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Rabbi’s Blog: A Case of Contrasts

11/17/2023 12:56:21 PM


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Dear OZ family,


Although the Talmud quotes hundreds of verses from the book of Proverbs, there is one discussion in the second chapter of Masechet Shabbat that suggests that this book should be removed from the biblical canon because its words are contradictory. As an example, the Talmud cites one verse that warns us not to engage in debates and arguments with fools, and another verse in the book of Proverbs exhorts us to set fools on the right path when we debate them. Clearly we are either talking about two different types of fools or two different types of situations.


One of my first messages after Oct.7 called for a vigorous broadcast of the truth for Israel’s position, because the other side was busy putting out their “narrative”, which usually goes unquestioned in the papers and networks of record. Only Israel’s reports are called “unverified”. The only country in the Middle East that actually has accountability, is the one whose truth is always questioned. Murderers, rapists, child-killers and kidnappers can do all those things, but when it comes to reporting events, their word is taken for unalloyed truth. This morning, I saw someone writing “CEASEFIRE” in red marker across the face of an elderly woman held captive. I asked why she was doing that and she responded that no one was kidnapped and that Israel staged the whole thing for a pretext to go into Gaza. Her denial, akin to Holocaust denial, is not too distant a stretch from much of the media’s reporting of what has happened since Oct 7, with few exceptions


Some of these twists are Orwellian. We should have seen this coming. A 2021 edition of Commentary Magazine was dedicated to the dangers that the Woke agenda presents to Jews and Israel as oppressors and colonizers. When medical journals write of “birthing people”, don’t be surprised of a society that produces the likes of an organization set up to protect journalists, called Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) This work, in and of itself is noble, but read what they wrote about 4 Israeli journalists murdered in Gaza:

1)      Yaniv Zohar, a photographer for Israel Hayom, who was murdered with his entire family in his home in Nahal Oz. According to CPJ, he was killed by a “political group” while on “dangerous assignment”.

2)      Ynet photographer, Roee Idan was murdered outside his home in Kfar Aza, while he was holding his 3 year old daughter, who was then taken hostage. According to CPJ he was killed by “unknown fire” in an “unknown” location while on “dangerous assignment”  

3)      Shai Regev, an editor at Maariv, and Ayalet Ayelet Arnin, and editor with the Israel Broadcasting Corp. were murdered by Chamas, and according to CPJ, they too were killed by a “political group” while on “dangerous assignment”.


Our battle today is for truth, almost as much as it is for uprooting Chamas. Our case is just, and our side has truth on it, but we can’t take justice and truth for granted. While we were in Washington, we heard about a virulently anti-Israel film that was going to be shown at Hunter College and then re-broadcast in colleges all over America. A dash of phone calls got the program canceled at the last minute. Our calls can make a difference. We have sent out dozens of places to get our voices heard. Keep calling.


You probably saw a list of all the contrasts in the demonstrations of late. In DC on Tuesday, no one was assaulted, there were many American flags, no face masks, there was no racism or bigotry, hatred, or vitriolic slogans. There was concern for the needless suffering of innocents, and the police were thanked millions of times. So, should we respond to fools who can be convinced that lies are truth and truth are lies? There is no point in arguing with someone who is deaf and blind to the truth. In the very least, we have to point out when the others are lying, and when it comes to Israel, that’s most of the time.


Truth shall prevail!

Am Yisrael Chai!


Stay safe and healthy,

Rabbi Allen Schwartz



Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635




Mon, December 4 2023 21 Kislev 5784