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Long Hot Summer of Hatred?

06/21/2013 12:31:49 PM


These are fraught times for the Orthodox community and the Jewish people. Issues such as Women of the Wall, the proposed draft of Yeshiva Students to the Israeli army, the elections for the Chief Rabbinate in Israel (last week one of the most respected Rabbis in Israel called a candidate for Chief Rabbi a 'wicked man..his election would be akin to bringing idols into the Holy Temple') and many others, threaten to shatter what little sense of unity there is amongst us. Closer to home, debates and controversies in the Orthodox community are the catalyst for insults and ad hominem attacks. Vitriol has become part of our religious life.

I have a terrible sense of foreboding as we prepare to enter the three weeks of mourning for Jerusalem, that begin with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz this Tuesday. After all, the Rabbis insist that the reason for the destruction of the Temple was  'Sinat Chinam' baseless hatred, and we seem to have learnt little these 2,000 years. To be candid, I am concerned that much of the Orthodox world is on the point of an explosion, that will cause untold damage to everything we hold dear.

During the next four shabbatot - marking the period leading up to the 9th of Av  - I will be speaking on Shabbat mornings on the crisis of the lack of religious respect, and the looming emergency that we must avert. I will attempt to look at both sides of the argument - particularly regarding the most looming issue, the drafting of Yeshiva students. Indeed, that is precisely my main point - we have become so convinced of our own point of view that we are uninterested in hearing the other side of the argument.

June 22nd - "Who can survive G-dly wrath?" Combating Religious Hatred

June 29th - "A Covenant of Peace" - Why Yeshiva Students belong in Yeshiva

July 6th - 'Shall your brothers go out to war?' - Why All must serve in the army 

July 13th-  "From baseless hatred to mutual respect" - Averting catastrophe.

Each of these talks will be given at Lincoln Square Synagogue, 180 Amsterdam Avenue, before Musaf in the Nathaniel Richman Cohen Main Sanctuary. Services begin at 9am.

With blessings and prayers for Peace and Ahavat Yisrael.

Wed, June 3 2020 11 Sivan 5780