Torah Thoughts for Today
Shabbat Sh`lakh L`Kha 5771
Rabbi Mark Mallach
Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, NJ
MINYAN ASSURANCE NEEDED
Roberta Gersh has a yahrzeit that begins on Thursday evening, June 30th, your help to assure a minyan that evening at 7:45 PM is needed
NEXT INFORMATION MEETING, Tuesday, June 14th, 8 PM
JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR OF EUROPE
Led by Rabbi Mark & Genya Mallach
October 23 – November 3, 2011
For more information, contact Barry Segal: SegalIrisBar@comcast.net
NEXT POTENTIAL CONGREGATIONAL ISRAEL TOUR
There have been inquiries about the next potential congregation Israel tour, such an event depends on several factors:
1. When? Possible time-frames: February or March, 2012, Summer 2012
2. Having a nucleus of participants to make it viable – 20 adult minimum
3. Having a chairman to organize
If anyone is interested, please let me know and we can discuss the possibilities (NOTE: HAVE GOTTEN SEVERAL RESPONSES, INTEREST IS CLEARLY GROWING…)
SCOTCH BOYCOTT – SEE BELOW
IMPORTANT NOTES FOLLOW BELOW
SHABBAT SH`LAKH L`KHA
June 18, 2011 – 16 Sivan 5771
Annual: Numbers 13:1 – 15:41 (Etz Hayim, p. 840; Hertz p. 623)
Triennial: Numbers 13:1 – 14:7 (Etz Hayim, p. 840; Hertz p. 623)
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1 – 24 (Etz Hayim, p. 857; Hertz p. 635)
Prepared by Rabbi Joseph Prouser
Baldwin, New York
“We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.” (Numbers 13:33)
“If we are lowly in our own eyes and regard ourselves as non-entities, our adversaries will think the same of us and tread on us with their feet. If ‘we are in our own sight as grasshoppers,’ then ‘so shall we be in their sight.’” (quoted in Maayanah Shel Torah)
“This was one of the transgressions of the spies: ‘We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves’ – fine, that is understandable; but ‘so we must have looked to them’ – what is this? Why do you care how you appear to others?” (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk)
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt “Most people like to read about intrigue and spies. I hope to provide a metaphor for the average reader’s daily life. Most of us live in a slightly conspiratorial relationship with our employer and perhaps with our marriage.” John Le Carre “I cannot think that espionage can be recommended as a technique for building an impressive civilization. It’s a lout’s game.” (Dame Rebecca West – Nuremburg trials correspondent; author of The Meaning of Treason, a study of World War II and Communist traitors)
“The religious man has no inferiority complex. Only the religious man has no inferiority complex because he never compares, and without comparison you cannot be superior or inferior. So the religious man is neither superior nor inferior; he is simply himself. He accepts the way God has made him and he enjoys the way God has made him. He’s utterly happy. Just because he is, he is grateful. His every moment is one of gratitude.” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)
Sparks for Discussion:
When is it wrong to be concerned about how we are perceived by others? When is it appropriate? Are the statements of the Kotzker rebbe and Maayanah Shel Torah mutually exclusive? When is it wrong to sense our own insignificance – to be “grasshoppers” in our own estimation? And when is it appropriate?
Novelist John Le Carre uses spies, intrigue, and espionage as metaphors for the human condition. How does the Torah’s accounts of the Israelite spies serve the same function? What elements of our own experience – our professional lives, our personal relationships – are addressed by this biblical narrative?
Is an inferiority complex actually inconsistent with a religious attitude and lifestyle? How might the spies’ faithlessness be understood as a reflection on the extent of their gratitude and happiness? What motivated Joshua and Caleb to take their more optimistic minority position, setting themselves apart from their fellow spies?
Is “utter” happiness a reasonable life goal? How is accepting “the way God has made us” to be balanced with the desire for personal growth and change? How is this principle to be understood in the light of our animal appetites and desires, which may be at odds with religious principle or our obligations to other people? In light of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s comment, is First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s remark a spiritual insight? Is it purely political counsel?
