The Ebb and Flow of Night and Day – a poem by Leslie Kaplan

The following poem was written by Leslie Kaplan. Leslie grew up at Temple Israel and is now in her early 40s. She has struggled with mental illness throughout her adult years. She is a smart and talented young woman.

Her father, Michael, read this poem today at our Men’s Torah Study. The theme of Leslie’s poem reflects the 9th plague in this week’s Torah portion Bo – Darkness.

Leslie granted me permission to share it with you and I do so here:

“Balance is achieved between the ebb and flow of night and day / The opposites of land and sea.

One cannot achieve enlightenment by merely staring at the sun / The stars also need their say.

You cannot achieve goodness by showing only your attractive attributes / The shadow will grow into a beast if not shown in the light.

The fire will burn your eyes if not cooled by cold blackness of closed lids.

If you want to be awakened you must know yourself / Know not only who you were or who you want to be but also the you right now / Old and charted / Grimed and calloused.

Find compassion for your tainted soul before it is too late.

Fight the monsters of your psyche with all the strength you can muster.

Untangle that which threatens to strangle the goodness still remaining.

And please, I beg, face the darkness within before the darkness becomes your face.

 

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Living in the Light, Being in the Light to Others – D’var Torah Bo

“I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars 
Did wander darkling in the eternal space, 
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth 
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went and came, and brought no day,
And [people] forgot their passions in the dread 
Of this desolation; and all hearts 
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:…”

Lord Byron describes well what must have been the experience of the Egyptians when the 9th plague of darkness befell them, as described in our Torah portion, Bo, this week.

This was not an ordinary darkness. So dense it was that a person couldn’t see his own hand in front of his face. The Midrash says that this darkness, choshech, wasn’t of the natural world. It wasn’t a solar eclipse nor the darkness that comes on a moonless night. While it oppressed the Egyptians guilty of enslaving the Israelites, the sun and universe operated normally. It was as if each Egyptian was imprisoned in a black box of isolation.

This darkness catapulted the Egyptians back to a time before creation itself when “darkness covered the face of the deep.” (Genesis 1:2)

From where did this darkness come, and what did it mean?

In Psalms (105:28) we read: “Shalach choshech va-yach’shich – God sent darkness and it became dark.”

In our portion, God instructs Moses: “N’tei yad’cha al ha-shamayim vi-hi choshech… – “Hold your arm over the sky that there may be darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be touched.” And Moses did so.

This darkness of heart and soul reflected the debased spiritual and moral condition of the Egyptians.

The Psalms (18:12) tell us something else as well: “Yashet choshech sitro s’vivotav sukato – He makes darkness be His screen round about him,” suggesting that the light that could not enter the Egyptian heart is always hidden, only with them it was nearly extinguished because they were slave-masters.

The Divine light, however, shone in all the Israelite dwellings. In its purest form it was a luminosity so brilliant that no one could see it and live. The mystics say that the Torah is a veil shielding the light which is revealed to each of us according to our capacity to fathom it.

Rabbeinu Bachya ben Asher (14th century Spanish Kabbalist) taught that God shut off every Egyptian’s antenna to receive this Godly light without interfering with the source of its transmission. But the Israelite antennae were open because our hearts were not hard.

What does all this mean for us?

If we live long enough we will suffer broken hearts. Some suffer chronic biochemical imbalances that need medical attention. Everyone needs love and support when we or our loved ones become ill, when we divorce and when a cherished loved one dies. Others among us lose our jobs and income. All these losses necessarily bring with them a pall of darkness.

Rabbi Isaac Meir Alter (19th century Poland) taught that the worst darkness of all is that blindness in which one person will not “see another,” and will refuse to look upon another’s misery and to help him. Such a person who can’t see another will become incapable of “rising from his/her place,” that is, of growing spiritually and emotionally.

Rabbi Yochanan taught that every eye has an area of white and black. We might think that the human being sees out of the white part. But no; we see out of the black part, which means that when we’re in the dark we’re capable of seeing what is in the light, but when we’re in the light we cannot see what is in the dark. (Yalkut Shimoni 378).

In other words, there is always hope, and there is always light, even when we suffer our darkest moments. In Egypt, wherever a Jew went, light also went because the light was in them. That is what it means to be a Jew. To live the light, to be a light to others, and to hope.

