|Volume 5 Number 36||Wed Sep 13 0:10:55 1995|
From: email@example.com (Rabbi D. Lilienthal) Date: Thu, 7 Sep 1995 12:17:55 -0700 Subject: Introductions: Rabbi David Lilienthal [As is our custom, I present to you Rabbi David Lilienthal, who writes...] Rabbi David Lilienthal, born 10 January 1944 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Trained at University College and Leo Baeck College, London, England. Smicha (ordained) July 1971. Still in my first pulpit in the Liberal Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam, Holland. Married with 3 daughters, one of whom lives close by and two living and studying in Jerusalem. Apart from my congregational work, I serve on the Governing Body of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. I am also heavily involved in zionist work. In 1978 I started the Dutch branch of ARZENU, which is the Progressive Religious-Zionist "party" in the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. Having served on the international board since then this year is the last of 6, in which I serve as the chairman of ARZENU. As such I am also involved in the reorganization committee of the WZO-JAFI. I am also chair of the European Beth Din. This is a cooperative body of all Progressive (Reform, Liberal) Rabbis in Europe and Israel, especially dealing with all Rabbinic issues and the development of 'minhagim' in the countries where there is no existing Progressive Rabbinic framework. This means all Rabbinic work in the Former Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe, but also in Spain, Italy, Greece and a few other countries where our presence is too small to support own rabbinic frameworks. Further, since this summer, I am a member of the Responsa Committee of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis). this is all the more of a challenge both to me and to the committee, since the non-North American Progressive communities tend to be much more traditional in style and content than the American Reform Movement, and in Holland that is certainly the case. (See e.g. the "Talles Controversy" which played in my congregation, and which has been presented rather one-sidedly in your past issues. But it could be a good example of how tradition evolves). Finally I chair the committee here working on a new siddur for the whole country, which may even be used in other Liberal congregations in Europe, with French and German translations. But with all that, 70-80% of my time is spent working with "amcha"; still the people in the community have to be central. And being in a community of survivors, that is a challenge all in and of itself. And I have to learn to write short messages! That is it for now. Shabbat shalom. David.
From: Arthur Waskow <Awaskow@aol.com> Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 08:21:07 -0700 Subject: Appropriate Behavior for Police Dear Chevra, The LJ list has recently carried a number of descriptions of violent behavior by Israeli police against (allegedly not-violent) right-wing anti-peace demonstrators. Meanwhile, another Jewish list I read has carried some allegations of violent physical actions by Israeli prison guards and/or Shabak toward Palestinians who were in custody -- alleged physical violence strong enough to be called torture by some human rights groups. Indeed, one person on the L-J list had also mentioned, albeit in a very general way, past allegations that the Israeli police have acted brutally toward Haredi ("ultra-Orthodox") Jews and toward Palestinians Without necessarily accepting the reports of violent and brutal behavior by the Israeli police toward either Jews or Palestinians, I would like to raise a broader question: Can we develop, either on the basis of traditional halakha or what we ourselves would view as other bases in Jewish thought, adequate Jewish teaching about the behavior of police and similar institutions toward those who are being arrested or are in custody? What should be the limits on physical acts by police or other persons-holding-custody upon the bodies and minds of prisoners or persons undergoing arrest? Should there be a difference between police treatment of Jews and others? Should there be a difference in regard to such treatment **by** Jews and others? (That is, are we prepared to recommend the same or different standards to Israeli police with Jews in custody, to israeli police with Palestinians in custody, to Palestinian police with Jews in custody, to American police with Singaporeans in custody, to Singaporean police with Americans in custody?) Does the alleged possibility of saving other lives have an impact on what should be done? If so, what degree of probability must attach to the claim of saving lives? Are there deeper issues about police behavior as rooted in structures of power, wealth, and ideology regarding "outsider" groups in any society? If so, what are the Jewish action-directives (call them or don't call them halakha, as you like) regarding such background issues? Etc? In other words, I am asking about the creation of halakha (small h/hei) concerning police behavior toward prisoners or other civilians. Would such an effort be a worthy one for a joint committee of rabbis and other concerned Jews, Israeli and Diaspora, cutting across denominational streams, to undertake? If so, who will bell the cat? Let me explore more deeply two of these issues: the underpinnings of police brutality, and the save-lives question: On the first: One commentator said that the Israeli police are acting in a "third-world" way as a descriptor of these alleged lawless and brutal behaviors toward right-wing Jews. But this is not "third world" behavior. In Philadelphia, for example, we are now witnessing confessions of a number of police officers that they not only used unlawful violence against