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tv   Mosaic  CBS  May 29, 2011 5:00am-5:30am PDT

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good morning welcome to mosaic. i am rabbi eric wise. we are joined by rabbi marvin goodman executive director northern california board of rabbis and rabbi in residence jewish federation san francisco welcome. >> good to be here. and rabbi bennett, rabbi of temple israel alameda. we are about to start a wonderful conversation as a historic trick to israel -- trip to israel. the first time we had been put together for a week long trip the end of january.
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so let's just jump in. why did we go to israel? what was the trip about? >> alan wanted to go. >> and i'm glad we did. a year ago january i was at a are bin call convention and heard someone talking about an interdenominational trip to israel and i wondered if anybody else had done that. the reasons it sounded interesting resolved how rare it was to have a group of rabbis going together to israel, would be unprecedented for northern california. i started pushing for it. this trip would not have happened without your working
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with the israel down sell general for north -- counsel general for northern california and this was supported by him. we had a lot of work to do a lot of details to deal with as time went on and the wonderful thing about the trip is that we reached outs to the whole community, to the diverse community of rabbithey really responded just a great mix of rabbis, who joined us and participated in mostly everything we did. >> i think what is interesting is that probably i think most people think rabbis go to israel all the time you put a group together you may go with a young adult group, a barber
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mitt have a family group, -- mitts have a family group but we don't usually travel to a place that maybe inspired us to go into the r abinate and serve the congregation at large. what was so significant about the fact that all of us were travelling together, day in and day out. >> understand, eric, when rabbis go in groups, that they are not necessarily leading it is usually a denominational trip. so conservative rabbis convention, might happen in israel or some sort of encase fall trip might -- educational trip might take place but here in northern california it is relatively unusual, rare, for rabbis to actually get along as well together as we do in this region. i know talking to colleagues
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around the country, it is almost unthinkable for the most traditional rabbis to even want to be seen with the least traditional rabbis on this trip we had three orthodox rabbis, four or five, six, conservative rabbis, half a dozen renewal rabbis, reconstructionist and the rest were reform it was an interesting mix of people who not only knew each other but in many cases already liked each other and liked working together. it was much more collegial than most people would expect. >> it bodes well for the future because these rabbis articulated to me and alan and you as well, eric, that they want to continue this relationship, relationships with each other and want to develop them. we are talking about getting together on a regular basis a
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few years to study. they have learned that what denomination a particular rabbi is part of is not nearly as important as who the rabbi is. it is a wonderful break through for that and bringing together rabbis on a collegial basis. we will return in just a moment to mosaic and continue this wonderful conversation please join us back here in just a moment
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welcome back to mosaic. i am rabbi wise and honored to be your host. we are talking about a historical trip to israel, a
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few weeks ago. we are joined by rabbi good man from here in the west bay and rabbi bennett, rabbi at temple israel of alameda. so, we were talking about the diversity and how important that was of rabbis coming together to go to israel and the impact that we hope it had on israel itself. >> so part of the motivation for me for trying to put this trip together was a dispointment based on an awareness of how relations are between the ultra orthodox lab nate and the rest of israeli society there has been a lot of coverage, uncore chew nately about vie -- unfortunately about violence from the ultra orthodox against nonorthodox rabbis and other jews in israel i thought it was important for
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every day israelis to see there are outpoursabilities it is -- possibilities, it is possible for those from the far right to the far left to pray together, eat together without recrimination and dehumanization. some suggested we should have called our trip eat, pray, love. it really for me only em from a sized how wonderful -- emphasized how wonderful the relationships are we had here and forcing the ultra orthodox on a population that doesn't want it is a better way to go. here in the bay area, i think one of the spin offs of this trip are the side-effects of this trip is that we will show the communities, that not only in israel could we get along but we could get along here. we may not always agree with each other and there were many issues many of us felt
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uncomfortable pushed to our limits with the political or socio-economic issues, but we can be friends, we can connect together, we can stand with israel together in ways that i think a lot of people in the community, in our community, didn't realize were necessarily possible. >> and so alan when you were putting together the itinerary for all of us, to participate in, what were some of the places you really wanted us to go as marv was saying to both push and support the variety of perspectives that was going to be among us on the trip. >> my original idea was not well developed. it wasn't until akeevha came onboard last january, february, he started suggesting people to see and places to go it started
