What Ari Shavit Said & What Israel has to do with our Children.

Ari Shavit, while speaking at the Standard Club on Monday December 9, said lots of things about Israel and its people that I continue to think about, but his comment about American Jewry really caught my attention. It arose during the Q and A portion of his presentation on his recently published My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Near the end of the address, Shavit expressed a profound concern over the relationship between Israel and Jewish American youth, especially those from secular, non-orthodox communities. What he said had nothing to do with synagogue participation, intermarriage, or the like. It had to do with the political behavior of Jewish American adults.

In early November, I came across the first of several reviews of Shavit’s My Promised Land. In this book, Shavit, an Israeli author and columnist for Haaretz, embarks on an exploration of Israel’s history from the early Zionist movement (of which his own grandfather played a significant role), to the present, in order to understand the source of Israel’s state of “duality” and his own fears about Israel’s survival that have dogged him since childhood. By “duality,” Shavit explains, “On the one hand, Israel is the only nation in the West that is occupying another people. On the other hand, Israel is the only nation in the West that is existentially threatened. Both occupation and intimidation make the Israeli condition unique” (xii). All of the reviews I read convinced me that Shavit had compelling things to say, so when I heard that there would be a Temple Sholom presence at the Standard Club to hear Shavit speak, I signed right up.

Sisterhood stands with Women of the Wall

Welcome to the first Temple Sholom Sisterhood Blog post!

Members of our Temple Sholom Sisterhood joined over 100 women and men to pray at a Rosh Chodesh service held at the Daley Center on May 10. The event was sponsored by Chicagoland Women of the Wall.

What a powerful experience it was to pray at a replica of the Western Wall right here in Chicago − particularly knowing that, just ten hours earlier in Jerusalem itself, women assembled to pray and were, for the first time, assisted rather than arrested by police.

Women of the Wall is a tremendous organization which has been holding prayer services and fighting for the right of Jewish women to worship at the Western Wall for decades. The recent court decision permitting women to pray at the Wall wearing tallit and tefillin marks the first step in a long journey to come.