citizens but fabricated evidence to convict people, some of whom may have been "guilty" of illegal actions themselves but others of whom were totally innocent of any wrongdoing. Detective Fuhrman boasts of similar behavior as an officer of the Los Angeles Police Dept. (in stories that track actual occurrences, not pure fiction). Both of these cities are "First World" cities, and until recently the LAPD was understood by most people to be one of the preeminently "professional" police forces in the United States (presumably a First World country). The officers involved in both cities are "First World" people -- that is, white. Police behavior throughout the world often violates not only human rights of civilians as understood in a universalist framework but even the law as it is described in each society. Such behavior is a matter of unrestrained or little-restrained power, used by the police against those who are perceived to be outsiders (i.e., powerless) in any particular place and time, and yet dangerous to the established order. Even when such behavior is formally forbidden by the community's laws, the police often perceive that those in power do not really mind. In effect, the police carry out in brutal physical action what the real powers in society "only" hold as contemptuous mental images and debasing economic structures. So I would say the question is -- What does it mean to create a "halakha" -- a sacred path of life, private and public -- that makes it very hard to act in this way -- not only hard for individual cops, but hard for the police institutions? If brutal physical behavior by cops reflects debasing economic and intellectual structures, do we need to change the latter in order to change the former? What in Torah would provide us with the basis of such new halakha? If practically all Rabbinic halakha was shaped by a world in which Jews were victims, not power-holders, do we need to shape whole new "massekhot" of a new "Talmud" for a world in which some Jews are power-holders and there is a Jewish state with cops? On the second question: Is the use of torture to attempt to prevent future deaths legitimate? It is sometimes used as a justification for Israeli "physical pressure" against Palestinian prisoners. At first glance this view has some attractiveness, but let us pursue its ramifications. Imagine the following case: an Israeli pilot on a mission to punitive-bomb Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon is downed, and is captured by Hezbollah cadre. They believe he knows when and where the next air strikes will come, and they want to prevent loss of life in their villages by getting the intended bombees out of range. Are they justified in torturing the pilot in order to get this information? If so, are there any limits to what they can justifiably do to him? What are they? Or should the rule be that only the degree of physical force required to prevent his escape is legitimate? One can of course argue that the ethics of the two situations are not equal, or even commensurable. Perhaps one might argue that for one or another reason, Jews are entitled to protect themselves in ways that other peoples are not entitled to use, particularly to use against Jews. Or one might argue that a pilot for an internationally recognized military force of an internationally recognized government is entitled to more protection than is the agent of a violence-using group that has no offical standing and is condemned even by the recognized national authority of the people for which it claims to act. (On the other hand, some might argue that a recognized govt is held to stricter standards of behavior than an unrecognized group, because it has more authority in defining future standards of behavior by others.) Hillel's broad ethical teaching is often said to be one of the gems of Jewish wisdom on such issues . He was trying to interpret the Torah's command, "V'ahavta rey-ekha ka-mokha -- Love your neighbor as yourself" -- and he drashes it to mean: "Do not do to your neighbor what you do not want your neighbor to do to you." (One might say, "Do not torture your neighbor if you do not want your neighbor to torture you.") Of course this begs the question: who is my neighbor? Are only Jews my neighbors? Does that mean that for Palestinians, only Palestinians, or for Muslims, only Muslims, are their neighbors? If that is how we are to interpret Torah, are there any constraints at all on how people of different communities should behave toward each other? If so, what? So you see why I think it would be valuable from every perspective for a group of Jews to develop a halakhic or neo-halakhic outlook on these matters, to guide both Jewish and nonJewish police. So -- who will bell the cat? Is anyone on our list in a position to initiate such a process? Regards & shalom, Arthur
From: A. Helfman <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 11:26:11 -0700 Subject: Looking for Subscribers in Springfield OH I've just moved to Springfield, OH from New York, and I'd appreciate email from other m.l-j subscribers in the general area. (Springfield is in between Dayton and Columbus.) I'm joining the local Reform congregation since it's the only shul in town, but I'd like to know if there are any other alternatives, or Jewish newspapers published in this area, or anything else that would help this expatriate New Yorker get acclimated! Thanks to all who respond! Amy W. Helfman (email@example.com) Reference Librarian Thomas Library, Wittenberg University URL: http://www.albany.edu/~helfman
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joseph Kohane) Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 21:10:01 -0700 Subject: Ohio State Hillel needs prayerbooks Ohio State University Hillel has been seeing enormous growth of its Reform and Conservative minyanim and is in need of high holiday prayerbooks for each. About 100 per would be great!! Any extras out there?-------
