Monthly Archives: April 2018

Open Letter To Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of Tikkun regarding his critique of Israel’s tactics

Rabbi_Michael_Lerner_-_Cropped

Dear Rabbi Lerner,

Allow me to start by being honest with you.  I read your article    https://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/israel-has-broken-my-heart-im-a-rabbi-in-mourning-for-a-judaism-being-murdered-by-israel/  and stopped when I felt I could go on no longer.  Before I resolved to read any further I told myself I would only do so under one condition.  The inclusion of 2 words.  Never Again.  Having not found them anywhere in your piece I chose to not read it till the end.

I wish you to understand 2 very important things.  First and foremost, I am not without compassion when it comes to the death and suffering of innocent Palestinians.  Secondly, unlike many who may even appreciate my letter to you, I respect your  intentions and do not see you as a traitor to the Jewish people.  I do however find your approach apologetic and weak and subsequently potentially harmful to the very cause you claim to promote. Peace for all.

You seem to somehow be afraid to call out for Hamas for being what it truly is, an instrument of evil.   They care little if at all for their people, and wish to see, if possible oversee the destruction of our people.  Whether you wish to see it or not, the greatest perpetrators of abuse on the Palestinian people are their very leaders.  Whether it is the misappropriation of funds by the Palestinian Authority or the building of terror tunnels by Hamas, the leadership has shown anywhere from little to no concern for their citizens to a desire to use them as pawns in a self-serving conflict with Israel.  Even in your piece, you try to spin Hamas’s lack of recognition for Israel into something resembling a desire for peace.  They have shown nothing to indicate that is what they want.  On the contrary, they’ve shown nothing but contempt for the peace process and manipulation of Gaza’s population.

Before I address the most important issue regarding your stance, let me first state a very important point.  The Israeli government is by no means without fault.   There are certainly events that have taken place that very likely could have been handled differently and in a more productive and yes, maybe even more merciful manner.  That being said, as a Jew and son of Holocaust survivors, I do not question the overall approach and actions of the government for one split second.  You see Rabbi, and this is something you fail to address in your latest piece, the modern nation of Israel was founded on an often unspoken promise of the words, Never Again.   The Jewish people have throughout the ages been targeted for death and destruction merely for being Jewish.  From the ashes of the brutal murder of 6 millions Jews the State of Israel was born.  I am comfortable in saying that the majority of Jews I have known over the years have preferred peace over conflict.  That being said, sometimes you must fight fire with fire, and if that means those who protect you must choose between your safety or the safety of others, I thank God that they do what they are designated to do, see to it that the mass murder of Jews never happens again.  If anything, knowing what is at stake, I have grown to increasingly admire Israel’s restraint, and challenge you to find any nation or organization, particularly their enemies that would show anything close to that shown by Israel.

Golda Meir once said the following:

“We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

I urge you to not only read that quote Rabbi Lerner, but to study it, meditate on it, pray on it, and sleep on it.  If after that you don’t restructure your thought process, maybe I will conclude I was incorrect about your intentions, an outcome that will sadden me significantly, but do nothing to change how I and many other Jewish people feel.

Sincerely,

David Groen

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One year

Mom2

As the Jewish year of mourning for the passing of my mother officially ends, it is time for me to turn a page.  I will always love my mother, miss her, and remember her who she was and what she gave me.  However, it is now time for me to no longer continuously share those feelings openly. During the past year, whether it was my profile picture on Facebook or the majority of my articles and posts, much of what I put out there was about my mother.  Not only do I not apologize for that, I am glad that I did.  For me, and I emphasize the words “for me”, it was the right way to give her the honor she so rightly deserved.  But now it is time to move on.   Time to make those feelings more personal and to honor and remember her with less display and discussion.  So I finish this year of what in Hebrew is called Avelut, by asking you to indulge me one last time, and read this letter to my mother, that, whether she is able to see it or not, best conveys my feelings.

DISCLAIMER: If I write a book there will be more

Dear Mom,

This  will not be a long letter.  I have said most of what any grateful son would ever say to his mother and have done so on numerous occasions.  What I wish to do in this letter is to end this year of mourning by telling you what I now know to be the greatest gift you’ve given me.

There are things many people have heard me say many times to describe how wonderful you were as a mother and a person.  Your strength in dealing with the toughest circumstances imaginable, your devotion to your family, your love of life, and your positive approach are all accolades many people who knew you speak of.  And rightly so.  But the other day I was speaking with a friend and something they said to me made me realize what was truly the best gift you were able to give to me.  That gift was faith in humanity.

Compared to many my life has been easy.  I have known very little pain and suffering and my personal losses came much later in life than they have for so many people I personally know or am close to.  However, as a thinker who observes the world, it is still relatively easy to be disillusioned by where the world is and where it is going.  You often saw the future of the world through concerned eyes and feared the rise of evil such as the evil you saw in your early years. And yet, on a daily basis, whether it was in your bank, the supermarket, your synagogue, or dealing with friends or family, you found the good, not so much to satisfy yourself philosophically, but merely to bring joy to your life.  You often saw the good in people most people had given up on, and you found a different way to appreciate and enjoy everyone who was at least somewhat open to it.  Most of all you believed in love.  You believed in it so strongly that your belief transferred over to anyone whose heart was open to it.

So as I complete not just the official year of mourning, but the sharing of my feelings regarding you and your passing, I say thank you for showing me the value of patience and love, and in teaching me how to have faith in humanity, even when it is most difficult.  That faith and belief in people and in love was such a large part of what drove you till the end of your life, and I thank you for showing me how that was possible, and hope to use that knowledge to share love and happiness with others for as long as I live.

With love always,

David

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