31 mayo 2010

Israel needs national inquiry into deadly Gaza flotilla clashes


There is no other fitting or proper way to clarify the circumstances of the incident, which began as an act of protest and ended with dead demonstrators and a grave international crisis.

By Aluf Benn

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must return immediately from North America and convene a national committee of inquiry into Israel's interception of a Gaza aid convoy on Monday, during which at least nine activists were killed.

There is no other fitting or proper way to clarify the circumstances of the incident, which began as an act of protest and ended with dead demonstrators and a grave international crisis.

The government failed the test of results; blaming the organizers of the flotilla for causing the deaths by ignoring Israel's orders to turn back is inadequate. Decisions taken by the responsible authorities must be probed.

Nor can Monday's bloodshed be dismissed with claims that the demonstrators attacked IDF commandos with guns and other weapons. This type of excuse shifts responsibility from the political and military decision-makers to the soldiers, who acted in the heat of combat and for fear of their lives. It may be convenient to Netanyahu and his partners in government to present the battle as a local incident that escalated – but they cannot escape responsibility for the crisis.

This time, no one can put the debacle down to inexperience. Netanayhu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, and his defense minister, Amir Peretz – both military novices – came to grief in Lebanon in 2006 with that excuse.

The acting prime minister, Moshe Yaalon, and the defense minister, Ehud Barak, are both former chiefs of staff. Between them they have near matchless experience of military planning and combat.

Netanyahu may have been their junior during his service with the elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal – but has a formidable record of handling intelligence and operations. They could, if pushed, have foreseen the consequences of Monday's action.

A committee of inquiry would have to answer several salient questions:

Tactics. What prompted the decision to stop the flotilla by force - what course of action was presented to the politicians who made the decision and what analysis was made of the consequences of using live fire in any confrontation?

Were there any dissenting views, was there anyone how pointed to the inevitable damage to Israel from any operational failure? What steps were taken to forestall an escalation?

Alternatives. Was any effort made to stop the flotilla through diplomacy, or through negotiation and compromise with its organizers? Or did the government rush headlong into a confrontation, without any thought for the alternatives? Was there anyone who advocated letting the boats through to Gaza, rather than making them a test of Israel's sovereignty and might?

Turkey. What has the government done in the past year to improve ties with a strategically crucial neighbor? How has the prime minister worked to redress the damage to relations with Ankara?

The siege of Gaza. What is the purpose of the siege? Is it just an automatic extension of the previous government's policy, or does it have some practical aim? How much has the usefulness of the policy been discussed during the current government's year in office?

It is clear that public opinion is broadly in favor of punishing Gaza for the continuing captivity of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit. But the government needs to think about what advantage effect this has on the national interest – and not just on its popularity in weekly opinion polls. Did any of this happen?

Israel's Arab minority. Yisrael Beiteinu's "loyalty" campaign, an attempt by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing party to enforce laws to stamp down expressions of nationalism by Israeli Arabs, has been followed by the arrest of Arab activists charged with spying for Hezbollah. What effect will this have had on the fierceness of Israel-Arab protest? Did the government consider deepening its ties with the Arab minority? Will it act now, after leading Israeli Arab took part in the flotilla and suspected injuries to the head of the Islamic Movement's northern branch, Raed Salah, aboard one of the protest boats? Have representations been made to Arab community leaders in an effort to forestall internal conflict?

All are weighty issues that demand deep scrutiny by an independent body, which must lay its findings before the international community. Only a national committee of inquiry can meet this need and ameliorate the heavy criticism Israel will face for killing demonstrators.

Comunicado de B'Tselem

31 May '10: Open an immediate investigation into the action to gain control of the flotilla to Gaza

B’Tselem demands that an immediate, independent and effective investigation be made into the circumstances of the military action taken to gain control of the ships, which led to the death and injury of dozens of activists. The investigation must be conducted by non-military officials.

Among the issues to be investigated are whether the army used proportionate force, whether the forces were trained to cope with this type of event, were they equipped with the correct means, what open-fire regulations were given to the soldiers, and whether alternative options were considered.

The IDF Spokesperson claims that extreme violence was used against the soldiers by activists on the boat. This information is based solely on statements of soldiers. However, before reaching conclusions, the investigation must consider the testimonies of all eyewitnesses to the events, including persons who participated in the flotilla who are currently in custody in Israel.


