I understand the feeling of being jilted, rejected, criticized and black-listed. I understand being dissed, spurned and harassed. One response, and it is a natural one, is to want to strike back, returning hurt for hurt, harm for harm. But, I believe that there is a better way for us Reform rabbis to respond to indignities we have recently been subjected to. It is to promulgate constructive projects and cultivate attitudes which demonstrate that we are above what our adversaries are attempting to do to us. This is to say that we would rather relish in winning than to slosh around in pits of derision and proverbial mud.
Rather than detaching ourselves from Israeli politicians, we ought to engage them, making clear what our issues are and advocating for these both verbally and monetarily. Rather than railing against those who have reneged and insulted us, we ought to be selectively supporting those who understand our cause: a more religiously tolerant and inclusive Israeli society, and holding them to their promises. Rather than pitching for us to do less, thereby possibly widening the gulf that apparently has opened between North American Jewry and Israel, we ought to be challenging ourselves to do more to bridge that gap.
This road we have been traveling is, indeed, arduous and too often bitterly disappointing. Certainly the victories that Anat Hoffman and IRAC have been achieving through the Israeli legal system haven’t come with alacrity or without intense and deeply dedicated efforts. A decade or two ago, such successes were wholly unimaginable and unheard of. But Anat has found ways. Hers is a positive pathway that is and should be a lesson for us all.
This isn’t a time for recriminations and retributions. It is a time when our mettle is being challenged. We need to rise to that challenge in a better way.