Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom

We wish all our readers a wonderful, cheese-cake filled Shavuot and a restful Shabbat. We, at The Sensible Jew, plan on eating quiche.

We will resume serious posting on Sunday, May 31, when we answer reader questions about diaspora criticism of Israel, and the folly of agressive Israel advocacy on western campuses.

We will also address a rather silly opinion piece appearing in today’s Age (Comment & Debate, May 29) by Yakov Rabkin, who seems to believe that if Israel only adopted an Australian style “Sorry Day,” apologising to the Palestinians, peace, love, flowers, unicorns etc. would inevitably follow.

The problem with Rabkin’s article is that it is not entirely ridiculous. The odd paragraph provides food for thought, presenting some similar conundrums about diaspora/Israel relations as some of our readers have posed.

But for now, we at The SJ would rather sit back, and remember a Shavuot back in the mid-90s. It was a tumultuous time, full of peace talks, bombs and endless media hyperbole. But one of the SJs was tucked away on a kibbutz in Israel’s north. That Shavuot, sitting on sun-yellowed grass, she watched parades of tractors, produce, fat and smiling babies, and bronzed kibbutzniks.

She marvelled at the distance between the media reports of violence and fury, and the somnolent, bountiful peace of the kibbutz. The fecundity of it all did not match any reports she had read. Nor had anyone explained to her that the “news” in such a place was just as likely to be about upcoming or collapsing marriages, babies born, or children gone wild, as it was about earth shattering hand-shakes, or signatures that might change national boundaries.

That Shavuot, for the first time, the young SJ was in the right hemisphere. It made a difference, considering that the festival celebrates the harvest. She felt she understood the point of it.

She was also beginning to understand that no matter how momentous top-tier decisions may seem, no matter how much fear bombs and massacres might instill, there would always be pockets of life that were immune to the macro-momentous.

The micro – the fruit, the babies, the young and not-so-young couplings – would always be top of the local “news” bulletin.

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  3. Reader Response 8: Canada, Isi Leibler, and Advocacy
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