30 mayo 2010

Los profetas, reivindicados

Podría decirse que es en los Profetas donde el Neojasidismo -Jewish Renewal- y El Judaísmo Reformista, sobre todo el Clásico, tienen su punto de encuentro. Este libro que se inscribe claramente el el primero puede ser de ayuda para que el segundo recupere un discurso que reclame con vigor el legado de los profetas. Ciertamente desde perspectivas teológicas diferentes: el Jewish Renewal con su defensa del Judaísmo místico no dualista; el Judaísmo Reformista Clásico con su énfasis en un enfoque racionalista. Y ambos mostrando la necesidad de traer de nuevo los profetas y su mensaje al centro de debate de la tradición judía que se hace hoy, ahora, pero sobre todo acercando nuevamente su mensaje a la mente y al corazón humanos, para que nos oriente en la sagrada misión del Tikkun Olam.

The Hebrew Prophets, por el Rabino Rami Shapiro
"When the prophet speaks to you ..."

27 mayo 2010

Siddur 'Union Prayer Book' Hebreo-Español

¡¡Importante!! En este enlace tienes la última entrada en este blog sobre el Sidur UPB en Español


Gracias a la labora encomiable de Israel Rocha, Presidente de la comunidad Brit Brajá, ya disponemos de la versión del Sidur 'Union Prayer Book' con los textos en Hebreo y la transcripción fonética de los mismos.

Sidur en español

En los próximos días publicaremos también la revisión de la versión reducida y le añadiremos los textos en Hebreo y la fonética.

Para más información sobre el proyecto, visita este post previo

23 mayo 2010

A New Judaism for a New Millennium

And so friends, we are at a major crossroads in Jewish history... one with profound challenges and limitless possibilities... calling for courage, creativity and vision, no less than at the other critical turning points in the 5000 year epoch of our People's past! The challenge of survival, and the promise of renewal and renaissance, that this new millennium holds for Judaism and the Jewish People, calls for nothing less than revolutionary, radical responses… nothing less than the courageous transformation of our Jewish community!

We must redeem our Faith and our People from a predominately, social and culturally defined, Israel-centered, Holocaust-obsessed remnant, into a post-ethnic, universally-visioned spiritual force! We must reclaim a religious community that cherishes, but is not dominated — nor drained of its own integrity and resources — by its special relationship to our brothers and sisters the land of Israel. We must, in this new century, be a community that forever remembers with reverence the precious martyrs and moral lessons of the Shoah, but is prepared to renew itself and move on, to focus on the future. We must move beyond the facile and shallow substitutes of "Jewishness" to reclaim our vision as a religious community, defined and experienced by our timeless, transcendent ideals — our search for the encounter with God... our commitment to working for justice and peace in human society... and our study of Torah that will empower us to seek the life-transforming resources of meaning, comfort, wisdom, guidance and inspiration that our tradition offers for our daily lives...

Yes... this may well sound radical... and there is no question that much of this would be considered shocking heresy by the mainstream Jewish establishment. And yet, this is what Radical-Classical Reform has always taught that Judaism in America should be. And this is what Jewish life, energies, resources, and education, must all become about, once again... not the desperate, cheap substitutes we offer to our justifiably alienated kids... GOD and TORAH... ETHICAL VALUES and LOVINGKINDESS... THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE... not multimillion dollar JCC's with pools and health clubs and pottery workshops... FAITH and LEARNING... and not the illusion that an obscenely elaborate Bar Mitzvah celebration... or a summer on a kibbutz... or the exploitation of the Holocaust as a guilt tactic... are panaceas to ensure Jewish loyalty and commitment among our young people — now or in the future.

Only if we reclaim that historic Radical-Reform vision of a vital Jewish spiritual renewal... only if we have the confidence in Judaism's universal message, the willingness to rededicate ourselves to those ideals, and the courage to proclaim and share them with others — only then can we even dare to hope that a century from tonight — on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah, in the year 2100 — that anymore than a small remnant of our descendents — clinging to an ever-dimming memory — will be gathered in a handful of surviving synagogues to usher in a New Year...

20 mayo 2010

Women of the Wall

19 mayo 2010

No Religious Freedom in Israel ... for non-Orthodox Jews

When It Comes to Religious Freedom, for Non-Orthodox Jews, Israel Is Not the Western-Style Democracy It Claims to Be

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2010

Israel presents itself, and is presented by its most fervent admirers, as the Middle East’s only Western-style democracy.

When it comes to the question of religious freedom, however, a far different picture emerges. Christians are free to be Christians, and Muslims may be Muslims.
For non-Orthodox Jews, Israel provides hardly any religious freedom at all. Reform and Conservative rabbis cannot perform weddings or funerals. Their conversions are not recognized as legitimate. Indeed, Israel is a theocracy — with a very narrow, Orthodox Judaism recognized as the official state religion.