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to gel and make sense. because he works for the foreign ministry we were able to have appointments with people from the foreign ministry, from the court that i don't know i would have been able to arrange but we heard from individuals, from those three institutions as well as others, that really gave us points of view that were divergent, but from people who were working together, extremely well, extremely efficiently, so i think probably it is safe to say all of us left our comfort zones, each time we went into a session, not all of us at the same time but each of us at different times, yet, we heard all kinds of things, that we don't hear, here in the states we heard from some body from labor, we heard from supreme court justice who was very involved in the women of the wall decision from the only christian arab on the supreme
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court and it was a delightful interchange, delightful exchange the kind we wouldn't hear here. so when we went into the west bank, there were rabbis, like myself, who are reluctant to go where the settler movement is so strong but i decided it is important for me to hear stuff there not hear about stuff from there. so despite my initial reluctance i had a great time studying talmud. one of the rabbis that taught us was from my hometown. akron ohio. one of the things i noticed about myself on the trip and aftermath a did i have aren't appreciation for the use -- a different appreciation for the use of language even though i have come back and talked about our itinerary to say we went to
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judiah and samaria rather than say we went into the settlements, palestinian territory, the use of language was something that i just gave a tremendous appreciation for and pushed me into a different kind of boundary, what kind of language do i use and how does that reflect where i am on a particular issue or even where is my own grey area and not knowing where i stand. i found that piece of it very interesting because i think one of the political overlays that we have put as american jews on israel is the notice of who is on the left and who is on the right. that category, those categories, they start to break down for me because what you can call someone left or right in israel is not really an equivalent to what we thing of in american -- think of in american political left and right. i have been thinking where does someone stand on the issue of
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peace negotiation, of the issue where israel's boundaries should be drawn. where does someone stand on what is considered viable, legally protected religious observance for example women who can go or not go to a part of the western wall or not. so i found i have been finding myself that words are breaking down and moving more into concepts, and explanations of situations, rather than the simplicity of a sound byte and i am not sure where i myself land there. >> yeah -- >> that is what i noticed for myself. >> yeah, i am not sure myself where i land either but i do know, i have learned not to look at things in a black and white basis, that when we look at israel, from here we think of this group, not necessarily how they interact and how they fit together we thing they are totally opposed to each other and some ways some times they
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are but i look at much more grey -- a greying of the whole situation, and i think when we come back here, it helps us look at our community in the same way because we have people on the right and left and we have the extremes who are some times the only people we listen to, rather than understanding that most of the people, we deal with, are much more in the middle, much more trying to decide -- trying to grapple with the language and the work that you are talking about, that you are doing for yourself. >> we are going to return to mosaic in just a moment, please join us ,,,,,,,,
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for more information about the board of rabbis northern california call (415)369-2860 or you can go to the web at welcome back to mosaic i am rabbi eric twice joined by rabbi marvin goodman and rabbi bennett, talking about our trip to israel a couple weeks ago we were talking about how the trip impacted us and really challenged us in terms of how we talk about topics, of religious observance of political situations of even what is happening in the peace process and i am wondering, what we all think about what you think about that impact on our community as we go back out into the community as rabbis. >> i think my hope is that as
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we -- this group of rabbis maintains its contact and obviously there are other rabbis in the bay area and northern california, as we maintain our contact we will be able the display to the community the kinds of lessons we learned about diversity and getting along. we studied together in different kinds of environments, some that each of us were more comfortable in than others, but we came away appreciating each other for who we are, and appreciating each other for our opinions, i think we learned to listen and hear each other in different kinds of ways than we perhaps were able to before and hopefully with the community, year of civil discourse going on, hopefully the israellys will bush israelis will be -- israelis will be able to lead. >> the year of civil discourse
