- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On July 2, 2021
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
I am in Israel. To be here now is to be thrust into a state of awe, anxiety, and a profound awareness of vulnerability.
I feel safe. The streets are relatively quiet. The tourists are few. At the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, our Rabbinic Leadership Institute is only one of two groups. Usually the place is teeming with adult learners, scholars, students, and lots of noisy interchanges. We are more pensive this time.
The “situation, the matzav” as many people call the violence in May has brought a serious consideration of how to speak about Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Jews. We converse and consider the meaning of Zionism, not to question its presence and significance but its definition.
Over the years as I have come with our own congregation and groups such as Encounter, AIPAC, and interfaith clergy with JCRC, I have marveled at what Israel has accomplished and yet also worry about the impact of its relationship with the Palestinian people. Through these experiences, I have met incredible people acting as a force for good–on the ground–doing righteous work toward peace and coexistence. Each time has made me consider what it means for Israel to strengthen its core values of human and civil rights. These ideas have taken up our focus in our discussions and learning. We speak of a narrative of a Zionism that is inclusive and honors those who call this land home.
Today we traveled to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The area has been in the news because of great tension caused by evictions and threat of evictions of Palestinians. The Jewish settlers who live nearby told us their version of what was happening. We also visited a Palestinian family waiting to hear what the Supreme Court will decide. We listened carefully. Besides the grueling heat of the sun, the fervor of their convictions at the possibility that they would lose their homes broke our hearts. Then we visited the Museum on the Seam, a private nonprofit that sits on the exact location where the border with Jordan used to be whose mission is to draw attention through its “seam line focused” exhibits. The roof provided an amazing view of all the neighborhoods and the diversity of the people who inhabit them.
There is a fragile hope here mirrored in the fragile new unity government. It will take a tremendous amount of effort, intention, challenge, and discomfort to realize the next chapter. I believe it is possible.
- Come welcome Rabbi Andrew Oberstein at Qabbalat Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. Register HERE to join us in person. For an online experience, we can pray together HERE on the Temple Israel website, or HERE on Zoom, or even HERE on TI’s Facebook page. Or, just find it all on the website www.tisrael.org/TogetherWithTI.
- Tot Rock Shabbat gathers HERE at 5:00 p.m.
- Torah Study will begin at 9:00 a.m. To join the conversation interactively, access Zoom HERE. You can also watch HERE on Temple Israel’s website or HERE on TI’s Facebook page.
- Register here for TGIS at Temple Israel at 9:00 a.m.
- Join the Clergy for Havdalah at 8:00 p.m. HERE.