Feb. 18 marks the 65th anniversary of the Gestapo arrest of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose in 1943. Then, on Feb. 22, their swift beheading after a show trial in Munich by Hitler's "Hanging Judge," Roland Freisler, who reviled them for daring to call their countrymen to action in the face of Nazi Germany's suspension of all civil rights and its mass murder of Europe's Jews.
There is a modern-day term for the inability to admit wrongdoing: sociopathy. A conscience that cannot feel guilt is capable of untold evil. An ability to look critically at ourselves, to see where we are wrong, is the beginning of making things right. Being right -- in the narrow sense of "correct" -- amounts to very little, if a correct position isn't also righteous. Joseph is correct in interpreting his dreams of domination and superiority to his family, but he is also insensitive and inflammatory. He is right again, according to midrash, in what he tells his father about his brothers' bad behavior. But in Jewish law, unlike American, truth is not a defense against defamation. Accuracy is not piety.
"Actress Leni Riefenstahl, friend and favorite of Adolph Hitler, convinced a denazification court for the second time today that her career during the Third Reich was artistic rather than political."
The conscience of the Jewish state has spoken through the recent landmark ruling of Israel's Supreme Court. It has taken an important step toward removing the pariah stigma from tens of thousands of Jews who converted to Judaism by the rabbinic authority of non-Orthodox rabbis, but ignored by the Jewish state.