Yasher Koach to Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum for writing, and to JTNews for publishing, one of the most heartfelt and thought-provoking opinion pieces relating to the conflict in Israel and Palestine I’ve read in any publication. (“Getting Caught Trying,” Rabbi’s Turn, Nov. 15) In the article, the rabbi shared his own experience meeting “the other” and cited sources from Torah about the value and importance of making the effort — or “getting caught trying” — as former president Bill Clinton calls it.
Reading the rabbi’s account of his trip to Israel and the West Bank, and his subsequent interactions with a young Palestinian peace activist, the initiative toward peace becomes less of an abstract vision or a radical concept, and instead a realistic possibility worth the very great effort.
If Rabbi Rosenbaum has taken a risk in speaking out on the issue, he may be a voice for the significant number of American rabbis who are afraid to share their feelings on Israel, according to a JCPA study released Oct. 8, 2013 (“Reluctant or Repressed? Aversion to Expressing Views on Israel Among American Rabbis.”)
“Within a few minutes we had gone from turning away from each other to listening carefully to each other and finding common ground.” Finding common ground is what the negotiators in renewed peace talks are looking for.
“But because I hung in there a little longer, I found out that our differences were not irreparable.” Those words are a metaphor for the renewed effort, spearheaded by Sec. of State Kerry to negotiate a two-state solution.
As a member of J Street Seattle, I hope his congregation and the community at large appreciate and respect the rabbi’s effort to construct a bridge of communication over these troubled waters and, as well, enhance that spark of hope for a resolution that is becoming more and more talked about in the mainstream Jewish community.