From: email@example.com (Adrian A. Durlester) Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 07:27:12 -0700 Subject: Re: Reform Judaism on the World Wide Web firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Rosin) writes: >I have recently written a memo "Reform Judaism on the World Wide Web", [snip] Well, after I've seen my copy of this memo, I'll decide whether or not to post my comments on the slow progress of UAHC to embrace the modern communications tools. Adrian Adrian A. Durlester email@example.com Production Manager, Festival Concert Hall - North Dakota State University, Fargo Alternate E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org AdrianD@aol.com ADurlester@cnetmail.ffa.ucalgary.ca
From: MFRYDENB@bentley.edu (Mark Frydenberg) Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 06:17:01 -0700 Subject: Songs During Slihot Andy Plotkin asked: >What songs are usually sung at a reform Havdalah service during Selihot? A technical point, but Havdalah occurs at the end of Shabbat, before Selihot, which happens much later (traditionally midnight, but, ok, start a little earlier so people are awake) in the evening. >Specifically, there is a song whose chorus is chiefly composed of "la la la >la's." Could you tell us which song this might be, and on what page it might >be found in The Gates of Prayer? Toda! I don't have a GOP handy to announce page numbers, but Debbie Friedman's Havdalah blessings melody has a la-la-able chorus (and it's re-recorded on her newest tape, World of Your Dreams?) and also on an earlier one. Other Havdalah songs are Eliyahu Hanavi/Miriam Haneviah, Hamavdil Ben Kodesh L"chol, Ushavtem Mayim B'sason, and Shavua Tov. One of the NFTY tapes contains a song "The Twisted Candle Brightens our Hearts as we watch the Sabbath depart.. We smell the spices, drink the wine, as the stars in the sky begin to shine.." 'Far as songs or things to sing during the selihot service itself, these come from the liturgy: Adonai, Adonai [the 13 attributes-- has a traditional melody, and a "new" melody on the NFTY: 50 Years in the Making tape] Shomeyr Yisrael [has many melodies, one I hadn't heard before is on the new 'Echoes of Shlomo' tape] Sh'ma Koleynu [Hannah Tiferet Siegel has a wonderful melody for this on her tape, 'The Healing Circle' which is very easy to learn] Hashivenu Avinu Malekynu Yigdal And in the little-known songs-from-my-childhood-department, have you heard of this one? I believe it was recorded by Tovah B. Gewirtz; I remember her name and what I perceived as a very "Brooklyn" accent on the recording. It's been ages since I've sung these words: Let's be friends, make amends, Now's the time to say I'm sorry Let's be friends, make amends, Please say you'll forgive me. During the ten days of teshuvah, Now's the time we say we're sorry ??? Shake my hand and I'll shake yours, we'll be friends for always. I'm missing a lot of the lyrics and "voiceover" for this song. If you remember this one, or know the missing lyrics, please share the words with me and the rest of the list. Hashivenu Hashem Elecha V'nashuva, Chadesh yamenu k'kedem. Help us to return, O God, renew us as in days of old. Mark Frydenberg
From: Arthur Waskow <Awaskow@aol.com> Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 10:39:55 -0700 Subject: Publication Announcement: Down-to-Earth Judaism (A Wascow) Arthur Waskow's book *Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, & the Rest of Life* has just been published by Wm. Morrow, and is now available in Jewish and general bookstores. Waskow will be doing booksignings at Borders in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts on Weds eve., Sept 13, and at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington DC on Tues eve Sept 19, and at a number of Jewish book fairs around the country in November. This book is like Waskow's *Seasons of Our Joy* but focused on everyday life: In each of its 4 sections (food, money, sex, & rest), he looks at biblical, rabbinic, kabbalistic, & modern Judaism and then at possibilities in our generation and beyond -- all in terms of, How did that Jewish era make that arena of life sacred, and how could we? Very good pre-publication praise by R. Eric Yoffie, pres-elect of UAHC, R. Elliot Dorff of Univ/Judaism, R. Nina Beth Cardin, ed. of Sh'ma, Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Letty Cottin Pogrebin of *Deborah, Golda, & Me,* Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, author of "From Age-ing to Sage-ing," Shoshana Cardin, chairman of United Israel Appeal and former president of the Council of Jewish Federations, & Rodger Kamenetz of "Jew in the Lotus." In November, Jewish Lights is publishing Waskow's *Godwrestling -- Round Two,* a book that is partly a reflective revision of his *Godwrestling* of 20 years ago and -- much more -- a new book written in the light of many midrashic wrestles of the past 20 years. It addresses the theology and practice of family relationships, relationships between different nations, religious communities, and peoples, relations between women and men and the rich and poor, relationships between human beings and the Earth, and relationships between human beings, God, revelation, and spiritual practice -- all in the context of communal and congregational wrestling with Torah and midrash-making. Waskow is very interested in doing Shabbatonim & 1-night stands at synagogues, university campuses, interreligious conferences, etc., to carry these ideas further into Jewish and American life. For further info on the books or on these speaker possibilities, he can be reached at email@example.com
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