Jewish Journal


October 6, 2005

Community Briefs


Hillary Clinton to Speak on Forgiveness at Temple

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will speak on Yom Kippur, Oct. 13, at Temple of the Arts in Beverly Hills.

Clinton will deliver a 10-12 minute speech on forgiveness, as part of Rabbi David Baron's "living sermons," which typically feature well-known guests.

Past participants have included Dr. Judea Pearl, father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl; Steve Emerson, a counterterrorism expert; Peter Zvi Malkin, the Israeli agent who captured Adolf Eichmann; Cmdr. Scott Waddle, whose nuclear submarine accidentally killed a group of Japanese tourists; Bill Bingham, whose father rescued artist Marc Chagall; and John Miller, who left ABC News to handle counterterrorism for the Los Angeles Police Dept.

"A living sermon means instead of me quoting them or their books, I can present them in person," Baron told The Journal.

It was after reading the senator's book, "Living History," that Baron asked Clinton to speak to his congregation, which numbers as high as 1,800 on Yom Kippur. The service will be held at the synagogue's new permanent home at the historic Wilshire Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills.

"Living History" was the former first lady's 2003 perspective on events in the Clinton presidency.

"For me, [her book] was about forgiveness and functioning, when you have people who want to harm you on personal or professional level, and she was an exemplar of forgiveness," Baron said.

He began communicating with her a couple of years ago -- she was even considering coming last Yom Kippur, but her husband's health problems detained her.

Baron believes that his guests -- Jewish and non-Jewish -- always have something to teach him and his congregation. "Most of us are talking about [forgiving] in the private arena, and I think someone who has to do that on both levels" -- public and private -- "has a lot to offer," he said.

Forgiveness is only one part of the day's theme. Another is how to move forward after a life-altering experience, Baron said. In that vein, another Yom Kippur guest this year will be mountain climber Aaron Ralston who had to cut off his arm in order to survive.

Will some congregants be upset that such a political persona will be speaking in temple on the holy Day of Atonement?

"I'm sure that will be the case," Baron said, emphasizing that Clinton's speech will be completely nonpolitical. "But again, I would hope that people will see this for what it is -- an opportunity to meet someone who has something instructive to say, and that to me is the most compelling reason why I have her here."

Her political aspirations notwithstanding, the rabbi said, "I hope that on Yom Kippur of all days people will suspend their judgment and criticism."

For more information about Temple of the Arts tickets, call (310) 444-7500. -- Amy Klein, Religion Editor

Stand With Us Premieres Campus Hate Documentary

"Zionism is a mixture of white supremacy and the chosen people," said Abdel Malik Ali to a group of mostly Muslim students at a public event at UC Irvine in February 2005.

Such statements are not only tolerated but represent just the tip of the iceberg, warns the new documentary, "Tolerating Intolerance: Hate Speech on Campus." The film was produced by StandWithUs, an Israel advocacy organization, and premiered last week in Los Angeles at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills

"I never thought of making the film until I heard these guys speak," said Roz Rothstein, director of the documentary and national director of StandWithUs. "Racism on college campuses must be exposed and rejected."

The film, made for $25,000, includes examples of alleged anti-Semitism on college campuses, including UCLA, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz.

Through interviews with students, educators and college administrators, the film also explores the fine line between free speech and incitement, demonstrating how virulent anti-Israel speeches can sometimes lead to intimidation, or in some cases, violence. The film also argues that administrators and lecturers are often complicit in encouraging anti-Israel bias through the speakers and lectures they sponsor.

"Of equal importance to protecting free speech is the moral obligation to create a civil society on the campus," Rothstein told The Journal.

The screening before an audience of more than 400 was followed by remarks from people featured in the film, including professor Judea Pearl, father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and Nonnie Darwish, an Arab-American who is outspoken in her support for Israel.

Pearl, who teaches computer science at UCLA, described the anti-Israel rhetoric he has observed on campuses as a disguised form of anti-Semitism.

"We are seasoned to deal with anti-Semitism," Pearl said, "but we are novices when it comes to anti-Zionism."

For now, StandWithUs will screen the film on a limited basis, but ultimately intends to make the film widely available. -- Orit Arfa, Contributing Writer


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