Bribes Do Not Compensate for Failed Leadership
Not many weeks ago members of the faithful Likud entourage of Prime Minister Netanyahu threatened to hold elections. The party was up in the polls and its leader was popular because of the way he handled the first round of the Corona crisis. And his partner/rival Benny Gatz was doing badly.
Things have changed rapidly. Recent demonstrations outside the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem and in other places are primarily against Netanyahu and his leadership, including the way he and his government have (not) dealt with the second wave of the pandemic. We no longer hear much about new elections. According to the polls, Likud would lose many mandates had Israelis voted today.
That does not mean that Gantz’s Blue and White would do well. Even those of us who had great hopes that he would be able to moderate Netanyahu’s thirst for power by sharing it with him have been disappointed.
One of the most vociferous members of Netanyahu’s fan club and a member of his cabinet, Amir Ohana, suggested recently that the current wave of demonstrations against the prime minister is reminiscent of the demonstrations against Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after he signed the Oslo accords. It resulted in Rabin’s assassination. Ohana did not remind us that one of the leaders of the anti-Rabin campaign was none other than Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is not guilty of the outcome, but he may be sensitive to unexpected consequences.
The same Netanyahu, now prime minister, not being able to convince enough Israelis to support him has decided to bribe us all by each citizen being given money, whether we need it or not, at the cost for the state of billions of shekels. His leadership has failed. Will bribes work? I am told that they did in Poland before elections there.
Netanyahu is, of course, not the only current leader of a country perceived as having failed his people. His role model and friend(?) Donald Trump is the most gruesome example. We are told that countries that have women leaders have dealt much better with the crisis. Any suggestions for Israel? I can only think of Tzipi Livni but hope that you have better suggestions.
Jerusalem 17.7.20 Dow Marmur
The Anti-Racism Group at Holy Blossom Temple was formed in June, 2020 in response to painful racist actions witnessed both in Canada and the United States, and the outpouring of demonstrations throughout North America calling for concerted action on the part of governments, communities, and individuals to deal effectively with this existential problem.
Our Sages debated the correlation between education and action.
קידושין מ׳ ב:ח׳
נשאלה שאילה זו בפניהם תלמוד גדול או מעשה גדול נענה רבי טרפון ואמר מעשה גדול נענה ר”ע ואמר תלמוד גדול נענו כולם ואמרו תלמוד גדול שהתלמוד מביא לידי מעשה
This question was asked: Is study greater or is action greater? Rabbi Tarfon answered and said: Action is greater. Rabbi Akiva answered and said: Study is greater. Everyone answered and said: Study is greater, but not as an independent value; rather, it is greater as study leads to action.
To contribute to the elimination of racism in Canada by enhancing our capacity to know ourselves, the roles we might unwittingly have played in maintaining an inequitable society, and the role we might play as anti-racists in focused actions to achieve an inclusive society.
Our Mission is to learn and then to act by:
Providing learning opportunities and resources to examine the privilege we have, the unconscious biases we may hold, and strategies for addressing those so that we become well prepared (or better able) to be anti-racists in a mutual quest for justice
Reaching into our synagogue community to current Holy Blossom families of colour to learn and understand their experiences of racism within the synagogue and in the broader community and together figure out “next steps”
Recommending resources (online and written) for those interested in learning about the history of Canadian and American racism, the lived lives of Black Canadians, Indigenous peoples and other racialized groups, issues around policing, and other themes where there is indicated interest
Building effective partnerships so that we are better able to contribute to concerted actions, working together to achieve mutual goals and dreams.
Update on Sharing Joy and Sharing Sorrow
“One who visits a person who is ill takes away a sixtieth of that person’s pain.” Nedarim 40a
How do we keep connected as a community?
Being part of a community heightens our joys and acts as a salve in moments of sorrow. In every Wednesday weekly email from Holy Blossom, we are going to try to strengthen this connection by sharing the Simchas and Sorrows that we are aware of with the congregation. If you know of a Simcha or a Sorrow that is not on this list, please email Abigail Carpenter-Winch ([email protected]) so we can share the news and be in touch.
Additionally, if you would like to be informed of bereavements as we find out, please sign up for notifications here:
https://holyblossom.org/publications-and-resources/life-hbt/ You can also send tribute cards from our website, as an easy way of making that connection.
We encourage you to reach out – both to your friends and perhaps to someone you do not yet know – and connect. Each outreach, especially now, reminds us that we are not alone. Each check-in removes a bit of the sorrow or adds a bit to the Simcha.
Our community is our strength – thank you for strengthening Holy Blossom.
Sexual Assault and Justice in the Age of #Metoo Resource List
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to stop us in our tracks and reassess. Many people are now using this time to take stock and reflect on what matters most. I know these conversations are happening internally and privately. I hope they are also happening with the trustworthy people in your life — family in your bubble, dear friends by the lake, or fellow congregants on Zoom.
Belonging to a religious community, to a sacred congregation entitles you to access fellow travellers who speak the same language of “matterness.” Whether gathered for prayer or for study or for volunteering — for racial justice, interfaith relations, gender equality, Israel engagement, poverty reduction, mental health, LGBT+ inclusion or refugee relief — there is an unspoken understanding that we are on a shared quest for meaning and purpose.
When we are confronted daily with statistics of life and death, when we must daily weigh out very real risks, and admit the fragility of life — our spiritual needs increase. Many experts write about how mental health is strained by life under Corona. But what about our spiritual health?
Our weekday Amidah includes thematic prayers seeking Understanding, Forgiveness, Redemption, and Healing. We call upon God to bless the world with Abundance, Freedom, Justice, and Peace. We pledge to do our part to be among the Righteous and to express daily Gratitude. Each rubric of the Amidah is a meditation on “matterness.” We stand in God’s Presence and say: “Master of the Universes, not because of the righteousness of my deeds, do I place my longings before You….”
David Foster Wallace addresses this human need for “matterness” in his famous commencement address, entitled “This is Water”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CrOL-ydFMI&feature=youtu.be
In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship…. is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
I pray for this pandemic to end. Until then, however, I see how these days of Coronavirus enable us to become more human and more skilled at “keeping the truth up front in our daily consciousness.” Whether through prayer, lifelong learning, or acts of compassion and justice, let us turn to one another and strengthen one another’s worthy and honourable pursuits.