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Shabbat to Shabbat: Welcome Special Guest Rabbi Meir Azari

03/16/2017 04:37:52 PM

Mar16

Rabbi Ron M. Segal

At a time when too much of the news involving the Jewish world is concerning and alarming, I wanted to use this column to share some positive, heartening, and good news regarding Israel! I begin with a reminder that we have a wonderful Israeli guest – Rabbi Meir Azari – delivering the sermon on Friday evening and leading Torah study on Shabbat morning. Rabbi Azari is the senior rabbi of Beit Daniel, our partner Reform congregation in Tel Aviv, and is one of the first Israelis to be ordained by Hebrew Union College in 1992. Under his capable leadership, Beit Daniel has grown into what is now the Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism with three distinct congregations throughout Tel Aviv. Rabbi Azari’s presence at Temple Sinai this Shabbat is certainly good news worth sharing.

In addition to our esteemed guest, though, the following are a selection of positive, Israel-related stories that will also fill one’s heart with pride. Included here are merely headlines and snippets of stories, but I encourage you to research and read further where interested.

  • In his recent visit to Israel, Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to take action against all acts of anti-Semitism within the state of New York, saying "It is disgusting, it is reprehensible, it violates every tenet of the New York state tradition." 
  • This past week, the Swiss Parliament took a positive step in the fight against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) Movement, voting to no longer subsidize development cooperation projects carried out by NGOs involved in anti-Semitic or hate incitement actions, or in BDS
  • Guests from all over the world came to see the latest innovations of the Israeli life science industry, as well as view a presentation of the Medical Industry products and the unique Israeli health-care system now ranked 4th
  • As a result of the strong ties developed between Israel and India, Air India (India's largest airline) will now have three 3 weekly flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv to accommodate the growing interest in tourism between the two countries.
  • Israel's economy is thriving, easily surpassing expectations, and is being boosted by both robust exports and increased consumer spending. Relatedly, the cities of Eilat and Herzliya are making plans to double and triple in size respectively.
  • And finally, mazel tov to Team Israel, Israel’s national baseball team which advanced to the quadrennial World Baseball Classic, in which 16 countries are represented, for the first time! Israel went undefeated in its first round of pool play (3-0). And, though they did not prevail in the second round, the demand for Team Israel fan gear as well as the sense of pride felt by Jewish baseball fans around the globe was palpable.

Like every democracy, including ours, Israel faces both internal and external challenges along with things it can and will do to improve. However, we should not forget that each and every day, amazing things are happening in and emerging from Israel. Each and every day, Israeli scientists and physicians and engineers are imagining and inventing new technologies and pharmaceuticals and medical devices that are changing peoples’ lives. Each and every day, Israelis are working both in the public sphere and behind the scenes to provide support, financial and medical assistance, and human aid to people in need across the globe. Each and every day, Israelis – just like you and me – are striving to live their lives with a sense of purpose and meaning. It is far too easy to allow news headlines to negatively shape people’s perspectives concerning Israel. Let us then remain cognizant of and committed to the knowledge that, each and every day, there is truly inspiring, encouraging, and good news coming out of Israel. Let us appreciate it and proudly share it!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ron Segal 

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Temple Sinai Clothing Drive - Your help is truly needed!

Please – consider ways that you can not only donate clothing to next weekend’s drive, but also a few hours of your time.  Please see the following link for more information.

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