“There is no question that we haven’t managed to untie this unholy bond between religion and state,” declares Rabbi Maya Leibovitch, the spiritual leader of Reform Congregation Kehilat Mevasseret Zion in Jerusalem, explaining that the bond between Orthodoxy and the government has only tightened since the early 1990s. (Washington Jewish Week, Nov. 26, 2009)

Israeli members of Reform and Conservative Judaism, explained Rabbi Leibovitch, continue to wage an uphill battle to gain equal footing with the Orthodox. “I feel ashamed that the only place where you cannot choose your rabbi and congregation,” she declares, “is in Israel.”

At a seminar in March 2010 presented by the Gildenhorn Institute for Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland,
Conservative Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum, declared that Israel “is the only place in the democratic world where Jews have to fight for their own freedom of religion.” (Washington Jewish Week, March 11, 2010)

When it comes to r
eligious conversions, the Israeli government rejects not only non-Orthodox conversions, but even conversions performed by Orthodox rabbis in other countries. Consider the case of Ilana, who has been living a double life in Israel. Though her first visit was as a Catholic she moved to Israel in 2006 following her conversion to Judaism in Italy. Although the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate certifies her conversion, the civil organs of the state of Israel continue to deny her basic rights as a citizen.

Rabbis Ed Rettig, acting director of the American Jewish Committee’s Israel office, and Seth Farber, founder and director of Itim, the Jewish Life Information Center, report: “Ilana lives without medical insurance, is unable to work and has been waiting more than two years for her case for citizenship to make it to the Supreme Court. In every other Jewish community in the world, Ilana is Jewish. Not in Israel ... Civil bureaucrats are seeking to impose their will and standards on Diaspora Jewry.”

When it comes to
religious freedom for women, Israel has embraced a narrow, male-centered approach which denies women such basic rights as public prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Judaism’s most holy site.

On Nov. 18, 2009, a 25-year-old medical student, Nofrat Frenkel, was arrested as the group Women of The Wall (WOTW) prayed just inside the women’s section of the Wall. WOTW, whose members are a mix of Reform, Conservative and Modern Orthodox — read the Torah with head-coverings, prayer shawls and phylacteries.

In January, Anat Hoffman chair of WOTW was summoned to a Jerusalem police station for ques-tioning. The International Jerusalem Post (Feb. 19-26, 2010) reported: “Ultra-Orthodox men hurled epithets at a gathering of WOTW on Feb. 15, screaming ‘Nazis’ and ‘You Caused The Holocaust’ as the 200 or so mostly female worshipers took part in the group’s monthly prayer vigil.”

American Jewish groups demand complete separation of church and state in the U.S., yetthey support a theocracy in Israel. Do they believe in religious freedom as a matter of principle, or only in societies where Jews are in a minority? This is a question more and more non-Orthodox Jews are asking.


18 mayo 2010

Seder for Tikkun Leil Shavuot

En un documento elaborado por el movimiento Reformista americano encontramos un Séder para la primera noche de Shavuot - día de la entrega de la Torá - elaborado por la Rabbi Laura Metzger. Esta Hagadah nos guía durante la noche que se dedica al estudio y que recibe el nombre de Tikún Leil Shavuot, re-experimentar la entrega de la Torá en el Sinaí. El origen de la noche de estudio es cabalista.

Podéis descargarlo en formato pdf desde la web de de URJ

Habrá traducción al español para el próximo año.

14 mayo 2010

Judaísmo Reformista Clásico en el siglo XXI

We are committed to the preservation and creative nurturing of the historic ideals of Classical Reform Judaism with its progressive spiritual values, rich intellectual foundations, and distinctive worship traditions. We believe that Classical Reform, which embodies its own integrity and enduring significance in the midst of the many rich streams of Jewish experience through the ages, has a continuing vitality and potential to speak to a new generation of Jews today.

We believe that Judaism is a religious faith with a universal message for all people. While the search for faith and encounter with God is at the heart of this commitment, we recognize the many different ways in which individuals define and experience their religious belief as Jews.

We share with Jews everywhere special ties of history and destiny. We understand the Jewish People as a community of faith, bound together by our shared experience, and grounded in the distinctive teachings of the Jewish religion. The rich and varied ethnic and cultural traditions of the Jewish experience throughout the ages offer meaningful dimensions for our religious identity, but our faith is timeless and universal in its aspirations.

We uphold the Prophetic vision that calls us to active engagement in the struggle for peace and social justice for all people, which has always inspired Reform Judaism. We affirm that our faith's ethical values are at the core of our religious commitment and that our worship and celebration must always reflect these ideals.

Our worship embraces an inclusive experience of prayer and celebration. In the historic spirit of Reform Judaism, we are committed to a meaningful, participatory liturgy that appeals to both mind and heart — a primarily English language worship Service, enriched by the timeless elements of Hebrew texts and song that link us to our past and to our fellow Jews throughout the world. The distinctive traditions of Reform synagogue worship, including its great repertoire of choral and instrumental music and challenging pulpit teaching, are important priorities for us. We believe that this expression of our faith offers a uniquely meaningful and accessible spiritual option for many Jews today. While preserving the best traditions of Classical Reform, we are also committed to the dynamic development of creative, new expressions of its principles and practice.

