Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Just a few thoughts on the war

I'm travelling outside the United States right now, to a country whose head of government has been very supportive of Israel so far (and been criticized for that support). I've been following the war on the internet very closely and hope that this will finally bring an end to Hezbollah -- with as few casualties (on either side) as possible. I'm very grateful for the support of Israel from almost all sides of the political spectrum in the US.

I took a few minutes to write an email to an old friend in Zefat with whom I'd fallen out of contact. He responded "between bombardments" that he was still there, that it was great to hear from me, and to keep praying.

I also saw some awful anti-Muslim graffitti here near where I'm staying. It reminded me that Jews are not the only hated people in the world. I pray for this conflict to end soon, and for good.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

17 Tammuz

I had prepared something for this fast day, but with the apparent war that has just begun, I will only say that I pray for a good outcome for Israel.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4, 2006

Two hundred thirty years ago today on the secular calendar, a combination of Bourgeoisie and Aristocracy, all of Protestant Christian European background, voted to adopt a Declaration of Independence for the United States of America. (An actual vote for independence had occurred two days earlier; one Catholic delegate was actually appointed on July 4 and signed the document later.) The document, primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, is an amazing appeal to natural law and set the moral and ethical tone for the country that they founded. As Jews we can be thankful for this; there have been few places in the world where Jews have been treated as well for as long by the non-Jewish majority. Given the history of religious intolerance in most of the English speaking colonies before this time, one would not have expected such a transformation. Mr. Jefferson and the rest of the Continental Congress, we thank you!

Incidentally, religious Jews around the world were fasting that day -- July 4, 1776 fell on 17 Tammuz, 5536!