Shabbat Keeps Me

More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jewish People. – Ahad HaAm

These words were written a long time ago by one of the early Zionists. Ahad Ha’am, “One of the People” was born Asher Ginsberg in Kiev, in the Ukraine, in the 19th century. He became a prolific writer, active in the revival of Hebrew.

He is remembered as the founder of cultural Zionism, arguing that the Jewish homeland should be more than simply a nation of Jews. Rather it should be a Jewish state, incorporating Jewish values. He warned against the fantasy that Israel was an “empty land” and cautioned that it was important to take seriously relationships with Arabs living in the land.

I love the quote at the top of this page. It reminds me that I lose sight of Shabbat at my peril. Shabbat keeps the Jews, but it also keeps me.

What is your Shabbat observance? How did you decide on it?  I look forward to your comments!

Liberty for all: An Elusive Goal  Quick Comment: Parashat Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

rabbiadar:

Thank you for sharing this memory! Reblogged to help spread something that should not be lost.

Originally posted on Finding Ourselves In Biblical Narratives:

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In vain I searched the  Internet for the words from Yitzhak Rabin seared into my memory but apparently forgotten by Google among his more famous speeches.

It was in July of 1974 when during his first term as Prime Minister Rabin addressed a joint session of congress and eloquently described learning the words on the Liberty Bell in their original Hebrew as a small child: “U’kratem dror ba-aretz l’chol yoshveha – Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all of its inhabitants (Leviticus 25: 10).”

Rabin pointed out that this cardinal foundation of both American and Israeli democracy comes form this week’s Torah portion.

 As recent events from Ferguson to Baltimore in the USA and the demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel attest, the United States at age 238 and Israel at age 67 both fall far short of that biblical goal.

Though neither country has yet…

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Sanctifying the Divine Name through Chocolate and Coffee: Thoughts for Fair Trade Shabbat

Originally posted on Rabbi Ed Bernstein:

Fresh cocoa beans Fresh cocoa beans

In Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the popular film version Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka manufactures his product with the dedicated labor of the Oompa Loompas. They provide Willy Wonka with cheap labor to which his competitors don’t have access. In the backstory, they are paid only in cacao beans. In the book and the movie, the Oompa Loompas are endearing characters, even as their labor upon closer analysis appears to be exploited. It turns out that the Oompa Loompas are real. That is, the major corporations of the chocolate industry, as well as the coffee industry, often rely on child slave trafficking to produce much of the world’s supply of chocolate and coffee. These child slaves are not smiling, cuddly figures like the Oompa Loompas. They are subjected to great abuse. On this Shabbat, congregations across the country…

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Who Was Herzl?

rabbiadar:

This is a long piece, but well worth the time to read it. It’s the most penetrating writing about Theodor Herzl that I’ve seen anywhere.

Originally posted on joe wolfson:

Theodor Herzl would have been 165 this week and this coincides with my first trip to Basel – of Zionist Congress fame – so I wanted to share this wonderful piece. For any local readers I also repost here a piece of mine published in Die Jüdische Allgemeine in German a number of years ago.

Who was Theodor Herzl? I think I first heard his name as a 9 year old on a Hanoah HaTzioni camp in a song about beards and Basel. And although his name is one of the most quoted in discussions about the Jewish 20th century – and rightly so – I’ve rarely heard or read much about the personality behind the vision. So it was a pleasure a few years ago to find a long first-hand description in ‘The World of Yesterday’, the memoir of the Austrian-Jewish writer Stefan Zweig. At the peak of his fame…

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Happy Birthday Israel

Originally posted on Walking Humbly. Seeking Justice. Living with Hope.:

Tonight we begin the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s 67th Independence Day.   Happy Birthday Israel! It was 67 years ago that the modern State of Israel was born. But it was really a rebirth of our ancient nation state, reborn after 2000 years!

The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel reads: THE DECLARATION:

ERETZ-ISRAEL (the Land of Israel) was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

 

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

 

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove…

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