Was the mission of the spies simply unworthy of Israel’s divine mission – “loutish,” as Rebecca West put it? That is, was the mission itself so faithless that it engendered faithlessness in those entrusted with its execution?
Your thoughts are always welcome…
A. Friday, June 17, 8 PM: Guest Speaker: Jack Usdin. Topic: Impressions From the Recent AIPAC Conference in WDC
B. Monday, July 4th, 9 AM: Morning Minyan Federal Holiday schedule
C. Saturday, July 9th, 9:30 AM: Baby naming of Sophia Kujbus, granddaughter of Pamela & Jack Barocas
Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director
I realize that with all of the turmoil and anti-Israel bashing that is taking place that this might appear somewhat trivial but then again, for those of you who drink Scotch at Kiddush it might not. The West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland has decided to participate in the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) against Israel. The Council is the equivalent of our county level of government here in the United States.
A boycott is like a snowball heading downhill. It begins at the top of a large mountain and gathers momentum until it is transformed into an avalanche. If we wish to stop it. We need to act as soon as possible.
The Council states that “…Officers (that is employees running the programs and services operated or funded by the council such as policc & fire departments, parks, libraries, etc.) should immediately cease the purchase of any goods we currently source, which were made or grown in Israel. Officers should also ensure we procure no new goods or produce from Israel until this boycott is formally lifted by WDC.” It explains in a separate press release that this resolution is not racist because “Only books (or items) that were printed (or produced) in Israel and transported to the UK for distribution would be potentially boycotted.” Books by Israeli authors or items that are made by Israelis that are printed or made outside of Israel are permitted.
We are suggesting a boycott of Scotch from distillers located in West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland at Kiddush, and public and private Simchas. Scotch made or produced elsewhere should be substituted. Please contact the distilleries located in West Dunbartonshire Council and inform them of our new policy and ask them to apply pressure to the Council to end participation in boycotting Israel.
These distillers and their addresses are as follows: (click on their name for their websites)
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd. Auchentoshan Distillery, Dalmuir, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire G81 4SJ
Distillers of Auchintoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, McClelland’s.
Loch Lomond Distillery Co. Ltd Lomond Industrial Estate, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire G83 0TL
Distillers of Loch Lomond, Scots Earl, Distillery Select, Glen Scotia, Littlemill, Croftengea, Craigslodge, Inchmurrin, Glen Douglas, Inchfad
Chivas Brothers Kilmalid, Stirling Road, Dumbarton, Lanarkshire, G82 2SS
Distillers of Ballantine’s, Chivas, Royal Salute, Clan Campbell, Something Special, Passport, 100 Pipers, Imperial, Long John, Aberlour, The Glenlivet, Glendronach, Strathisla, Longmorn, Scapa, Tormore, Jameson, Paddy, Powers, Walker Special Old, Wisers.
Here is the website for the pro-Israeli blog “Muqata”with more information and a model letter to the above distillers:
We have no organizational connection with this blog.
Here’s the website for the West Dunbartonshire Council so that you may contact them directly:
Rabbi Charles Simon
UPDATE ON SITUATION – SEE BELOW
Federation of Jewish Men’s Club
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director
Last week I expressed my concern about the Dunbartonshire Council boycott and suggested a similar response. Since then a great deal has occurred. The statement went viral. Commentary Magazine and the Israeli press also picked up this issue. The links are attached.
A number of people wrote directly to the companies involved. Two of their responses follow. In each instance separate letters (e-mails) were sent to the Dunbartonshire Council expressing concern about their actions. You made a difference.
Your letters are placing pressure on the West Dunbartonshire Council to reconsider their actions. Those of you who wrote to the Council directly and received responses learned the extent of their naïveté. Please continue to write to Council members directly and attempt to influence them to revisit their policy. They control £249m million pounds in funds. Please continue to write to the distributors and encourage them to educate and lobby the Council as well. The issue is not about drinking Scotch it is about changing Council policy.
