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Showing posts from June, 2009

JCB Vision

This is a working draft of a mission statement for our JCB community. Your comments and suggestions would be most appreciated. The history of Long Island synagogue life is a history built on a shtetl model of old. Synagogues were built around town identities. Synagogues focused on their functions (specifically what services they provided) rather than their visions. Once a town's Jewish population reached a critical mass a synagogue was formed to fill the needs of the area's Jews. This shtetl model is bankrupt and will fail to guarantee the future of Long Island synagogue life. Let us instead recapture the personal connections and warmth of shtetl life without its pitfalls, namely the dependence on one town's Jewish population. Let us help our fellow Jews find a synagogue not out of convenience but rather out of commitment, where they are attracted to the synagogue's vision and mission. In our mobile society where people drive to the best store, restaurant, sho

Obama and the Muslim World

I have been meaning to write for some time about President Obama's speech in Cairo and his trip to the Arab world the first week of June. First, a brief moment of relish. For me one of the most remarkable photos was that of Obama sitting to the left of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and to his right, Rahm Emanuel. I know Emanuel no longer lives in Israel. He is instead the White House chief of staff. Still you have to smile when you think about the symbolism of a Jew (and an Israeli) sitting next to Saudi Arabia's king... Regarding President Obama's speech there is much to be said. There are positives and there are negatives. Let us first say loud and clear that Obama deserves enormous credit for traveling to the heart of Islam and speaking there words of passion and truth. Saying here is far less important than saying there words such as these. "The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer."