Friday, November 27

Meretz Can Only Survive as an egalitarian Jewish-Arab Party

Meretz and the left will cease to be relevant or survive if they do not change their tactics and form a true united Jewish-Arab Party that embraces Zionists as well as non-Zionists. After all, Zionism today has become the monopoly of the right-wing including the extreme racist right-wing with a large proportion of adherents to orthodox, messianic Judaism (not to be confused with Jews for Jesus). Apart from Hadash that is left-wing, the Joint List is NOT left-wing. As is mentioned in the article, Ayman Oudeh, is opposed to joining Meretz in the formation of a combined Arab-Jewish Party which is a pity. Now with the possibility of the Joint List fragmenting because of Mansour Abbas making “overtures to Netanyahu”, we are in need of a united Arab-Jewish Party, representing all Israel’s citizens and not being involved with sectorial national interests as appears to be the case with the Joint List at present. Israel’s non-Jewish minorities’ interests and problems will be represented in an egalitarian Jewish-Arab Party on an equal basis.

Saturday, September 19

Some Reflections on Rosh Hashana 2020

 The international community as we know has been hit severely by Covid-19. The Coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China and spread out of control to almost every country on earth. It is a pandemic that does not distinguish between races or religion and nobody is immune from COVID-!9 hence the three main precautions accepted internationally to prevent being infected. 


Coronavirus spreads like wildfire in crowds, especially in limited closed spaces. The three main precautions to prevent infections as we are all made to feel aware are:

  1. Wearing masks to cover the nose and mouth.

  2. Social distancing - 2 metres between people to the next.

  3. Personal hygiene.

Many people do not observe these simple precautions and until a vaccine against COVID-19 is available to the public, we have to adjust our lives within the framework of these precautions to avoid infection. 


Israel is now under its second lockdown for 3 weeks which may even be extended after the end of Sukkot (Tabernacles).




Now for the religious aspect, which is also part of the story. I am not a religiously observant person and have strong feelings as to whether God exists or not but if I would be religious, I would have very strong doubts as to God’s existence and questions to ask.


A religious person would accept that the Coronavirus was created and sent by God. If this is the case, maybe God does not want people to pray in their respective houses of worship. Prayer in houses of worship, whether the synagogue, church or mosque or whatever, maybe considered evil in the eyes of God. Perhaps God does not want to hear the prayers of believers in Him. He punishes them by infecting them with Covid-19 if they crowd into a House of Worship. Maybe God wants to curtail the overpopulation on the planet and that we are all equal in His eyes and face the same destiny irrespective of our faith or lack of it. Excuse my use of anthropomorphisms but there does not appear to be any other way of my humble attempt to explain this theory. 


Is it possible that God wishes to punish humans for their evil ways? The hypocrisy that seems to exist in all faiths may be a cue to His anger. 


The scientists are in a race to achieve the invention of a vaccine against the Coronavirus. Nobody can predict when this will be achieved.


Here in Israel, while we are under lockdown and the threat of the ultra-Orthodox communities to overcrowd the synagogues during the High Holydays thus endangering themselves as well as all Israel’s citizens. Is it possible that they are acting against the Will of the Almighty, who will infect them and others with a vengeance?


References:

  1. Coronavirus: Israel marks Jewish New Year with the second lockdown

  2. Jews can’t gather as usual for Rosh Hashanah — and stay safe from COVID-19

Sunday, April 5

Why is Pesach 2020 Different from Previous Pesachim?

In traditional Pesach (Passover 1) observance, the famous Ma Nishtanah (The Four Questions) are asked or recited in the traditional fashion. These four questions can really be reduced to one question involving one sentence. Perhaps we can use the term Pesach not as “this night is different from all other nights” but rather this period, including Pesach night, is different from all other periods in our history as Jews including our non-Jewish monotheistic brethren all over the world. Christians will be celebrating Easter and a week later, the month-long Ramadan fast will be observed by Muslims.

The traditional 10 plagues recited from the Haggadah are largely irrelevant today. There is only one very relevant plague that afflicts all mankind irrespective of race, colour, and religion - Covid-19! The Angel of Death is the Coronavirus that brings us all into isolation rather than having our doorposts painted with goat’s blood to avoid the slaughter of the firstborn. 

Corona-virus-The Angel of Death
The Coronavirus pandemic does not care about signs to skip people from a deadly fate. Experts on the Coronavirus (if such experts really exist) advise us to avoid exposure to others, who may be carriers of the potentially deadly virus. Their advice is total isolation at home in order to remain free from Covid-19 infection. No contact with family is advised and enacted by the law, especially the seniors above 60 years of age. 

This year there will be no seder. The child's questioning triggers one of the most significant elements of Passover, which is the highlight of the Seder ceremony: reading the Haggadah 2, which tells the story of the Exodus from Egypt 3. It will be illegal to hold any Pesach seder celebration except for the core family inhabiting its dwelling. The rabbis went on to say that in the question under discussion, it was asked merely whether one could turn on the electronic device before the Passover holiday begins and leave the Zoom program running during the Seder to allow family members to connect 4.

The Four Questions and the reciting of the Ten Plagues should be replaced by one question and by the recitation of one plague - CORONA-VIRUS!  

References:
  1.  "Passover - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  2.  "Haggadah - Wikipedia." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haggadah. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  3.  https://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1751/jewish/What-Is-a-Seder.htm. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.
  4.  25 Mar. 2020, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/raabis-approve-the-use-of-zoom-to-celebrate-passover-due-to-coronavirus-622221. Accessed 5 Apr. 2020.