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This Week: What do You Think? And Yaron’s Friday Thought

July 18, 2013 – 8:04 pm22 Comments

From the editor:

friday2Jeffrey Wolf provides analysis of the vicious battle for Chief Rabbi currently under way in Israel. Does the Rabbinate need to be reformed or is the current situation working? If you don’t believe it is, do you feel that moderate rabbis are the answer or do you feel that religion and state should be completely separated?

Meanwhile, state money will now go to pluralist Jewish learning in Israel, breaking the current Orthodox monopoly on state funded batei midrash. What role do you think the state should play in funding Jewish learning?

Poland bans ritual slaughter. Under what circumstances do you think state imposition of societal norms onto religious minorities is acceptable?

Tzedek, an advocacy group for Jewish Australian survivors of sexual abuse has been passed over for government funding, despite enjoying support from other advocacy groups and federal Labor MP, Laurie Ferguson. The organisation will now rely even more heavily on the community for funding. Do you think our community has the correct funding priorities? Do you think communal money is spent effectively? If not, what changes would you make? Please note, any personal attack against Manny Waks will be deleted and will constitute a violation of our commenting policy.

The Jewish Daily Forward lists artists who do, don’t, and kinda/sort of/don’t really boycott Israel, and provides a brief history. Do you think boycotts endanger Israel or are they nothing more than vanity projects for ethical show ponies?

Temimah Zucker writes about the challenges of fasting for someone who has suffered an eating disorder. Do you believe there is a problematic relationship between Jews and food? Is there a particular problem for Jewish women?

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And a Friday thought from Yaron Gottlieb:

This Shabbat in the Jewish calendar is called Shabbat Nachamu, for the first words in the haftorah, nachamu nachamu ami (be comforted my nation), and it has always had a strange significance for me.

It is after all a point of re-birth and possibilities.
The three Shabbatot prior to the fast of the 9th of Av are building up with God warning us of what will happen if we do not follow his law. This culminates with Shabbat Chazon immediately prior to the 9th of Av where the dread of the oncoming fast creates some moments of terror.
On the physical level the question of how I will survive for 25 hours arises (even though I thankfully fast comfortably each year), and how I will respond to the rather gruesome imagery that surrounds this day.
But then the fast passes, and we arrive at the great communal sigh of relief, and the words of comfort that are read the very next Shabbat. It is a re-birth, a potential turning point.
And yet how many turning points are squandered by people every year – Yom Kippur, where we are cleansed through abstinence, Pesach where we can use the cleaning of bread as a reflection of our own spiritual cleansing?
This community was set up by those who were willing to build great structures, but it is now feels like it is meandering, it needs a re-birth to once again become dynamic and relevant.
I have no doubt that I will not fully grasp this turning point again this year, but one of these years I hope to grab the opportunity with both hands and make something of it.

Disclosure: Yaron Gottlieb is the editor’s husband

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