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Shabbat Shalom from Rabbi Arnow 7/28/2023

Dear Kol Rinah Family, 

Earlier this week, just a few days before Tisha b'Av, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed legislation that will eliminate one basis for Israel's Supreme Court to strike down laws.  

You may have seen reports of the protests that took place against (and some also in favor of) this change, over the past many months, and also this week after the vote.  Petitions have already been filed challenging this legislation in Israel's Supreme Court, and no one knows how that will be resolved.  The Knesset is on recess until October now, but there are several other judicial reforms that may be brought up when it returns.  

You can read the joint statement of the Rabbinical Assembly and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism 

Many Israelis I know are scared about what these changes may mean for the rights of women and LGBTQ people.  And there's a strong feeling among the opposition that these changes are not just policy changes, but changes to the operating system, the DNA, of the system of government.  They are angry, so worried, and dismayed, and yet not completely without hope.  

If you have friends who are Israeli, whether they live here in St. Louis, in Israel, or elsewhere, my sense is that they might appreciate a check-in phone call, text or email to see how they're feeling about this past week's events.  

The protest movement that formed to oppose these judicial reforms has been extraordinary, and was effective in delaying this process, and delaying the passage of other parts of it.  

This fascinating article compares the recent protests in Israel with the protests around the election of President Trump.  You may agree or disagree with the article's slant and political perspective, but I find it so insightful in terms of what has made the protests in Israel fairly successful, with lessons for what a successful protest movement (for any purpose) in America could look like.  

I don't listen to many podcasts; I prefer novels.  But I listen to every episode of Yehuda Kurtzer's podcast, Identity/Crisis.  (He's the co-president of the Shalom Hartman Institute).  
In this episode, with Israeli journalist Matti Friedman, he examines this crisis in Israel's democracy.  It's super thoughtful and insightful into so much about what's happening in Israel now. (You can also find it on iTunes and Spotify.)    

If you are interested in learning more, the JCRC of St. Louis and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis are hosting a webinar with Michael Kopolow at 12pm on Tuesday, August 1.  
Details and the link to register are here.

As ever, no matter the week, Shabbat is coming.  

Tonight, we'll sing through Kabbalat Shabbat and ma'ariv a cappella starting at 6pm.  Candle lighting is at 7:58pm.  

Tomorrow morning we'll start at 9am as usual.  We'll here the Shema and Ten Utterances (aka Commandments) as part of the Torah reading in Parashat Va'etchanan.  Our Shinshin, Guy Dobrin, will be speaking for the last time here before leaving St. Louis and returning to Israel.  There is not kiddush this week.  Shabbat ends at 9:00pm.  

Next Shabbat, look forward to our last Kabbalat Shabbat at Shaw Park, the return of Torah Talk on Saturday morning, and kiddush.  

We are collecting school supplies for the beginning of the school year.  Bring supplies (
details on what we need are here) to our lobby.  

Shabbat shalom and see you at shul, 

Rabbi Noah Arnow

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Mon, December 11 2023 28 Kislev 5784