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Ten Things Jews Should Ask Forgiveness for

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David Altschul

posted September 13, 2007 at 12:44 pm

I recognize Torah and out Talmudic sages z”l as appropriate voicers of the word “should”. As to building bridges with Muslims: Many Muslims view all non-Muslims as vermin to be exterminated.Would the rabbi also have criticized Jews for not building bridges with the Nazis? The story is told of a rabbi whose whom was robbed. The rebbetzin said: “I told you to build a fence. I told you to get stronger locks. I told you to buy a guard dog.” The rabbi replied: “my love, didn’t the thief have something to do with this too?” l’shana tovah tikatevu

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posted September 13, 2007 at 6:19 pm

This was interesting:
Percentage of surveyed group asked to define what was the most important aspect of their Jewish identity:
Being part of the Jewish people 45%
Religious observance 16%
Support for Israel 3%
A commitment to social justice 21%
Something else 13%
Not sure 2%
I am shocked that only 21 percent cited a commitment to social justice as central to their identity. If Jews are not committed to social justice, who is? If you are not commmitted to social justice, what are you committed to? I am also surprised only 16% claim religious observance is central. (This is, of course, as a relative outsider – a non-affiliated Jew, not raised religiously, yet still identifying for reasons even I don’t understand. The question is: Is it better for me to NOT identify as Jewish at all, or to continue to identify in a secular way? Which is preferable, or least abhorrent from a religious perspective? I’d rather be involved and affiliated, but I have a non-Jewish spouse who must be welcome wherever I go.)

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posted September 14, 2007 at 11:04 am

As to the “50 top rabbis”, the developers of the list acknowledge that the scoring was entirely subjective which leads to the idea that there are probably many other rabbis who have had huge impact on our society. These rabbis were not asking to be put on this list, near as I could tell from the article. On the other hand, I found at least 5 names that I recognized, either because I have heard these rabbis in person and/or have read their books and writings. Isn’t it about time that the American Jewish community recognize it’s macro-leadership?

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posted September 14, 2007 at 11:16 am

I find this list – and in particular the header – offensive as jew. Who are you Rabbi Eliyahu to tell me, what a jew SHOULD ask forgivness for. Not all jews are the same.If you mean that this is alist for the leaders of the American Jewish Community – please be specific and say so.
But by putting a list like this on a public forum – and you being a rabbi – it could be understood that this list if applicable to all jews, including us Israelies …who have a very different list.
These may be things that you feel that you SHOULD ask forgiveness for… but my list (as an Israeli) is different. Very different…

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posted September 14, 2007 at 6:21 pm

As a Catholic and a britin living in Germany.. (my children are german)
I must say!!! What a cheek..
I do not see very much help “to end poverty” coming from “Christian” denominations… “other” Religious groups in US or anywher else in the world..
“For not working harder to build bridges with Muslims”
Does he mean;as did Pope Benidikt.. in his (in)famous speach in Regensburg????…
Allways it is “Don’t ask what YOU can do… but tell others,what they SHOULD do”

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posted September 14, 2007 at 9:21 pm

I can’t believe #10 is not #1.
Whoever made this list should be ashamed.

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posted September 18, 2007 at 6:13 am

This is disgraceful.
It might as well have been written by a Catholic priest.

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Sharron Carey

posted September 18, 2007 at 10:35 am

How rude!!!! Why do we continue to put down each others religion. Please read, “Gods Breath” by Thomas Moore
S.E. Carey

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posted September 18, 2007 at 11:23 am

The Rabbi did not claim that his list was comprehensive, nor did he claim that his list applied to all Jews. But repentance on Yom Kippur is made for the entire community. It is not individualized. If you are not guilty of any particular sin, know that some are, and that it is your duty to do your part to make things right.

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laura t mushkat

posted September 18, 2007 at 4:13 pm

That is some list-some of these things I never heard of or have no idea of why they are conected to Jews. Yes we are part of the world society but while we can have sympathy, blanket forgive mes need to have some meaning to the one saying it or it is so much dribble.
There are blanket forgive mes that were put into the Yom Kippur service that do not apply in any way to me but those who do do these trangressions would be possibly someone I know so that community forgive me is appropriate. There are a few that I do not agree with and do not say, but that is me.
I think that what a individual asks for forgiveness for. even in a community way-be it city, country or world community, is between them and G-d. Ideas are helpful but it is simply one person’s opinion.