Shabbat Shalom!

Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to His Children and the Millennial Generation

My book by the above title was first published in October, I wanted to offer it again. Here are the endorsements for the book on the book jacket. You can also check out what readers have said at amazon.com. This is not only for millennials, but for their parents and grandparents.

“John Rosove does what so many of us have struggled to do, and does it brilliantly:  He makes the case for liberal Judaism to his children. As Rosove shows, liberal Judaism is choice-driven, messy, and always evolving, “traditional” in some ways and “radical” in others. It is also optimistic, spiritual, and progressive in both personal and political ethics. Without avoiding the hard stuff, such as intermarriage and Israel, Rabbi Rosove weaves all of these strands together to show the deep satisfactions of living and believing as a liberal Jew. All serious Jews, liberal or otherwise, should read this book.” —- Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie is President Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism and a regular columnist for the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. 

“Rabbi John Rosove addresses his intellectual and well-reasoned investigation of faith to his own sons, which sets this book apart for its candor and its ability to penetrate not only the mind but also the heart.” — Matthew Weiner is a writer, director, producer, and the creator of the AMC television drama series Mad Men and he is noted for his work as a writer and producer on the HBO drama series The Sopranos and earned nine Primetime Emmy Awards Matthew has received nine Primetime Emmy Awards.

“Rabbi John Rosove gets it. Here is a religious leader not afraid to tell it like it is, encapsulating for his audience the profound disaffection so many young Jews feel towards their heritage. But instead of letting them walk away, he makes a powerful case for the relevance of tradition in creating meaningful lives. In our technology-saturated, attention-absorbing age, Rosove offers religion-as-reprieve, his fresh vision of a thoroughly modern, politically-engaged and inclusive Judaism.” —-Danielle Berrin is a columnist and cover-story journalist for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. She is known for her Hollywood Jew blog, has appeared as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC, and published work for The Guardian, British Esquire, and The Atlantic. 

“Rabbi Rosove has written a wonderful book, a love letter to his children, and through them, to all our children. Prodigiously knowledgeable, exceedingly wise, and refreshingly honest, Rabbi Rosove has described why Judaism matters. It should serve as a touching testament of faith, spanning the generations for generations to come.” —-Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch is Senior Rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York City  and is the co-author of One People, Two Worlds: A Reform rabbi and an Orthodox rabbi explore the issues that divide them with Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Reinman.

“Rabbi Rosove’s letters to his sons are full of Talmudic tales and practical parables, ancient wisdom with modern relevance, spiritual comfort, and intellectual provocation. Whether his subject is faith, love, intermarriage, success, Jewish continuity or the creation of a meaningful legacy, you’ll find yourself quoting lines from this beautiful book long after you’ve reached its final blessing.”  —- Letty Cottin Pogrebin is a writer, speaker, social justice activist, and author of eleven books including Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female & Jewish in America and Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate. She is also a founding editor of Ms. Magazine, is a regular columnist for Moment Magazine.

“Rabbi John Rosove has given a gift to all of us who care about engaging the next generation in Jewish life. The letters to his sons are really love-letters from countless voices of Jewish wisdom across history to all those young people who are seeking purpose in their lives.  From wrestling with God, to advocating for peace and justice in Israel and at home, and living a life of purpose, this book is a compelling case for the joy of being Jewish.” —Rabbi Jonah Pesner, is the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C and is Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism.

“If you’re a fellow Reform millennial, give yourself the gift of John’s insights. This book is written in a breezy, gentle, readable style that is welcoming without losing sharp insight. It makes an even better case for Judaism than challah. It was so enjoyable and refreshing to read and persuasive without ever being pushy. Rosove managed to do what only a truly worthy slice of kugel or chance viewing of Fiddler has done for me: reactivate my sense of wonder and gratitude about being Jewish. I am a huge WJM fan.” —-Jen Spyra is a staff comedy writer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS) and formerly was a senior writer for The Onion.

“John Rosove’s letters to his sons based on his life, philosophy, and rabbinic work address what it means to be a liberal and ethical Jew and a lover of Israel in an era when none are automatic. He writes in an unassuming personal style steeped in traditional texts as he confronts conflicts of faith and objectivity, Zionist pride and loving criticism of the Jewish state, traditional observance and religious innovation. He is never gratuitous and invites his readers into his family conversation because what he says is applicable to us all.” —-Susan Freudenheim is the Executive Director of Jewish World Watch, was formerly the Managing Editor of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and an editor at the Los Angeles Times.

