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October 30, 1998     Jewish News
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October 30, 1998

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"Southeasterfi&apos;Vl/ginit Jish'News DIALOGUE .... , , J , j , October 30, 1998 Events Jewish By Hehm shine - • Di, dogue Ctqson In addition to the typical  to ri, teria that include proposals on economics, education, taxation, and social welfare • goals, Americans are now also lrd are quintessentiatly also Jewish concerns, what better place to air those issues than in our Jewish newspaper. Many rabbis gave "High HtJiiday sermons on Hekm Sonermhina these issues, not.from a political standpoint, but specifically to present the underlying g'sues within a Jewish framework. These sermons, though based • guidennes moral and ethical questions that will arise in the future, Vcth this in mind, I have asked the rabbis throughout South Hampton Roads to allow the Southeastern Virg Atonement and repentance By Dr. Lawrence A. Furman Rabbi Ohef Sholom Temple If you hear the word "apolo- gy" or the word "atonement" or the word "forgiveness" in 1998, of course the first thing you think about is the current situation in Washington We can't avoid thinking of it. It's everywhere we look. everywhere we turn our attention. In a virtually unprece- dented moment in America's his- tory, our President has gone on national television, before us and before the entire world, to ask for forgiveness. He sought the words of one of the prayers of our own Gates of Repentance, as he spoke at the White House Prayer Breakfast a few weeks ago. "Apology" and "atonement" and "forgiveness" have" become buzzwords in the autumn of 1998. So we in the Rabbinate feel strongly that it is important for American Jews, in fact, for all Americans, to look at the whole concept and practical application of "forgiveness," to examine Rabbi Dr. Lawrence A. Furman what it is! Forgiveness. atone- ment that's why we're here, after all. That' s why Yam Kip- pur appears every year on our calendar -- as a reminder to us that as long as we live on the earth as human beings with human frailties and failings, we will need both to apologize and to accept apology. We will need both to atone and to acknowl- edge atonement. We will need both to ask for -- and to grant forgiveness• So, we'd best learn how to do both. But we're nothing if not a pragmatic people, made more so by the events of our lives and our lifetimes• And one of the ques- tions in each of our hearts is "Why? .... Why should I say I'm sorry? Why should I ask for for- giveness?" And conversely, "Why should I extend forgive- ness to another?" One reason is that holding on to hurt only begets more hurt not for the one who originally inflicted the hurt. but rather, for the one who refuses to let it go. Many of us are guilty of this. and we all suffer the consequences of being unable to release old hurts. This same scenario is being played out to varying degrees in Washington today. There are those who will not accept the President's apology, who want more and more detail, more and more contrition, more and more censure, more and more punish- ment. For some of us, there can never be enough repentance. CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 OPINI( )N WINNER OF 16 VIRGINIA AND 24 NATIONAL PRESS AWARDS "These are no ordinary times" By Dr. Ira Langstein struggle is that no side can achieve all that it wants; it With the Wye River Accords now signed amid a flurry of Washington pageantry, one must take pause and digest these recent breathtaking events. The sur- real images of the Israeli prime minister calling his nemesis Yasser Arafat his new partner in peace, of the Hashemite King Hussein assuming the role of elder statesman a mere eight years after siding with Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War, and the seam- less remark of President Clinton that we have to "hurry this thing along ... it's almost Shabbat," underscore the fact that these are no ordinary times. Israel and the Palestinians are moving into uncharted territory, and each step toward the future must be taken deliberately and carefully. Though the cynics and skeptics on both sides are carefully crafting their rejectionist rhetoric, there is good reason to be optimistic about the prospects for peace. Maintaining the current state of tension between Israelis and Palestinians requires enormous societal energy, and it is clear that both populations are tiring of hostilities. A recent poll demonstrated that the majority of Israelis wanted Prime Minister Netanyahu to negotiate a peace with their Palestinian neighbors with whom, for better or worse, they are inextricably linked. It is also inconceivable that the majority of Pales- tinians