CCAR Statement on the Situation in Israel

This is an official statement from the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) on the situation in Israel.

The CCAR is the professional association of Reform rabbis in North America.

CCAR Deplores Terrorism, Denounces Abbas

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
The Central Conference of American Rabbis grieves the deaths of Naama and Eitam Henkin, brutally murdered in the sight of their four children; and of Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Banita, savagely stabbed to death in Jerusalem. All four were victims of Palestinian terrorists, with the Henkins’ murderers identified by Israel as members of Hamas and with Islamic Jihad claiming responsibility for its terrorist’s work in Jerusalem.

Terrorism will not bring the Palestinian people closer to the realization of their legitimate national aspirations.

Making matters worse, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has renounced existing agreements with Israel, leaving even West Bank security arrangements in question. In an Orwellian turn, Abbas then denounced Israeli security forces for killing the Islamic Jihad terrorist, even though he was killed by the force necessary to stop his rampage.

While responsibility for these deaths lies in the hands of terrorists, we are also appalled by some of the response coming from Israel’s Jewish community. We condemn right wing extremists who are inciting a violent response against Palestinians, terrorists and otherwise. Also, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a plan to accelerate demolitions of terrorists’ families’ homes and to increase extra-judicial detentions of terrorism suspects. These plans are cause for concern. As a democracy and civilized society, respectful of the rule of law, Israel must vigorously protect its citizens from terrorism while ensuring due process and civil rights for all who live under its rule.

Now is the time for terrorism to end. Now is the time for responsible Palestinian leadership. Now is the time for a strong, responsible Israeli response to terror, one that respects human rights and due process. Now is the time for renewed negotiations, leading to a two-state solution, with a Palestinian State and Israel living side by side at peace.

As rabbis, we continue to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem;” and we refuse to abandon hope, even at this dark hour.

Rabbi Denise L. Eger           Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President                            Chief Executive

Central Conference of American Rabbis

It’s a Disability Adventure!

Getting ready to travel
Getting ready to travel

I’m preparing for a big adventure. This week I am traveling to Chicago to attend the annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. That’s the organization of Reform Rabbis in North America. I’ll see old friends, we’ll study and pray and tell tall tales, and it will be grand. The night of April 1, I’m going to shave my head.

This is the first time I’ve traveled so far in a long time, and I am a bit nervous about it. You see, my world has gotten rather small in the last few years due to troubles with chronic pain and arthritis. Nowadays, if I want to go farther than a couple of blocks, or if I am going to need to stand in line, I use a scooter. This will be the first time I’ve traveled with it. So there is a lot on my mind: the airports, the airplane, transport from O’Hare to the hotel, the reactions of colleagues when they see me on wheels — it goes on an on. I’m still self-conscious about using this thing. But if I don’t use it, I can’t go. And I am tired of letting my life get smaller; I have work to do!

I had coffee today with a friend who is an old hand at wheelchair travel. He was very encouraging – I might say he even gave me a gentle little kick in the tuchus. It’s easy to hide at home, but there is too much life to be lived, too much Torah for me to live, to give in to that impulse. I’m glad we had coffee, and I’m going to keep him in my heart as I buzz down the hallways of OAK and ORD and down the sidewalks in Chicago.

So wish me luck! Life is about to get really interesting.