“Rabbi John Rosove has written a book of the utmost importance for our time. It is an imperative read for all those who struggle with the changing and evolving attitudes towards belonging, behavior and belief. His analysis, stemming from deeply personal contemplation and decades of rabbinic experience, offers clear yet sophisticated approaches to tackling the challenges facing this generation and those to come. This book offers a treasure of wisdom through the lens of Jewish texts – both ancient and modern – which help to frame life’s major issues taking the reader from the particular to the universal.  Israel is one of the most complicated of issues tackled in this volume and his chapter on Israel bridges the divide between Israel’s critics and staunch supporters offering a comforting approach to those who are deeply at odds with Israel and offers and important opportunity for a shift in our basic narrative.  Moving beyond the conversation of crisis is critical for the millennial generation.” —-Rabbi Josh Weinberg is President of the Association of Reform Zionists of America and is a leading young voice in world-wide Zionist politics and affairs.

 

A Pure Soul – Moses’ Selection as Prophet

 

Moses at the Burning Bush – Marc Chagall

The Book of Exodus is the story about God’s saving love for the oppressed Israelites. It begins with the birth of Moses, follows him as a young prince, as a rebel and outlaw, a shepherd, and THE prophet of God.

Why Moses? What was so unique about him that God chose him to be his most intimate prophet?

Moses was complex, passionate, pure, just, humble, at home nowhere, carrying his people’s burdens while hearing God’s words.

He was unique, the only prophet to speak panim el panim (“face to face”) with God. That is what my drash-poem is about. Moses is the most important Jew in our history and our gold standard of a religious, moral, and political leader.

In our time the world has benefited from Mahatma Gandhi, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Dr. Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela. Nevertheless, Moses continues to stand alone.

A Pure Soul

I walk in a daze / Eyes sunk in creviced faces / Fettered to worldly tasks / Unable to glimpse rainbows.

I imagine Moses in Midian like that / Brooding in exile / Burdened by his people’s suffering / Knowing that each day / They scream from stopped-up hearts / Shedding silent tears.

A simple shepherd Moses / Staff in hand / Counting sheep / Until one day weaving among rocks / And bramble bushes / The shepherd / Heard thorns popping / Turning his head / His eyes opened / And he would never be the same.

God had from his birth taken note of him / And waited until this moment / To choose him as prophet.

Dodi dofek pitchi li / A-choti ra-yati yo-nati ta-mati. / Open to me, my dove / my twin / my undefiled one. (Song of Songs 5:2)

Moses heard God’s voice / And beheld angels, / His soul flowing in a sacred river / Of Shechinah light.

‘Why me? / Why should I behold such wonder? / Unworthy am I!’

God said / ‘Moses – I choose you / Because you are soft / Because you weep / Because your heart is burdened and worried / Because you know this world’s cruelty / And you have not become cruel / Nor do you stand idly by.

You are a tender of sheep, / And you will lead my people / With the shepherd’s staff from Egypt / And teach them to open their hearts / Without fear.’

Trembling, Moses peered a second time / Into the bush aflame / Free from ash and smoke.

His eyes opened as in a dream / And he heard a soft murmuring sound / Like the sound breath makes / Passing through lips. 

MOSHE MOSHE!—HINEINI!

Two voices—One utterance! / He hid his face / The more Moses heard / The brighter was the light / And he knew he must turn away / Or die.

The prophet’s thoughts were free / Soaring beyond form / No longer of self / To this very day / There has not been a purer soul than his.

God said ‘Come no closer, Moses! / Remove your shoes / Stand barefoot here on this earth / I want your soul.

I am here with you and in you / I am every thing / And no thing / And You are Me / I see that which is and which is not / And I hear it all.

Take heed shepherd-prince / My people‘s blood / Calls to me from the ground / The living suffer still / A thousand deaths.

You must go and take them out / Every crying child / Every lashed man  / Every woman screaming silent tears.

And Moses know this / “With weeping they will come / And with compassion will I guide them.” (Jeremiah 31:8) / The people’s exile began with tears / And it will end with tears.

