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Rabbi's Blog

rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


 

We often don't realize the significance of our communication, or as I like to call it, the weight of our words. How a casual nod can be taken as an expression of validation. How disagreement can lead to disengagement, as opposed to a constructive debate. How exaggeration and hyperbole can actually shift a person's perspective to an altered reality. Our speech has meaning, it creates an impact on our relations with others and how we view the world. With this in mind, I would like to share with you the following articles, which really bring this idea home. 

Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris made a terrible mistake while at George Mason University,. The VP was asked a question by a Yemeni-Iranian student, in which she accused Israel of “ethnic genocide.” Instead of politely correcting the student, Harris launched into a cringe-worthy response about how “no one can suppress your truth.” For the vice president to not only be silent when faced with lies, but to praise the student, is extremely damaging to all those who are actively fighting for truth on any issue. The fact that the VP has a strong pro-Israel stance is irrelevant, as explained by Emily Schrader, CEO of Social Lite Creative, in Blog #1.

I debated a great deal whether to share with you in Blog #2 an op-ed by Rachel Hartman, for reasons that are quite evident when you read her article. However, even though I strongly disagree with her personal life choice, she makes a very important point that all of us need to take to heart about interacting with people with whom we disagree. 

In Blog #3, we look at another common Israel bashing accusation, which is that Israel is an apartheid state. While Israel has unfortunately experienced issues with discrimination against Arabs, there is a huge gap between those issues and Israel being an apartheid state as David Suissa, President of Tribe Media/Jewish Journal, explains in his op-ed.  

Blog #1: “The cost of Kamala validating Israeli genocide speech,” by Emily Schrader, originally published in the Jerusalem Post 

Blog #2: “My militant sister campaigns against intermarriage. I am engaged to a gentile. Here’s how we remain family,” by Rachel Hartman, originally published in Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Blog #3: “A Silent Arab Spring is Sprouting...in Israel,” by David Suissa, originally published in the Jewish Journal