Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Celebrating Yom Yerushalayim at The House

The House in Toronto was the scene for a lively talk on Yom Yerushalayim by Rabbi Ken Spiro, senior lecturer and researcher for Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Seminar and the Jerusalem Online University, on why Israel is relentlessly picked on and is “a nation that dwells alone”.

The talk was co-sponsored by The House, a mid-town venue for young Jews in their 20s and 30s, along with with JUMP (Jewish Urban Meeting Place) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Community Connect.

We can't go into as much detail as Rabbi Spiro did, but we can summarize his eight main points for you below:

  1. The national identity of the Jewish people is the only one in the world to be labelled as racist and discriminatory.
  2. Our very existence as a people is constantly threatened.
  3. Israel's actual capital is not recognized by any other country, as consulates are present in Jerusalem but no embassies.
  4. The Jewish people and the state of Israel are constantly criticized and condemned, more than any other nation.
  5. Israel is expected to send aid to its enemies during a time of war.
  6. Israel is expected to evict it's own people from conflict regions and destroy communities it has built.
  7. The destruction of Israel and its people is the only common cause that unites its enemies and their respective ideologies which often oppose each other.
  8. The Jewish people as a whole are the only held responsible for what their co-religionists do.

Rabbi Spiro said the Jewish People have had one lasting mission: to be a light unto the nations, but antisemitism works against that mission.

Referencing Natan Sharansky’s “three Ds” – the demonization, delegitimization and double standards applied to Israel – Rabbi Spiro argued that without a country of our own to protect the Jewish people, we would be an incredibly easy target for increased hatred, persecution and, some might say, complete extermination.

In the end, the old saying about Jewish holidays still holds true: they tried to destroy us, we survived, let’s eat.

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