V’al chet she-hatanu l’fanekha bil’shon ha-ra, “And for the sin we have committed before You through slander” — over the course of Yom Kippur we say these words over and over again as we recite the Viddui (Confessional) quietly to ourselves and then aloud communally. As we say them, we beat our breasts to physically hammer home the meaning of the words we say.
While she worked bringing pro-Israel speakers and programs to campuses, Davoodi also built up quite a collection of fliers claiming Zionists are the new Nazis, that the 'Israel lobby' has hijacked American foreign policy and the Jewish state is built on a mounds of lies and Palestinian bones.
As soon as I saw The New Yorker cover spoofing right-wing fear mongering over Barack and Michelle Obama, my first thought was that my friend, Sanjay, in Mumbai, India, had a point about Americans and stupidity.
Parshat Acharey Mot (Leviticus 16:1-18:30)
The traditional English translation for the disease tzora'at that is eponymous with this week's Torah portion, Metzora, is "leprosy." However, as our commentators explain, biblical leprosy was something very different from the bacterial leprosy of modern times that is attributed to the bacillus Mycobacterium leprae. Biblical leprosy traces to a different kind of disease, an infection permeating the spirit and the soul, the disease of lashon hara (or its Ashkenazic variant spelling, lashon hara): evil talk, tale bearing and gossip.