For Rabbi Jason Weiner, his one-year chaplaincy internship at Beth Israel Medical Center on New York’s Lower East Side was a not-so-pleasant requirement while he was a rabbinic student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.
With Christians being persecuted and threatened across much of the Middle East, guess which country the leaders of several major U.S. Christian denominations have decided to pick on?
The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 220th General Assembly had just cast its first vote on an anti-Israel divestment resolution when the spin began. Major news outlets and activists on each side could hardly wait for the debate to finish the next day before declaring winners and losers.
The country’s largest Presbyterian church has agreed to vote by week’s end on divesting its portfolio from three companies that it is says has resisted the request to stop providing services that aid Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Delegates could pass any one of several resolutions calling for punitive economic measures against Israel.
Three days at the biennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in San Jose reminded me of the classic line about mixed emotions, which is watching your new Jaguar go over the side of a cliff with the tax assessor strapped to the seat. The very good results of the convention mingled freely with the very bad.
Just days before they are due to consider a range of motions on the Middle East at their biennial convention, the Presbyterian Church USA has released a document on combating anti-Jewish ideas. But Jewish organizational leaders say the statement is "infused with the very bias" it purports to condemn.
Last week, delegates to the Presbyterian Church USA's (PCUSA) General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., voted to undo their hateful 2004 anti-Israel divestment resolution.
Institutions change. Change is not spontaneous, easy or automatic. It requires face-to-face encounters and a determination to dialogue. As Martin Buber famously put it, "All real life is meeting." Absent dialogue, the vacuum creates disinformation and resentment.
You have to hand it to those Presbyterians. Their leaders know what they want, and they won't be deflected by things like logic, fairness or the well-being of people in the Middle East.
In response to these unprecedented overtures, some in our community have called for ending all dialogue with Presbyterians. I believe that is exactly the wrong response. What we need is a renewed dialogue that would occur on two levels.
Before the sermon at each of the three services at Bel Air Presbyterian Church last Sunday, the Rev. Mark Allan Brewer did something unusual -- he protested. Speaking in a clear, forceful voice, the reverend denounced the 216th annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian church's decision to selectively divest funds from companies doing business in Israel.