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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.


 

Just in case you didn’t receive my text or email, I want to let you know that on Sunday, I’m flying to Poland on a Rabbinic Chessed Mission for Ukrainian refugees, sponsored by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). We’ll be going to the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing at Medyka and to several refugee centers. I intend to give a full report about the trip during Shabbat morning services on May 21st. 

Since we are coming to help, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, R. Michael Schudrich, asked for our assistance in obtaining medical supplies and medications for the refugees, as well as religious articles such as: talitot, tefillin, mezuzot, etc. The text/email I noted before invited people to assist in funding the purchase of these items. So far, fifty families have participated, raising over $11,000. If you too would like to help, please text or email me how much you would like to contribute, the shul will immediately “front” the funds and you can send the money to the shul.  

On a totally different note, this past Shabbat, for obvious reasons, I addressed the very complicated topic of abortion from the pulpit, which was followed by a congregational discussion over lunch. Abortion involves people’s most sacrosanct beliefs and opinions about God, the soul, and the nature of existence, and therefore naturally leads to very passionately held positions.

The traditional Jewish perspective on this highly emotionally charged issue is very nuanced and cannot line up with simplistic pro-life/pro-choice positions. Judaism recognizes that there are situations that warrant an abortion and situations that don’t. Every situation needs to be evaluated on its own, based on its unique factors. Therefore, Judaism cannot support a law that totally bans abortion or totally permits it without any restrictions.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the Jewish approach to abortion, I plan on giving a series of Zoom classes on the subject on Wednesday nights starting May 25th at 7:30pm.

In other news, Lufthansa airlines made headlines last week when all visible Jews were denied boarding a flight after a few Jewish passengers did not comply with airline mask regulations. On Wednesday, Lufthansa issued an apology, but many (including the ADL) are saying it does not go far enough. You can read this article from DansDeals (which has been reporting on the situation before the story hit mainstream media) and let me know what you think.