I have recorded their story in a Book / Black fire on white fire / Letters on parchment / Telling of slaves / Seeing light / Turning to Me / Becoming a nation.

The Book is My spirit / The letters are My heart / They are near to you / That you might do them / And teach them / And redeem My world / That it might not be consumed in flames.

Poem composed by Rabbi John Rosove

 

Human Rights Organizations: Everyone With a Heart Must be Against the Expulsion of Refugees

I have written about the tragedy of the 40,000 Eritrean and Sudanese Refugees who walked across the desert to Israel escaping chaos and terror in their own countries several times over the past years and am heartsick that the government of Israel refuses to welcome these tempest-tost people for political asylum or in any other temporary status.

I love Israel but this government action is unacceptable and contrary to the liberal Jewish values of welcoming the stranger.

The following is a report from the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Amnesty International Israel, ASSAF – Aid Organization for Refugees, ACRI – The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Kav LaOved, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, ARDC – African Refugee Development Center:

“Israel is sending refugees to an unsafe state and many of them to their deaths. Rwanda is not safe. All eyewitness accounts tell us that those who are deported from Israel to Rwanda find themselves without status or rights and exposed to threats such as kidnapping, torture, and human trafficking. They are forced to continue their lives as refugees. Few of them succeed in surviving the journey and arrive in the end to a safe haven. The expulsion to Rwanda endangers the very lives of these refugees. 

Israel deliberately prevents Africans from applying for asylum and then says that since they did not submit their requests, they will expel them. This year alone, 7,000 Eritreans and Sudanese tried to submit asylum applications, but the Population and Immigration Authority prevented them from physically doing so. The only office in the country where one can apply for asylum doesn’t even allow for Africans to use their rights and refuses to take in the asylum applications of the thousands of them that wait in line for days.”

 

 

 

 

 

Cult of the Ignorant

2018 will be a pivotal year in American politics. It’s impossible to know what will be the mix of Republicans and Democrats in Congress after the mid-terms a year from now, what will have taken place vis a vis the special prosecutor investigating collusion and obstruction of justice charges in this White House, and whether the “year of the woman” will continue to evolve.

I came across this quote by Isaac Asimov today (today would have been his 98th birthday) that I want to share. It is prescient and truer than ever today:

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

-Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (born January 2, 1920 and lived to 1992)

“Hotel Everest – One Step at a Time” – A Film Review

Hotel Everest Flyer

The Trailer for this moving documentary describes the film this way:

“In Israel and Palestine, the road to peace is a steep climb. For three activists, one Israeli, one Palestinian and one American, the challenges seem insurmountable. And yet they try to see and understand the humanity in “the other” and forge connections that promote empathy, understanding and, in their wildest hopes, peace. Hotel Everest is their story.”

This 40-minute film was created by the documentary film-maker Claudia Sobral with her writer Sophie Sartain [full disclosure – both are friends and members of my congregation] and centers around the conversations of three peace activists, retired Israeli Colonel Eden Fuchs, Palestinian Ibrahim Issa, and Buddhist American Whit Jones.

Eden attended the showing of the film at my synagogue and Ibrahim spoke to the assembled via skype from Bethlehem. We were joined in Los Angeles by 80 Israelis, Palestinian Arabs, Middle Eastern Muslims, American Jews, Christians, and others.

The film opens with Whit Jones flying from Boise, Idaho to Tel Aviv. A brief history of the conflict is reviewed that includes footage showing the 1947 UN Partition vote that called for the establishment of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine, and then states that in 1948 the State of Israel became independent, a coordinated attack by all the surrounding Arab nations followed, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians went into exile many of whom settled in refugee camps.

Colonel Fuchs explained that at the age of 45 he realized that he knew no and had never known any Palestinians personally. It was then that he discovered the Everest Hotel in Beit Jala, an Arab village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. There, Palestinians and Israelis meet freely, talk and listen to one another, learn of each other’s losses, fears, despair, and dreams, and discover that they share the same fate and must find a way to live together in peace.

When he was 14, Ibrahim was shot by Israeli soldiers in a demonstration. He grew up to understand, however, that violence is not the way to peace. Sitting in Beit Jala alongside Eden, Ibrahim said: “Eden is my brother and I trust him.” Eden responded simply with a full and loving heart: “Thank you!”