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posted September 18, 2007 at 5:05 pm

What is listed last is remembered most, because everything listed before is instantly felt as what can only be the emulations springing from a fountain of radiant hope:
The most wonderful friend is someone with these qualities:
1. Loyalty
2. Honesty
3. Openness
4. Generosity
5. A loving heart
The first four qualities are the emulations springing from a fountain of radiant trust.
Be good
Be happy
Be safe
Be yourself.
The first three beings are the emulations springing from a fountain of radiant authenticity.
It doesn’t matter whether we agree or disagree. The point is that the last item of a list can be empowered by the items which come before it.
It’s like a proposition: Being a woman is hard. Women suffer a lot of discrimination. Therefore, I would rather be a man.
Being a woman is awesome. I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, happy baby daughter. Therefore, I am in awe that as a woman I can give life to another human being.
I am a Jew. I do not feel a community of Jews exists outside of Israel. I am lonely for Jewish company, and angry that I am not embraced by at least a small Jewish collective. And, I wonder how it is that we can call ourselves Jews if we are not a people. In deed, dear Rabbi, the improverishment within Jewish identity runs deep, and must make us realize the necessity for nourishment, inspiration, and God’s love made manifest in our Jewish faith and identity as vehicles for feeding anyone and everyone whom we can feed, of healing our relationships with Muslims and ALL other religious communities, and of becoming more and more one community of believers who believe in the heart and soul of humankind and who trust Life as that which everyone should be blessed enough to live with zest and vitality in peace, joy, and with an endlessly unfolding fascination for Creation.

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posted September 18, 2007 at 10:04 pm

I think that it is a wonderful thing that was written, and if more cultures, or religions, and individuals reflected this way, we may get somewhere after all. As for the last comment, “as if written by a catholic”, You must have quite a demand for glass, as it does break so easily. I’m public, and respectful of faith. All faith.

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posted September 20, 2007 at 12:00 pm

slightly off topic –
I’m fascinated by #9 (or is it #2, in the spirit of the countdown to #1) – the one about the Top 50 rabbis.
do any of these rabbis actually use this citation on their bios?
the Newsweek article is so odd – given that the criteria for selection don’t seem to me to have much, if anything, to do with what I would expect from a rabbi.
So “Top” doesn’t necessarily equal “Best”, right?
that observation aside – i agree wholeheartedly with R. Stern’s list – Yasher Koach for saying it in black & white!

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posted September 21, 2007 at 9:36 am

The dear Rabbi should add to the list – Lashon Hora spoken about each other in the way of judgmental comments about the different branches of Judaism. It is fine to disagree but some of the comments we speak about each other are condemning and spoken without knowledge or regard to the basic humanity we share. I agree that Y.K. is a communal time for all of Israel, but it is also personal and individual. To make a better whole, the one must change also. Teshuva is both communal and personal. Shana Tova all

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Paula Nelson

posted September 24, 2007 at 2:13 am

How can you ignore #1????
Do you folks know what the Armenian Genocide was?
Do you realize that the Jewish community should oppose all genocide, not just the genocide of Jews?
Research the Armenian genocide.

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Susan Risk

posted September 27, 2007 at 11:04 am

Re: Forgiveness (Items 5 and 8)
Recently, a potential politician in an Ontario, Canada election, offers the choice for government backing for Catholic schools. I would not vote for a Conservative , based upon this one idea alone, however, if you could consider schooling which has both parental and government backing being made, universally, flexible enough to accept religious teachings that (during two periods a week, for example) would give to children lessons within their own faiths, and, as they progress, lessons to share.
If Government allows education time for the appreciation of cultural diversity, the important cultural concepts which assist children to form even their bodys’ immunity might not be overlooked.
It seems shocking to me that parents should have to fork over $22,000 a year for just (Jewish) education per child. More shocking, though, are the lost and bitter qualities that so many children have been forced, through impoverishment, and a lack of spiritual direction, to express via unruliness, rudeness, and subsequent business or social crimes,as they “mature”.
I am deeply opposed to forcing children in schools to worship together according to the religious whims of State, however, I have always believed that schooling in religion should be made available, optionally, to all youth.Theology is a University program, so there should be a public and highschool introduction,as in all schools or disciplines.
Young people, especially, will love and share without prejudice.Sharing their faith is even more important to children than it could ever be to adults.
Overcoming social boundaries (for instance between Islam and Judaism) can be seen to be (literally) childs’ play, given the enjoyably more free educational planning that our kids may now experience.
So, if someone asks you to vote for government backing for Catholic schools – insist upon backing for religion courses in all faiths (before you vote), as a normative regimen toward social acceptance and love.
Since the buzz in Ontario is that organized crime is approaching and intimidating Catholic students, right in the schools, intervention seems timely- but assisting one discipline and disregarding the rest is not enough.

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posted October 1, 2007 at 9:12 pm

#2 and #6 are contradictory.

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