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is sponsored by jewish community relations council and northern board of rabbis, and the richard goldman fund and i am sorry i don't know the other funders to give them due credit but i know that in that context, we are working with a number of different synagogue communities, that really are in strife over how they engage israel, in conversation in their community and i am wondering how is it that we can provide rabbinic leadership to specifically those areas, i know in some synagogues there is a tremendous pain if some body doesn't agree with another person where they stand on the peace process or where they stand on where women can pray at the western wall or any other topic, then suddenly, people disinvite otherwise friends to their table or disinvite them to their saddyr
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table or don't get a baby naming or bris invitation suddenly that rift goes deep relationally i am wondering if we can impact that, in that relations are important and not an appropriate way to treat one other. >> eric, if you thing about the scope of jewish -- think about the scope of jewish history, we have so many good role models in our literature how people can disagree agreeably, all of the talmud has endless discussions about approaches to how you apply the law, to this or that or the other thing no matter what happens, even the descending opinion is listed in the text rabbis refer to each other throughout respectfully, with due reverence for the
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station or each other, we are not living then, we are living now and i don't know how many years it has been i don't know how long it has taken but the heart break for me is to see jews who came from that tradition of mutual respect had become so assimilated into societies where it is my way or the highway i think we have lost sight of that sense of mutual respect inherent, enate, mutual respect the idea of having a year of civil discourse sounds wonderful to me and it has focused on our ability to talk about israel which is so important to us, civilly. what i am afraid of, when the year is over, are we off the hook? we don't need to be civil any more? >> it is as if not to be trite or coy about it but we have to relearn how to disagree
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jewishly,. >> we have to relearn how to disagree, and still be accepting of each other. how to not like what someone says, but doesn't mean we don't like the person. >> yes. >> and i think that you know, we rabbis on this trip, not that we didn't like each other in fact we really liked each other, might not have enjoyed some times what some body else said that we had to either respond to or take in and just live with it, but i think that if the article that came out and talked about all of us going to israel together, is an example, maybe we can be leaders in showing how to do that. on a global basis and then in our own communities, the year of civil discourse is working with a number of synagogue and other communities, to help people learn how to listen, learn how to hear, and not necessarily feel like they have
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to respond. >> mm-hmm. yes. >> because in the world today we feel like we have to respond. some body says something we have to respond. if it were just the jewish community it might be a lot easier to deal with but it is society. >> we are going to return to mosaic in just a moment 24,000 children every day. they die for reasons we can prevent. like not getting enough food...
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good morning welcome back to mosaic. we are at the end of a conversation about a historic trip northern california rabbis took to israel a few weeks ago. one thing that might be important to say is that the support for this trip came from many many different individualorganizations that were very interested in the notion of such a diverse group of rabbis coming together dedicated to wanting to come together, for a week long trip
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to israel and we are grateful for that level of support is hope that will continue. this is i think i would say for myself such a significant transition on a communal level it needs to be sustained and nourished. >> we talked about having for a couple years now trips of rabbis to israel but this was the first time we were able to make it happen and as you said, the communities for individual owners and a variety of other people and federations helped make this possible and affordable for other rabbis to be able to take the time and go to israel. >> it is an investment in how we create a sense of civility, not just this year but beyond. >> well, that is what the counsel general was trying to encourage, getting the rabbis together in israel was the opening for our working better
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together once we got back here as a group of rabbis in support of the israel we all love. it was not an accident that is the way it played out. >> and it wouldn't have happened without -- >> akeevah and the way he lead us and helped plan the trip. >> we have believe it or not just a minute left but alan you have a very poignant story i think encapsulates how this trip. >> as we were leaving the west bank settlement one of our colleagues said if i make alia this is where i will live and i will understand it if you don't want to come and visit me here i will come and visit you. >> i said to him if this is where you are this is where i will come our friendship is far more important to me than any political situations. it is not about our political stances. >> what a wonderful way to
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understand each other this morning, i hope we have been informative and our hope for our trip to israel here on the jewish community. have a wonderful day, thank you for being with us here on mosaic dinner's ready! it's french's crunchy onion chicken! (announcer) for a quick and easy dinner crush french fried onions. dip chicken in egg.
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