In the Q and A I asked Ibrahim how he came to love and trust Eden given their different histories and identities. He said that having a safe space at Hotel Everest opened their hearts to compassion and friendship.

The film did not address the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I couldn’t resist asking what each of them believed to be the best political solution. They agreed that peace can only come when there are mutual respect and acknowledgment of the dignity of the other, when compassion replaces hatred, and Israelis and Palestinians meet as human beings and not as enemies.

Ibrahim said that he believed once in the two states for two peoples resolution of the conflict, but now believes that settlement expansion in the West Bank has foreclosed a two-state solution. A one-state solution, he says, is the way forward, a state in which Palestinians and Israelis share equal rights and acknowledge the dignity and humanity of the “other.”

Eden confessed that he is not a politician and would not express a political position. Rather, he believes that trust, respect, and compassion will result in the right political solution whatever that may be.

Each man has faced dangerous challenges. Eden has been characterized by fellow Israelis as a traitor and as the “seed of Amalek.” He often despairs about this unending conflict, but when he reaches out to his Palestinian partners and they accept his hand with friendship, he knows that “peace can come and my dreams are restored.” He seizes each of the moments as they come.

The film shows Eden arranging for permits with Israeli security services to allow 15 Palestinian Arab women to travel to the Mediterranean Sea to swim in the waters, fully clothed, for the first time in their lives. Though he was gratified to arrange this outing, he felt that his actions forced him to participate in the occupation that he abhors.

Eden worries that the young generation of Israelis who as children were once open-hearted and pure have become hardened as a consequence of serving as occupational soldiers in the West Bank.

Ibrahim too was accused by Palestinian extremists of being a traitor. These extremists regard any Palestinian who cooperates with Israel as contributing to “normalization” of the occupation. Ibrahim rejects the charge explaining that the only way to peace is to engage with and speak to those with whom we disagree.

Hotel Everest is a heart-wrenching and inspiring film that ought to be seen by every Israeli and Palestinian, and especially by their political leadership.

 

See http://www.fjproductions.com/hoteleverest/ and http://www.hoteleverestthemovie.com/

 

 

 

 

The December Dilemma Revisited

Every year I’m asked what I think about Jews bringing Christmas trees into their homes. For Jews, my answer is simple – it’s inappropriate. But, when a Jew is married or living with a Christian, it isn’t an unreasonable request, as emotionally difficult as it may be, for the Jew to accept having a Christmas tree in the home. After all, for the Christian partner, the tree is a tactile and joyous symbol of the season, the coming together of family, and for more than 50% of American Christians (according to recent polls) the Christmas tree is representative of a deeply held religious belief in Jesus as the Christ Messiah.

For so many Jews, the thought of bringing a Christmas tree into the house feels like a betrayal against the Jewish people, Jewish tradition, Jewish history, and one’s own Jewish identity. Not only this. For Jewish couples to have a Christmas tree in their homes, unwittingly perhaps, is disrespectful of the sacred symbols of Christianity.

Though many regard the Christmas season in America as a secular celebration, the Christmas tree is far more than a secular sign of the season. According to many Christian religious authorities the tree represents the cross upon which Jesus was executed. The crowning star recalls the star over Bethlehem on the eve of the Christian savior’s birth. The tinsel represents angel hair. The bulbs recall the apple on the tree of knowledge and the Christian dogma of “original sin.” The holly wreath symbolizes the crown of thorns worn by Jesus as he carried the cross, and the berries are drops of blood symbolizing the Christian Messiah’s vicarious suffering for the sins of humanity.

For Jews to appropriate cavalierly the sacred symbols of another faith tradition for our own use and purposes is a profound act of disrespect.

All this being said, I confess that there’s something magical about this time of year. I personally love Christmas carols. I enjoy the smell of pine and the beauty of the tree decorated in my Christian friends’ homes. I appreciate it all and I value the deeper religious meaning of these symbols for Christians. But as Dr. Ron Wolfson of the American Jewish University has written, it is one thing for a Jew to “appreciate” Christmas and it is quite another for a Jew to “appropriate” Christmas as it is not ours to appropriate.

A good rule of thumb for Jews when questioning whether we should use a symbol is to ask if that symbol would be appropriate to place in a synagogue lobby.

