The debate between two colleagues whom I admire deeply, Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, is poignant, honest, gracious, and deeply important.
The Los Angeles Jewish Journal has printed Rabbi Wolpe’s initial op-ed and Rabbi Jacob’s response.
I agree with both on a number of points they make, but I side with Rabbi Jacobs.
There is a huge difference between being partisan and political. I do not use my pulpit to preach partisan politics, but I do speak about the great policy issues that have moral and ethical implications. Jewish tradition does indeed say a great deal about those questions and, yes, Rabbi Wolpe is right, there are views that may seem contradictory to each other but are both “Jewish” views.
My friend Yossi Klein Halevy, for example, speaks about Purim Jews and Pesach Jews. The former reminds us not to be naive, that there are enemies out there wishing us ill. The latter reminds us not to be cruel, that we who know the heart of the stranger and have in our history suffered the tyrant’s lash understand the critical importance of our remaining compassionate even in the midst of evil.
See “Why my friend David Wolpe is wrong: A ‘politics free’ pulpit is an empty …”