Genocide has been in the news lately. On March 17th, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, “In my judgment, Daesh (ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.” But unless the world’s most powerful nation fulfills its legal and moral obligation under the Genocide Convention, thousands more men, women, and children will fall victim to the crime that once had no name.
According to Jewish tradition, the home should resemble a mikdash me’at, a small sanctuary that echoes the holiness of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Renovating this home, however, did not feel entirely sacred.
On a recent perfect early spring day (warm sun, cooling breeze, brilliant wild flowers) we took the children and grandchildren on a short hike to the mountainside adjacent to Shorashim, picnicking under an olive tree. On the way, we encountered toads, lizards, a scorpion, and caterpillars; our lunch was serenaded by the muezzin of the village of Shaab, with the backup chorus of the jackals that live in the open areas.
We caught up with young Jewish leader Andrew Keene, a student at Drexel University, to talk about going global, being engaged, and serving as a young lay leader - and why it’s all so important.
“(Every seventh year) that which grows of itself of your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your vine you should not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.
Every May, Jewish American Heritage Month offers all of us the opportunity to more deeply engage with the three and a half centuries of Jewish life in the United States. It invites us to take stock of the religious, cultural, political and social currents that have shaped and been shaped by American Jewry.