“Of course not!” most of us would say. “After all – the synagogue is a Jewish house of worship, a place of study and assembly!”

Jewish tradition teaches that not only is the synagogue a holy place, but so too is the home which is called a mik’dash m’at (a small sanctuary). Therefore, what is observed at home ought not to conflict with what is observed in the synagogue.

I once suggested to an interfaith couple that was arguing vehemently about having a Christmas tree in their living room that the Jewish partner might consider creating a “fiction” whereby he would consider the corner of the house in which the tree is placed to be temporarily not part of his home. He’d be a “visitor” there and after the holiday, when the tree is removed, he could reclaim that space as part of his home. That bout of mental gymnastics worked for him, and I’ve suggested it to others as well.

What about the children of interfaith marriages? Can they be raised in both traditions, as so many couples claim to be doing?

I believe it’s a mistake to think that children can be raised in two different religious traditions. Not only is such an effort lacking in integrity, it’s confusing to children.

Judaism and Christianity fundamentally hold different religious world-views, theologies, beliefs, customs, rites, rituals, practices, histories, and traditions. One cannot be “half-Jewish” and “half-Christian.” One is either Jewish or Christian.

For parents of children who believe that during the Christmas season it’s easier to acquiesce to their children’s desires for Christmas in their own home, I have two responses. First, Judaism provides many ongoing opportunities for celebration including Shabbat every week, the holidays, festivals, and life-cycle events. And second, parents often say “no” to their children, whether it be “no” to more toys, television and social media time, high fat foods, and staying up late. Why should it be any different when it comes to having a Christmas tree in a Jewish home?

Parents need to be able to explain that Christmas does not belong to Jews. It isn’t our holiday. It’s certainly appropriate and even enriching for children to visit the homes of their Christian friends and relatives during this season and enjoy the holiday there, but they need to understand that Christmas does not belong in a Jewish home. Giving this clear message to our children is important for as we do so we are teaching them that we Jews have self-respect and that we respect others as well.

My Position on President Trump’s Position on Jerusalem and Reaction to Mahmoud Abbas’ Slander

Kotel

Photo by Peter Marcus

This week’s Los Angeles Jewish Journal printed my statement (below) on President Trump’s proclamation on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

I add my dismay and anger about the destructive and hostile rhetoric of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that was delivered in the wake of Trump’s proclamation. Abbas was speaking to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and there he asked the international community to withdraw its recognition of the State of Israel. He added that the Jewish people has no historic claim to Jerusalem.

On its face, his statements are inflammatory and destructive. His claim that the Jewish people has no historic claim to Jerusalem is historically false. Though I can understand his frustration with the Trump message on Jerusalem, a statement avoided by every American President before Trump because they understood that such a statement ought to be considered only in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. There is no excuse for Abbas’ defaulting hardline rejection of Israel’s national right to a homeland and a State in the land of Israel and to the lie denying that Jews established Jerusalem as their capital city since the time of King David (1000 BCE).

What follows is my statement as it appears in this past week’s print edition of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal (Community Reacts to Jerusalem News – jewishjournal.com/cover_story/228595/community-reacts-jerusalem-news/) 

“All Jews who love Israel recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of the the Jewish state. For me this has never been a question. 

Our people’s yearning for international recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is as old as the state itself. Our yearning at last has been addressed by President Trump’s proclamation this week. 

As satisfying as this is, there was something significantly missing in President Trump‘s address – recognition that Jerusalem is also the capital of a future Palestinian state.  

Had the President said that, world reaction would be magnanimous and I believe positive, and there would be less risk of violence against Jews, Americans, and Palestinians.

Now that Jerusalem has been so recognized, I would hope that the United States and Israel would be able to say publicly that East Jerusalem can one day be the capital of a Palestinian state in an end-of-conflict negotiated two state solution. 

Only a two state solution can address the long term security needs of the State of Israel, preserve it’s Jewish character, and sustain its democratic system of government.

I hope that the needle has been moved in a positive direction as a consequence of President Trump‘s proclamation. I also hope that there is a secret strategic plan that the United States has developed to bring about a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Both Israel and the Palestinians need to be prepared to make painful compromises in a negotiated settlement, and only the United States has the authority and power to help the two sides make peace.  

I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”