Rabbi Marc Rosenstein will be leading several discussions and lectures this weekend at Temple Beth El in Huntington on the relationship between American Jews and Israel. All of the presentations are free and open to the public.
Topics include “Israel as I See and Live It” (Friday Jan.28 at 8 p.m.); “Can Torah Serve as a Use Manual for the Land of Israel?”(Saturday, Jan.29 at 8:30 a.m.); “What Does It Mean to be a Zionist Today on Long Island?” (Sunday, Jan. 30 at 9:45 a.m.); and “The Sun, the Moon and Israel (Sunday, Jan.30 at noon).
Rosenstein was born in the United States but moved to Israel in 1990. He lives on Moshav Shorashim in Galilee, Israel, and writes a weekly column called “Galilee Diary” for the Union of Reform Judaism’s “Daily Ten Minutes of Torah.”
Rosenstein explained that the goal of the program is to “help people get a deeper and more complex understanding of the reality of Israeli life and of the dilemmas which face us as we try to build a sustainable Jewish state.”
The discussions are part of the synagogue’s Rose Klein Memorial Scholar-in-Residence Program which has brought a diverse group of lecturers to Huntington for more than 20 years.
The series is designed to “bring some of the outstanding scholars of our time to our community to Temple Beth El and to present ideas and teachings that reflect our Jewish values and also push us and challenge us to think of those values in the modern world,” explained Rabbi Jeffrey Clopper of Temple Beth El.
Clopper added that he hoped those seeing the program will “understand the complexity of the issues Israel faces. It’s not as simple as what we read in the media which often boils it down to two simplistic sides. Life in Israel for an Israeli and for a Palestinian is not all about war and fighting and hatred and prejudice. There is so much more complexity to all sides. I hope that understanding comes through.”
Part of the program examines the role Jews in the diaspora have to play in Israeli society. Rosenstein added that, “Israel, as the ‘Jewish emergence from powerlessness,’ represents the daunting challenge of how we implement Jewish values when we have full responsibility for the nature of the society. And that all Jews everywhere have an interest and a role to play.”
He hopes that the lectures and discussions will lead to a “more nuanced and balanced and thoughtful relationship to Israel without getting drawn into propaganda wars.”
Clopper hopes that “the people of the Huntington community who are intrigued by the topic will join us for this opportunity to interact with Rabbi Rosenstein and learn from his experience. It’s a great chance to come find out more about the complexity of life in Israel.”