Tuesday, December 24, 2013

42 U.S. university and college presidents have publicly rejected the boycott of #Israel. Not one has endorsed it.

Click here for the running list:


Thursday, December 19, 2013

To The Virginia General Assembly: What Will You Do In January?

To The Virginia General Assembly: What Will You Do In January?
From the Heart
Rabbi Gary S. Creditor

Somewhere around the end of December/the beginning of January we complete reading Sefer Bereshit and begin reading Sefer Sh’mot. We move from the story of the patriarchs to that of the enslavement. In the very first parsha/sedra we read about Moses, the person who will dominate four books of the Torah. His life is threatened by Pharaoh twice, first anonymously in the original edict to kill all the Hebrew boys and secondly after he defended a Hebrew slave and killed the taskmaster. Either Moses ran away or was certainly put to death.

He flees to the wilderness of Sinai where he marries Tzipporah, works as a shepherd for her father Jethro. While doing so he has the transformational experience of meeting God at the burning bush. God commands Moses to return to Egypt and be His agent in freeing the children of Israel. This is a compelling, forceful and driving narrative. We read it every single year without fail. Every year we hear God’s command to Moses to set the people free.

Is it just coincidental that we read this section of the Torah when the General Assembly meets and has days set aside for lobbying by the people of the Commonwealth? I don’t. You and I are not Moses and the General Assembly is not Pharaoh. Yet there are many people crying to be free. There compelling issues that cannot be ignored if we want to make a better, healthier and freer society. In January God says: “Go down Moses…” In January I hear God’s voice: “Go to the General Assembly…”

What shall we say to our representatives?
I want to ask them one and only one question:
Who is more hard-hearted: Them or Pharaoh?
Answering that question will answer everything.

Pharaoh wanted to kill all the Hebrew boys and let the girls live. Today it seems that they don’t care if its boys or girls. How many times will a young person obtain a gun and kill – in schools, in hospitals, and in the streets of Richmond? Do the names Sandy Hook and Newtown not resonate and cause trembling, the same as Moses felt before God and the Burning Bush? Did Bonnie Marrow and all her brothers and sisters in death die in vain?
So I will go to our representatives in the General Assembly and lobby for more extensive back ground checks on gun buyers, reduction of available fire power and other means of reducing the bloodshed that stains our streets and breaks our hearts.

In the reverse of the Israelites’ predicament of wanting to get out of Egypt, we have a population who want to stay in America. For them, this is the Promised Land. Remember, the Israelites did not have visas to get into Canaan. Our ancestors were truly illegal immigrants. These people, here, are our neighbors, workers in the grocery stores, tending to our lawns, picking the vegetables and fruits and raising their children to be honorable and dignified Americans. How shabbily we treat them. I am not aloof from the complexity of the matter. But I believe that the Senate passed a bill that is the best approach. In Sefer Sh’mot we are commanded to care for the stranger because we were them.
So I will go to the General Assembly to lobby for laws that, at least locally, will improve their lives, include a measure of justice, and reflect the attitude that we sought for our ancestors.

I have really one question for the General Assembly:
Who is more hard-hearted: Them or Pharaoh?
Answering that question will answer everything.
In January I will ask that of the General Assembly.
What Will You Be Doing This January?