Carol Greenwald’s guest column on the new head of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs (“Reform’s nomination of Jacobs means a victory for J Street,” May 5) gets at least one thing right. It will become “increasingly impossible for mainstream American Jewry to continue to marginalize J Street,” as more community leaders speak out in favor of Israel’s security by actively supporting a two-state solution.
The elevation of Rabbi Jacobs is hardly a paradigm shift for the Reform movement. We have recruited a leader who will re-invigorate our movement’s work to serve the majority of North America Jews, who solidly support a two-state resolution.
Our progressive and Jewish values demand that we both express our love for Israel while we also address hard truths about its future. Rabbi Jacobs’ support for groups such as J Street and the New Israel Fund highlight his understanding of the serious threats facing Israel’s future that are posed by expanded settlement activity and demographic trends.
In short, if a peace agreement with the Palestinians is not reached soon,
Israel will face an impossible choice. Either it will deny Palestinian voting rights on Israeli soil and erode its democracy, or it will grant them citizenship and cease to be a majority-Jewish state.
We, as supporters of J Street, want Israel to remain a Jewish democracy through a negotiated two-state solution, which will require tough choices about territory that are not risk-free. This is why we call upon the Jewish community to engage in genuine debate regarding Israel’s future, not smear tactics.
Rabbi Art Donsky
(The author is the spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom and a member of J Street’s national rabbinic Cabinet).
Love 1, doctrine 0
This is in response to Rabbi Greenbaum’s excellent Portion of the Week (“G-O-D spells God,” May 5).
First, if you translate Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey into English, it means, “I am that I am.” It can also mean, “I am who I am,” and, “I am what I am.” This to me means: “I am consciousness where I am.” Meaning: “Don’t try to put me in a matrix of doctrine and dogma, as you will know me in the outworking of events.”
Of course you can’t destroy God by throwing a piece of paper with the name of God written on it in the wastebasket. This is because God is energy, and energy is God, as everything in the universe is energy and chemistry. According to the laws of physics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Also, there is always the “letter” of the law, and there is the “spirit” of the law. Walk the middle way. God cares more about the love in your heart vs. the doctrine and dogma in your head.
Eugene M. Goldberg