a letter from the Diaspora

I sent out this letter in reaction to this week’s events in Israel:


Dear _________,

I hope this message finds you well.

My name is David Z. Vaisberg. I am a rabbi in the United States (Canadian originally), and I am a deep lover of Israel. I believe in the Jewish state as a home and refuge for all Jews, and I hold that the Jewish state is a place where Judaism as an ideal way of life, according to the laws and traditions of the Jewish people, can and ought to come to fruition.

My disappointment and outrage at recent events in Israel must therefore come to you at no shock. Between the stabbing at the Jerusalem Pride parade, demands to bulldoze the High Court of Justice because of the decision that took nearly a decade to take down only two illegal settlement buildings, the public statement by the Minister of Religious Affairs that liberal Jews have no place among the Jewish people, and the fire-bombing of a home of innocents, with their baby left dead, Jewish extremists have shown that they are present and vibrant in Israeli society.

These acts, like many others, are not only in violation of the 613 mitzvot of Torah; they even go against the seven laws for the children of Noah— mitzvot we expect to be observed by all human beings, and without which we can never be at peace. These laws include two very distinct ones: No murder, and courts of law and justice. Your home-grown extremists hold these two fundamental mitzvot in contempt.

Yes, the Israeli authorities have denounced these acts, and in the cases of violence gone after the perpetrators. For that I am thankful. All that you seem to do, however, is react. The time has long since come and gone for you to stop reacting and begin acting, to address the larger issues of racism, violence and hatred that are festering in your population.

You are clearly concerned with the future of the body of Israel, making sure that defense is strong and that the world knows of the threat Iran and other extremist entities pose to the state of Israel. Please concern yourself as much, if not more, with the soul of Israel, which is being destroyed from within by your own home-grown extremists.

Please take swift action to address Israel’s internal plagues, so that we might have a nation in which all her citizens can be safe and thrive, and in which we, the Jewish people, can serve as commanded as a light to the nations.

I pray that there will be a thriving Jewish state of which I can be proud, for my daughter when she is grown, for my grandchildren and for my great-grand-children. I hope you do too.


Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg
Temple Emanu-El, Edison New Jersey


Email addresses found at: http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/MKIndex_Current_eng.asp?view=7

Letters sent to:

Knesset Presidium
Speaker of the Knesset:

Deputy Speakers:

Leader of the Opposition
Faction Chairpersons
Naftali Bennett   – Habayit Hayehudi Chaired by Naftali Bennett
Eitan Cabel   – Zionist Camp
Roy Folkman   – Kulanu Chaired by Moshe Kahlon
Ilan Gilon   – Meretz
Robert Ilatov   – Yisrael Beitenu
Menachem Eliezer Moses   – United Torah Judaism
Ofer Shelah   – Yesh Atid
Ayman Udeh   – Joint Arab List (Hadash, Raam, Balad, Taal)
Committee Chairpersons
David Amsalem   – Internal Affairs and Environment Committee
David Bitan   – House Committee
Eitan Cabel   – Economic Affairs Committee
Eli Cohen   – Special Committee to Discuss the National Authority for Urban Renewal Bill
Israel Eichler   – Public Petitions Committee
Elie Elalouf   – Labor, Welfare and Health Committee
Karin Elharrar   – State Control Committee
Moshe Gafni   – Finance Committee
Tzachi Hanegbi   – Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
Special Committee for Discussion on the Public Broadcast Bill 2015
Uri Maklev   – Science and Technology Committee
Yakov Margi   – Education, Culture, and Sports Committee
Avraham Naguisa   – Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs
Stav Shafir   – Special Committee for the Transparency and Accessibility of Government Information 
Yifat Shasha-Biton   – Committee on the Rights of the Child
Nissan Slomiansky   – Constitution, Law and Justice Committee
Aida Touma-Sliman   – Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality
Yitzhak Vaknin   – Ethics Committee
Tamar Zandberg   – Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse
 Also Netanyahu of course, and Michael Oren.

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davidzvaisberg Written by:

David Vaisberg, originally from Montreal and Mississauga, Canada, serves as Rabbi at Temple Emanu-El of Edison, NJ and lives in Metuchen, NJ with his family.

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