I have been in contact with the leadership of Chivas and Morrison Bowmore in Scotland and the U.S. They are strong supporters of the Jewish community. Their cooperation, forwarding our letters to the Council and directly contacting Council members, continues to be helpful. I would hate to have their good efforts penalized. We have heard from all of the distributors on the original list with the exception of Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond bottles their own brand and Scots Earl and Distillery Select. They are located in Dunbartonshire. They can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful to our International Kiddush Club www for bringing this matter to our attention. The Kiddush club provides the FJMC with needed funds to send tefillin and mezuzot to developing and needy congregations in Europe, the FSU, Central and Latin America. For more information go to their website, www.kiddushclub.org.
Thank you for your support. The letters and links follow: Shalom,
Rabbi Charles Simon
Letters received by FJMC
I’ve contacted MEP Struan Stevenson (a personal friend and Scottish Conservative Party leader) about this and his staff is asking the EU Human Rights commission to check whether the boycott might be a violation of the EU’s charter on the right to free speech/publications.
Your campaign should be assertively applied.
Kol HaKavod Lekha.
Dear fine distillers,
I usually write my own letters, but after reading the letter below, I thought it would be hard to improve on it, so please consider it as part of my communication. I am greatly distressed by the West Dunbartonshire Council’s action in voting to boycott products made in Israel. First of all, they are wrong about Israel. The problem is not that Israel won’t let the Arabs have a state; it is that the Arabs won’t let the Jews have a state. Jameel Rashid goes into this in wonderful detail. I hope you study his letter.
Boycotts are not appropriate. Rashid has called for a boycott of your products, because your council has called for a boycott of Israel’s products. I have no doubt that if your sales fell and your employees lost their jobs or you were forced to close you would think that wrong. I would agree with you. But how can I enjoy whiskey made by your distilleries? Although I am American, not Israeli, I know Israel has been among the most humane nations of any in the world. Been there, seen that. I support Israel. If you boycott them, boycott me, too. Don’t let me buy your whiskey.
I urge you to insist your elected officials become more educated about what is really happening in Israel and the Palestinian ruled territories, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. I have no doubt that if they took the time to rely on, unblinded by bigotry, they would revoke this hateful and groundless resolution. Or I will have to learn to like bourbon.
Best regards, John
Sent: 02 June 2011 21:13
To: Policy Unit; Business Support; Education Central Registry; Elections;Trading Standards Cc: Tricia.Marwick.email@example.comSubject:
Re: Bad Policy – BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions”
Dear Policy Board,
I was truly dismayed to read that the West Dunbartonshire Council in Scotland has decided to participate in the BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) against Israel has come to my attention Israel. Your position is sadly one-sided, and fails to recognize the targeting of innocent civilians by the Palestinians. The Palestinians have consistently targeted non-combatants by launching over 12,000 rockets at civilian targets (including public schools). They continue to educate their children to hate Jews. They use children’s books that glorify Jihad and martyrdom in their schools. Hamas is not interested in peace, but they are committed to terrorism and Israel’s destruction. In fact, their charter calls for the obliteration of Israel and says, “Kill Jews wherever you find them.” They are a people that take pride in naming their public squares after terrorists.
Open your eyes and stifle your anti-Semitic outlook. The Palestinians strive for the death of Israel and the Jewish People.
I enjoy several of your fine whiskey but sadly will have to switch brands as I join in the counter-boycott of your products – because you feel that boycotting Israel is an appropriate response to their self defense efforts. I agree with the letter writer below, that if Scotland had received over 7000 rockets fired into the country with the goal of killing civilians, you’d have a different response than condemning the victim. Israel has made some mistakes no doubt but when the stated goal of Hamas is the destruction of Israel and death to all Jews worldwide (and actively working for that goal), you give yourselves black eyes suggesting a boycott of Israeli products. Hopefully if any of you need some of the many Israeli medical devices they’ve developed and shared with the world, you’ll personally honor your boycott and make do without. In the meantime, for me, I guess no more Jameson’s, Glenlivet or Chivas until you publicly retract the announcement of your boycott.
