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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.


 

This week has been chock full of news stories that I have found of interest. Some are heartwarming (Blog #1 and according to some, #2), some heartbreaking (according to others, Blog #2), and some infuriating (Blogs #3 and #4).  

 

Blog #1: Tisha B'Av Rally Against Anti-Semitism 

We begin with a glimmer of hope that happened this past Sunday in Washington, D.C.. Elisha Wiesel, son of Elie Wiesel, shares the trials and tribulations of putting together a rally with a very diverse group of Jews and non-Jews. Despite the challenges that were involved and despite the current spirit of disunity that is plaguing both the U.S. and the Jewish community, the event represented a beautiful example of how EVERYONE can come together if they have the will.    

I helped organize the Washington rally against antisemitism. It wasn’t perfect, but it was necessary.” by Elisha Wiesel, originally published on www.jta.org

 

Blog #2: Orthodox Jews Playing in Major League Baseball?!

Having a Jew play major league sports is nothing new, especially in baseball. There have even been superstar Jewish players, such as Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax. However, having an Orthodox Jew play in the majors - that’s quite unusual. As you’ll see from the JTA article below, this has now become a possibility. The rabbinic internet group that I participate in (with 100s of rabbis) has had dozens of posts analyzing the pros and cons of this new phenomena. One the one hand, if the player is strictly observant, it could be a great kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name. If, on the other hand, the player does anything inappropriate, it could be a big chilul Hashem – a desecration of G-d’s name. Putting that aside, is excelling in sports something that Orthodox Jews should aspire to? Is this the type of pursuit the G-d wants us to pursue? 

“‘Why can’t I be the first?’ Orthodox baseball prospect Jacob Steinmetz on the history he hopes to make,” by Rob Charry, originally published on www.jta.org

 

Blog #3: Orthodoxy Under Attack By Netflix

I have rarely been outraged by things I’ve seen on TV. However, Netflix's new reality series “My Unorthodox Life” is truly outrageous. It is an all-out attack on my religious world that I so deeply love. No, I haven’t watched an episode. The trailer was enough for me to see to realize that the program was a vicious hatchet job on Orthodoxy. In order to give you a woman’s perspective on this issue, here’s a great article written by Dr. Leslie Ginsparg Klein.

It’s #MyOrthodoxLife and I’m standing up for it,” by Dr. Leslie Ginsparg Klein, originally published on the Times of Israel

 

Blog #4: The Ben & Jerry’s Brouhaha:

Unquestionably, Ben & Jerry’s makes a great product. Their creativity in both flavor mixtures and names is also to be commended. When it comes to their activism – it depends on your perspective regarding the issue they’ve chosen to support. As of this week, the company announced that they will not renew the current franchisees’ licenses in 2022 unless they agree to not sell their product in East Jerusalem and Israeli areas of the West Bank, which they call “Occupied Palestine Territory.” This obviously has brought about comments from the right, left, center and beyond. Should the Jewish community boycott them? Whadaya think? If it would make a difference, I would be in favor.  

How the Jewish world is responding to Ben & Jerry’s decision to exit Israeli settlements,” by JTA Staff, originally published on www.jta.org