We believe you may well be interested in the following materials:
These are specially-written sermon ideas, that address current Israel-related issues in the weekly Parasha.
Here we lay out our approach to the unique nature of Israel in Jewish Life, and offer specific text-studies of the Hatikvah Vision – To Be a Free People In Our Land.
How can we envisage Yom Ha’atzmaut as a Jewish Festival, rather than just a foreign country’s birthday party?
Here you can find our longer articles about Israel engagement.
Below you can also find all the materials posted that have been earmarked for your interest.
January 12, 2012 by Gideon Sylvester
Rabbi Gideon Sylvester directs the Rabbis for Human Rights Beit Midrash at the Hillel House of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and serves as the British United Synagogue’s Rabbi in Israel.
Is belly dancing kosher? How about New Year’s Eve parties?
For years, the Israeli rabbinate has waged wars against such activities, revoking the kashrut licenses of hotels and restaurants that offered them. This enrages those who feel that kashrut authorities should limit themselves to certifying food; others admire the holistic approach, which indicates that both the food and the ambience strictly conform to Jewish tradition.
Spark: On Passover, we recall the 4 words of redemption in the Torah that correspond to the 4 cups of wine we drink. However, there are actually five words of redemption, which should correspond to the fifth cup. The fifth word of redemption is והבאתי – I will bring you [to the land of Israel]. Most Jews in the world today are safe from oppression, discrimination, slavery, etc. But our redemption is not complete until we are brought to Israel. Does redemption only come when we are literally brought to Israel to live there or can we bring ourselves to Israel in different ways? What still needs to be brought to Israel to make our redemption complete?
Spark: Taking the Jewish people from Egypt purposefully put the Jewish people into situations that would be incredibly challenging. This is to teach us that any worthwhile, meaningful endeavor, like taking the Jews from Egypt or creating a State of Israel, will by nature come with significant challenge. We are called to face these challenges with courage and integrity.
Spark: According to the Torah, Israel does not belong to the Jewish People. Our presence there is contingent on our moral behavior. We must not take the land for granted and remember that our presence there is not guaranteed.
Spark: It is easy to become accustomed or numbed to the awe that is the existence of a State of Israel. We must find ways to not lose sight of its tremendous importance.
Spark: Israel is the place where Jewish physicality and spirituality meet.
Is Peace Always the Ideal?
Spark: Aaron is one of the most beloved figures in Jewish tradition, especially because of his dedication to creating peace. Peacemaking is hard. Aaron has many successes in this area. However, like all biblical leaders, his successes are not universal. In this week’s parasha, we seee how complicated peacemaking is and how sometimes we need to step back and examine our motives for creating peace.
The Philosophers’ Retreat (2003) was an attempt to capture and make widely available an assessment of the state of the field of Israel engagement. This document has been used in schools, synagogues and in leadership training programs.
Poverty Among Families
Recent economic success in many sectors of Israel society hide the ugly fact that poverty still haunts much of the nation. Recent studies have shown that 420,000 impoverished families resided in Israel (1.5 million people), including some 805,000 children. Perhaps even more alarming, 1 million Israelis go hungry on a regular basis.