Response from West Dunbartonshire Council
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 5:27 AM
Re: FW: Bad Policy – BDS campaign (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions”
Dear Mr :
Please find attached statement issued by West Dunbartonshire Council: Over recent days there has been some highly misleading publicity in the national and international press concerning West Dunbartonshire Council’s policy on the boycott of Israeli goods. In light of this publicity, the Council has received a number of complaints.
The facts are as follows.
The boycott on the purchase of Israeli goods followed a unanimous decision of West Dunbartonshire Council in January 2009. The boycott was in response to the Israeli state’s policy and actions in the Occupied Territories . The boycott was not retrospective and applied only to purchases made from January 2009 onwards. The boycott has not prevented West Dunbartonshire ‘s library service from purchasing any book which it wished to purchase.
Accusations that Israeli books have been removed from the shelves of the West Dunbartonshire ‘s libraries or have been burned are entirely false and appear to be mischievously motivated. There are books by Israeli authors on the shelves of West Dunbartonshire Council’s libraries. Attempts to depict this boycott as racist are also entirely inaccurate. The boycott was instigated in response to conduct by the Israeli state and applies to no specific ethnic or religious group. The Council has robust anti-racist and anti-sectarian policies and procedures.
I trust this information is helpful to you. Natasha BrooksCustomer Relations Officer
Responses from Scotch Distillers
We have received your email regarding West Dunbartonshire Council’s boycott of Israeli products and your views on this decision. Neither Morrison Bowmore Distillery nor Auchentoshan take any political stance and this policy has been made independently from us and without our consultation.
Auchentoshan has invested significantly in working with its many friends and supporters around the world, including the Jewish community and the Kosher London Beth Din, where we recently certified our Auchentoshan Classic as a Kosher Single Malt Whisky. As a business we recognise the concerns you have expressed regarding this policy. We are forwarding your email and separately writing to the West Dunbartonshire Council to ensure it is made fully aware of the potential implications of its policy. As a valued friend of Auchentoshan we would very much appreciate your continued support.
Head of Brands Marketing
Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd
Dear Rabbi Simon:
I wanted to thank you on behalf of Chivas Brothers and its sister company, Pernod Ricard USA, since we had not been aware of this issue. Please be assured that the West Dunbartonshire Council does not represent the views of Chivas Brothers and Pernod Ricard USA. Pernod Ricard USA is a long and proud supporter of several leading Jewish causes, including the UJA Federation of New York, which has worked for decades to improve the quality of life for millions of Israelis.
While some Chivas Brothers brands are bottled in Dunbarton, none of its whiskies are distilled in this region and both The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal are bottled at their site in Paisley and not Dunbarton. Also, Jameson, Paddy and Powers whiskies are produced in Ireland and are not products of Chivas Brothers.
Thanks again for sharing your concerns with us and we hope that this makes it clear that Chivas Brothers is not associated with the views attributed to the West Dunbartonshire Council. We have passed on your correspondence on this subject to the Council so they are fully aware of the potential implications of their policy. We respectfully ask that you pass on this correspondence to your mailing list, so they understand our position.
VP, Corporate Communications, Pernod Ricard USA
Jerusalem Post: 6-12-2011 Article – Kiddush clubs declare boycott on Scottish whiskey
Commentary Magazine On-Line: 6-12-2011 fed-up-with-scotch-boycotts-of-Israel-boycott-their-whiskey
Commentary Magazine On-Line: 6-6-2011 Scottish-anti-Israel-book-boycott-somehow-gets-dumber/
www.ynetnews.com: 6-8-2011 UK Jews fight Scottish boycott
You can also visit my website at: http://ridinrebbe.com/
For updated information go to: http://www.tbaynj.org/