want to continue, the bloody struggle with Israel indefinitely. The painful and most sobering aspect of negotiating peace between those locked in follows, however, that both sides must achieve enough of what it wants. The Wye River Accords, if Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yasser Ararat are to be believed, does just that, and thus one more step on the uncharted road to peace in the Middle East has been taken. By drawing such disparate figures as Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat into its vortex, the Wye River Accords have further marginalized the enermes of peace, The killers in Hamas will act like wounded animals, dangerously striking out in an attempt to obliterate the current interlude of detente with acts of blood and terror. Moreover, the right-wing Jewish settlers in the disputed territories, by the insistence of divine right for the land they occupy, are no more useful to peace than are the confused Muslim clerics dotted throughout the middle east who spout their own theocratic vitriol. Israel must be ready and vigi- lant, and must tolerate no obstruction, from without or within, to the road to peace it has set for itself. The concept of nation-states is a recent one, hav- ing evolved in the wake of the Enlightenment, and thus the notion of nationalism, that driving energy which moves populations to selfishly position them- selves, is rather novel. We must all recognize that the geographic boundaries that delineafe populations are artificial, fluid constructs. Occasionally, the irrespon- sible and poorly-thought rearrangement of these bor- ders, such as has occurred in the Balkans, can lead to CONTINUED ON PAGE 17 SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA JEWIS H NEW, q so per WoedJ 0r, Su 22S •  Imp, rp 462.4376 1757) 671-1600 • fax 1757) 6714613 •  wWt,<wg David Brand ......................................... President Mark I,. Goldstein .................... Exec. Vice Pre,-, Annabel Saclul ........................ PresidelJl Elect Reba Karp ............................................... Editor Alan Frteden .................................. Vice-Prcsidenl Mark Hic ....................... Prtxluctmn Managel Ran, aid Kramer ....................... Vice@ve:,ideat Hal Sacks ......................... Htk Review Editor l'tmi Sandier .............................. Vce-Prciden Stewarl L, Smokier Adverti',ag M,tnager Judy Watlcr ............................ vice-Preldei S dney Gales ..... .d Rep. Emeritus, Rol1rt J(plrg ........................ Sccetary David Krell ............. Aa:erlLMft, Rgre',.ciilallx,¢ Herbert Zokermart T! , t,a,!-er Candle Lighting October 30/Cheshvan 10 Light candles at 4:52 p.m. November 6/Cheshvan 17 Light candles at 4:45p.m. Teshuva and compassion By Rabbi Israel Zolerman Congregation Beth Chaverim Chairman, Community Relations Council Rabbi Israel Zoberman Judaism has taken the reasonable approach that most of us are not sinners nor saints, but human beings who occasionally stray from our innate drive to do what is right• The underlying assumption is that we can recognize our failings and work to correct them. The God of Israel welcomes the admission of human shortcomings and appreciates earnest effort to turn our lives around. Thus the rabbis instruct us that those who repented stand on higher ground than even the wholly righteous• Namely, those who consciously struggle to improve their ways merit more than those who are not faced with the awesome challenge of change. Change is at the heart of the High Holy Days' theme of reaching into the vast universe within us to examine the course of our lives. How significant it is that the arduous process of change applied to trying circumstances, with its complex dynamics truly challenging those involved, becomes a sacred enterprise with the highest of stakes. Recalling the-anniversary of the world turns into an opportunity as well as an obligation to highlight the conviction that the moral dimension the Creator endowed humanity wif.h is a prerequisite for safeguarding the treasures of life on earth. We enhance or diminish God's stature and standing, along with the body of a wondrous creation, depending upon our human conduct. While on Rush Hashanah we affirm the world's grandeur, on Yam Kippur we cite its blemishes, not with a sense of resignation, rather with a resolve to engage in cleansing Teshuva. particrpating with God in mending the broken fragments of life's realities. We do well to remember that none of us is perfect, and to various degrees, we are all in need of renewed healing. Instead of pointing a blaming finger at others, let us focus on our own ways, serving as a noble example. Though our fragile egos do not always allow us to reach out to embrace someone else in CONTINUED ON PAGE 19