One People

Achdus is Hebrish for “unity”.


Maybe this is the really big difference in Jews: Our take on Friday.

The Orthodox don’t all look at Friday as the harbinger of this wonderful, holy day (although most of us love it once we get there). There’s all kinds of stress associated with MAKING SHABBAS.

Most of don’t go, Oh, Wow, Thank G-d for Shabbas! Most of us spend Friday afternoon scurring around still getting dinner together and cleaning house, resenting that the sun is setting and so much hasn’t been done.

And don’t even talk about bloggers. Anything taking us away from our blogging is a problem.

I can’t really speak for any other Jewish denominational group as a group like I can the Orthodox (which is where I’ve come from the past 30 years, you don’t need to know how old I am– old enough). Once the rabbi of our shul gave a speech about being excited about the fact that Shabbas was coming.

He said, “I don’t think most of you really are excited that Shabbas is coming. I think most of you have trouble greeting the day in the special way we’re supposed to greet it, like a person greets a bride. ”

Being relatively new to strict observance, I saw him at kiddish and said, “Actually, I do get a thrill lighting candles.” He looked at me, raised his eyebrows and said. “You do?”

“Uh, huh.”

So that would be a big difference between Jewish denominations, our takes on Fridays and Saturdays. It would be a really hard thing to unite the Jewish people around Shabbas since most Jews aren’t going to decide, one day, “Oh. I think I’ll keep Shabbas. Sounds like an excellent idea, turning off the television, not playing soccer, skipping the restaurant scene.”

Somehow I don’t see that happening right away. But the point of this blog is that we understand one another. We all need to know that in fact it is thrilling for some of us, and less than thrilling for many of us, and it’s not even a concept for most of us.

Which is okay. I hear there’s some pretty good stuff on television on Friday nights, and I’ll bet that’s very relaxing after a hard week, watching a few good shows.

Good Shabbas friends,


June 8, 2007 Posted by | fridays, kiddish, preparing for shabbas, shabbas, speeches | Leave a comment

NPR and the 6 Day War

It is difficult to listen to National Public Radio and not get angry. The pro-Palestinian news network, more of a news magazine, except for occasional broadcasting of the BBC which is also generally slanted against Israel, ran a series this week on the Six Day War.

NPR acknowledges that three Arab states, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon (with help from Iraq) were bent on destroying the state of Israel in 1967. Massive build-ups of ground troops and air forces loomed dangerously near.

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser declared his intention to wage a war of destruction against Israel (see, this is nothing new).

Moshe Dyan made the decision for a pre-emptive air strike that disabled all three enemy air forces before a single plane left the ground, virtually determining victory for Israel.

That night, a defiant Nasser called for jihad. “Oh Arabs, this is the day for Holy War, this is the day for vengeance,” said Nassar. The story continues to say that Israeli armor smashed through Nasser’s defense in the Sinai and by nightfall of the second day, Egyptian forces were in full retreat and, with them, Nasser’s wider Pan-Arab ambitions crumbled.

It was a Pan-Arab initiative to eliminate the Jewish state.

The Israeli government begged Jordan to stay out of it and told Israeli forces to hold back fire. Meanwhile, King Hussein turned his army over to the Egyptian generals who gave the order to open fire on Israeli-held West Jerusalem. Jordanian artillery units shelled West Jerusalem, destroying 900 buildings, killing several Israelis. Jordanian jets attacked coastal cities, including Tel Aviv, more than a symbolic nod to their Arab friends. Israeli forces finally attacked back, took control of the West Bank and all of Jerusalem.

When the war was over, Moshe Dayan handed the keys to the mosque in Jerusalem, the one built over the holiest Jewish site, where Abraham offered Isaac to G-d, where Jacob wrestled with an angel, to the Arab waquif. He could have blown the whole thing up.

The NPR story doesn’t sound slanted, particularly, until reporters interview advocates for Peace Now, Israelis who believe that giving back everything is the only solution to peace.

After 40 years, including two Palestinian uprisings and waves of deadly suicide bombings, Israel’s messy and tragic entanglement with the West Bank continues.

“It’s tragic more than anything else,” said Israeli peace activist Dror Etkes. “It’s a story of waste of energy, of waste of life, of waste of so much potential on both sides — Palestinian and Israel. It’s a story that cannot end well. Occupation cannot last.”

I’m not a Middle East expert. But this language, it’s tragic, it cannot end well, occupations can’t last is apologist. I can’t see why anyone would think that giving back territory would STOP the pan-arabists, still bent upon destroying the Jewish nation, from pursuing that goal, destroying the state of Israel, eliminating Jews from the country (driving them into the see, or perhaps nuking them), effectively ending Jewish life in territory that was won, as we here in America say, fair and square.

Again, it may sound trite to say that the American government never gave back “occupied” American soil to Native Americans who lost their ancestors protecting their lands, vast lands, much, much, much more territory than the Sinai, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights put together. Unless you call reservations a fair exchange.


June 8, 2007 Posted by | honest reporting, National Public Radio, Six Day War | 3 Comments