Israel Police have been holding talks with Israeli Arab representatives in bid to diffuse tensions ahead of Yom Kippur, after the burning of an Upper-Galilee mosque earlier this week. Police hope that calm will be restored in time for Yom Kippur on Saturday.
A friend sent me an e-mail telling me I "can't miss" this Jerusalem rabbi's one-man show Sunday night at Beth Jacob Congregation. I opened the e-mail a few minutes before show time, so, on a whim, I ran over to catch "The Four Faces of Israel," starring Rabbi Benji Levene. After two hours of Benji, my head was spinning.
At first blush it seemed an odd thing for an observant Jew to do: Slogging my way through morning rush-hour traffic to get downtown to demonstrate against the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' decision to remove a small cross from the county seal.
And yet, I felt compelled to be there. The supervisors had already capitulated, in a 3-2 vote, to a threat by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to sue the county over the cross. Surprised by the public outcry, the supervisors called for another vote to consider a so-called "compromise" with the ACLU in which the cross on the seal -- just one of a dozen various symbols of the region's history -- would be replaced by a mission. But as one clever observer noted, a mission without a cross just looks like a Taco Bell.
Even if the reader is a person who does not regularly attend Shabbat worship services when the Torah is read, the text of Nitzavim will be somewhat familiar, inasmuch as it is offered not only as a reading during the Sabbath we are about to observe, but it is also presented as the Torah text in the midst of the morning of Yom Kippur. So, even the least observant among us, when wending their way to a synagogue to observe the High Holidays, ought to find this material from Deuteronomy to be not at all strange.