We particularly affirm and celebrate the unique experience of Judaism in the United States. Our Hebrew Bible's ideals of liberty and justice have helped shape American democracy from its earliest beginnings. Inspired by our tradition, and responding to its ethical and social values, Jews have played a vital role in the founding and building of America. We cherish this noble heritage and are committed to the exercise of our rights and responsibilities as proud and loyal citizens of this nation. These obligations include prophetic dissent, expressed in the democratic process, as well as full civic engagement in our society.

We share with all Jews an appreciation of the significance of the State of Israel in the broad context of Jewish history. We join together in the hope for the wellbeing and security of Israel and its people, living in justice and peace with its neighbors. We also embrace the broad diversity of opinion in the Jewish community on the complex political and moral issues reflected in the tragic conflicts in the Middle East today. While as American Jews, our ties to Israel are historical and spiritual, we also affirm that it is Judaism's religious and ethical ideals that are at the core of our Jewish identity and commitment.

We affirm a broad, inclusive pluralism, which reflects the full diversity within today's changing Jewish community and welcome all those who share our ideals. We are particularly committed to an active outreach and warm, unconditional welcome for interfaith and multicultural families, in the belief that the universal spiritual values of Classical Reform are uniquely meaningful and empowering for this ever growing number of our young people.

Our most fervent hopes and prayers are for a strong, creative and spiritually renewed American Jewish community and for freedom and security for Jews everywhere as we fulfill our historic mission of working together with all of God's people to build a world of justice, love and peace.

The Reform Advocate

Hace unos días la Sociedad en defensa del Judaísmo Reformista Clásico sacó un nuevo boletín donde aparecen sus actividades y algunos artículos sobre funcionamiento y principios.

Podéis descargarlo en el siguiente enlace:

01 mayo 2010

If you are not My witnesses, I am not, as it were, God.

By Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport

In Leviticus 22:32 we read: “You shall not profane My holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the Israelite people—I Adonai who sanctify you.”

Translation issues become important here. The text says v’nikdashti, “and I will be made holy” amidst the Children of Israel. Or, in other words, “You will make Me holy just as I, Adonai, have made you holy.”

Here, for a moment, there is a relationship. We do something for God in response to what God has done for us. The only problem with this magic moment of relationship is that it makes no sense. How can we profane God’s Name or make God Holy? How can any action of ours, however base, debase God in any way? And more to the point, how can our human acts help, in any way, to make the Holy One, holy?

Perhaps the most intriguing response of all the classical commentaries can be found in P’sikta D’Rav Kahana, one of the oldest collections of midrash and commentaries on the Torah. The P’sikta teaches:

You are My witnesses, says the Lord . . . that I am the One; before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be any after Me” (Isaiah 43:10). Thus said Shimon bar Yohai: “If you are my witnesses then I am the One, the first One, neither shall there be any after Me. But if you are not My witnesses, I am not, as it were, God.” (P’sikta D’Rav Kahana, 12)

Let me emphasize that these words are taken not from some radical, post-holocaust, interpretation of the Torah, but from one of the oldest sources we know (6 c.e.).

If you are not My witnesses, I am not, as it were, God.

So, how exactly do we do that? How can we stand as witnesses that the Holy One is the One? One answer can be found in the Sh’ma, the central prayer of our synagogue service, a place where the Hebrew words for “witness” and “one” reside as one. We stand as witnesses of God’s oneness to the world when we say the words “Hear, O Israel! Adonai is our God, Adonai is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

The relationship between our statement of God’s Oneness in the morning and evening, recitation of the Sh’ma, and our role as God’s witness to the world is made explicit by the very lettering of these words as they appear in the Torah. There is something remarkable about the way the words of the Sh’ma are written in a Torah scroll. The last letter of the first word and the last letter of the last word are written larger than any of the others. The large ayin at the end of the word Sh’ma and the large dalet at the end of the word echad together make the word eid which means “witness.” As we read in Isaiah 43:10,“You are My witness” (see Baal HaTurim at Deuteronomy 6:4).

Having a relationship with God is a feathery thing. One never really knows what God is thinking, when God is present, how we can truly bear witness to God’s will in the world. And yet, through prayer we are reminded of all that is Holy in our world and in ourselves, and through this we form a bridge of connection. We become partners with God in the perfection of this world. It is then that we can truly make God holy. By repairing the brokenness in ourselves, by repairing the brokenness of our world, we repair the brokenness that has resided within God since the first moment of creation and in this way we can indeed make the Holy One, whole once again.