This Tisha B’Av, We Mourn Injustice In Israel – And Commit To The Fight To End It.

An OpEd by NIF’s Rabbi Ayelet Cohen and Rabbi Ephraim Pelcovits
Originally published in the Forward

Many progressive Jews struggle with whether Tisha B’av still has resonance when Judaism has evolved so far beyond Temple service. We wonder whether a full day of mourning for Jewish destruction and exile is still called for when we have a sovereign State of Israel and the accompanying reality of national power.

But the sages say that the Second Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam — baseless hatred — and, today, sinat chinam is rampant; it is promoted as a political tool. This, unfortunately, makes Tisha B’Av more relevant than ever. Continue reading

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What We Can Do About the Growing Canada-Israel Divide

There’s a widening chasm in values between Canada and Israel. Is it irreversible?

Israel’s political map is presently deeply divided – nearly 50/50 split between left and right political perspectives. Yet solid majorities still confess to support the two-state solution, gender equality, religious pluralism, minority rights, freedom of the press, and minority rights. Continue reading

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Tamar Rechnitz, Education Director of Tag Meir

If all of Am Yisrael (the Jewish people) could display the same tolerance and ahavat chinam (causeless love) as Tamar Rechnitz’s family, we’d be a step closer to the Messianic age. 

Tamar, 37, is education director of Tag Meir (Light Tag), a coalition of 48 organizations that immediately responds to racist “Price Tag” actions in Israel. She grew up in an Orthodox, right-wing family in the West Bank town of Efrat, and attended a religious girls’ high school founded by former American Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. Two of her brothers, one of whom is a religious court judge, are “on the very conservative end of the right.” But the family remains close, with frequent visits and respectful discussions. Continue reading

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Shmuel Shattach, Director of Ne’emanei Torah va’Avodah

Shmuel Shattach was all set to follow in his banker’s family’s footsteps when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Shmuel was nearing the end of his army service as a commander in the paratroopers and it was time to apply to university. 

“The assassination grabbed me and made a switch,” says Shmuel. “I felt I had to go into education and try to make a difference in the religious sector. Continue reading

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