those visiting.
Soon after the cease-fire at the end of August, the Jewish New Year came, and with it, opportunities for rabbis to speak to their assembled communities. Many chose to speak about Israel this year -- and not only those who had visited during the war. The need was clear to speak about their hopes, fears, love, and concern for Israel.
This outflowing of passionate engagement with Israel was so powerfully affecting to the listeners in individual communities, that we decided to share it with the wider world. Below, you'll see the writings of more than 20 Reconstructionist rabbis and RRC graduates, as well as an RRC faculty member. These pieces originated as sermons, as newspaper op-eds, as blog posts. The range of views and political convictions the rabbis articulated was very wide. But their shared concern, love, and connection to Israel speak for themselves.
Most of these pieces were written more than six months ago, in the wake of war. While the immediate context has passed, Israel's struggles and achievements remain ever-relevant.
At times when the Jewish community has seethed with conflict over Israel politics, some leaders find it easier to ignore difficult issues for the fear of alienating those who think and feel differently. But these leaders felt the need, and found the courage and the heart, not only to talk about difficult matters, but to model what real dialogue looks like. There is no one party line in our movement regarding Israel, but each of these speakers shows that diversity of opinion is not a threat: apathy is. We present these varied voices as a model for our own ongoing, nuanced conversation about Israel: our concern, our connection, our hope.