As I grew up in my Zionist youth movement, I was constantly having extremely lively conversations about Israel. Some of my friends made Aliyah and they went to live in Israel. They believed that moving to Israel and making the world a better place from there was ideal. They continue to engage very directly with Israeli society and improve it and the world.
In my time as President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern Nevada, I have been proud that the Board has hosted events which structure civil dialogue on Israel issues in particular. One of our congregants has always said to me that Israelis discuss their country from all parts of the discussion spectrum, so why shouldn’t we as American Jews? Engaging in dialogue and debate is one of the great pleasures and pastimes of the Jewish people and Israel is no different. I also believe that being confronted with different points of view, some of which are not our own, is invigorating and helps sharpen our search for truth.
With that in mind, one of our congregants, Jeff Moskow, is launching an Israel Engagement Study Group. In it he will facilitate discussions on different Israel issues but participants will take ownership for researching different facets of Israeli life and society such as the Jewish settlements in Judea/Samaria/The West Bank, the place of religion in Israeli society and the role of the army. Please email Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place in this group. We are aiming for at least 20 participants.
As I said on Yom Kippur, Israel is a non-negotiable part of our Jewish identity, so please jump on this opportunity to engage in vibrant study while getting to know your fellow participants in a deeper way.
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen