New York, NY, August 1, 2014 -- In response to the unanimous U.S. Senate vote authorizing emergency aid for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
More than the Jewish people have kept the Sabbath; the Sabbath has kept the Jewish people. – Ahad Ha’amWhen I reflect on NFTY in the ‘80s, I would revise Ha’am’s quote to:
More than Reform Jewish teenagers have kept NFTY; NFTY has kept Reform Jewish teenagers.I cannot speak for all who were involved in NFTY in the ‘80s, but for me, NFTY was a holy sanctuary – it was what I would refer to as a beit midrash (house of study), beit t’filah (house of prayer), and a beit k’neset (house of meeting), all in one. Teens in the ‘80s were learning about Judaism ‘on the go.’ We were the “Walkman generation.” Finally, we could take music with us. This represented more than just music on the go ― for us it was the beginning of portable Judaism. I practiced for my bat mitzvah service with a cassette tape in my Walkman. I could play my tapes of NFTY I, II, III, IV, V, and my MoVFTY mix tapes over and over in the car, on a walk, and at NFTY events. Our music and our experiences were not limited to places where a music box could be plugged in; rather, they were everywhere. We were learning that Judaism was not limited to our homes and synagogues―it could be taken with us.
We know that the timing of this mission may not be convenient. But we also know this: Our presence in Israel, at this critical juncture, as North American Reform Rabbis, especially our interaction with some of those most directly impacted by recent events, will demonstrate more eloquently to the people of Israel than anything else we could say or do that they are not alone in this struggle, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis stands with the State of Israel and all its citizens in good times and bad.
Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, begins Sunday, September 29, at sundown. As we prepare, emotionally and spiritually, for these Days of Awe, we offer three prayers for the season.