Growing up an American Jew in Los Angeles, I was always told if you ask three Jews a question, you will get four opinions. Last Friday night, I went to shabbat services at Stephen Wise Temple. I began by reading the words below from Rabbi Joshua Knobel about Pioneers and the weekly parsha. Then, I listened to Rabbi Woznica’s passionate sermon about the issues with the Iran Nuclear Agreement. I included information from AIPAC and the Jewish Federation about their desire for Congress to oppose the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s Nuclear Program, signed on July 14, 2015.
Be Brave and Form an Opinion. Take Part and “remember that while the greatest victories are not won without bravery, they are also not won without risk.” What is your opinion on the Iran Nuclear Agreement? What do you think Congress should do? Are you willing to be vulnerable and share your opinion? What risks are you willing to take?
From Rabbi Knobel about this week’s parsha:
In modern Hebrew, the word ‘halutzim’ refers to the pioneers of the Israeli state, brave souls who, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, ventured forth into an unknown, often dangerous land, determined to create a home for themselves, as well as their Jewish brothers and sisters worldwide.
The origins of the word ‘halutzim’ appear within this week’s Torah portion. The tribes of Reuben and Gad, enamored of the land west of the Jordan River, ask Moses’ permission to stay, rather than pursue holdings in the Land of Canaan. In exchange, they boldly offer to lead the invasion of Canaan by serving as the vanguard – the halutzim.
The gallant bravery shared between the Biblical and modern halutzim seems plainly evident, but these two groups share another characteristic, as suggested by their names’ Hebrew root – halatz. In the Bible, halatz refers to genitals (Gen 35:11), while halitzah denotes a public shaming ritual (Deut 25:9). What common thread ties these disparate ideas together?
It appears our ancestors understood that true audacity requires us to expose ourselves to peril. Only by rendering ourselves susceptible to the cost of failure can we accomplish greatness. As we seek achievements as individuals, as a congregation, and as a people, let us remember that while the greatest victories are not won without bravery, they are also not won without risk.
Rabbi Woznica’s sermon from Shabbat July 17, 2015
7.17.15 – Rabbi David Woznica’s Shabbat Sermon
The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Unacceptable Consequences
After 20 months of negotiations, Iran and the P5+1 have reached a nuclear agreement. The agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest.
Instead, it would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.
Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and is racing toward a nuclear weapons capability. Through its proxy armies of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Iranian regime is supporting terrorists that have carried out attacks on American troops and Israeli civilians.
Click here to read AIPAC’s press release on the proposed deal.
- Iran must stop its nuclear weapons program.
American policy must unabashedly seek to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. A nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat to Israel and would arm the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism with the ultimate weapon.
- Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Iran finances, arms and trains terrorist groups operating around the world. It is the leading sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah, and armed insurgents that have fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Stop the human rights violations.
In the aftermath of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, which falsely awarded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) quelled popular protests by arresting civil leaders, beating and killing peaceful protesters and cutting off internet and mobile access to its citizens.
Urge Congress to Oppose the Bad Deal with Iran
AIPAC has consistently supported diplomatic efforts to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and we appreciate the commitment and dedication of President Obama and his administration throughout these negotiations. Unfortunately, this proposed agreement fails to halt Iran’s nuclear quest. Instead, it would facilitate rather than prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and would further entrench and empower the leading state sponsor of terror.
We strongly believe that the alternative to this bad deal is a better deal. Congress should reject this agreement, and urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.
Congress should insist on a better deal. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to oppose the bad deal with Iran.
- The proposed deal does not ensure “anytime, anywhere” short-notice inspections;
- The proposed deal does not clearly condition sanctions relief on full Iranian cooperation in satisfying International Atomic Energy Agency concerns over the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s program;
- The proposed deal lifts sanctions as soon as the agreement commences, rather than gradually as Iran demonstrates sustained adherence to the agreement;
- The proposed deal lifts key restrictions in as few as eight years;
- The proposed deal would disconnect and store centrifuges in an easily reversible manner, but it requires no dismantlement of centrifuges or any Iranian nuclear facility.
FROM JEWISH FEDERATION by email July 21, 2015:
This summer Congress will be reviewing the Iran nuclear agreement and it is imperative that our elected officials hear our voice. Below is our statement on this matter of national security. Please contact your member of Congress today — the time is now.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles joins with Jewish communities across the country in urging Congress to oppose the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s Nuclear Program, signed on July 14, 2015.
The proposed agreement with Iran is not a partisan issue; it impacts the security of the United States, the stability of the Middle East, the future of the State of Israel and the safety of every Jewish family and community around the world. This Iran deal threatens the mission of our Federation as we exist to assure the continuity of the Jewish people, support a secure State of Israel, care for Jews in need here and abroad and mobilize on issues of concern.
Our Federation wants a diplomatic solution that ends Iran’s nuclear program. We recognize the efforts of the Administration to reach such an agreement. We regret and are gravely concerned that the proposed agreement allows Iran to remain a threshold nuclear state, does not allow for “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities, and offers immediate rather than gradual sanctions relief without requiring Iran to address the military dimensions of its nuclear program.
The proposed agreement releases Iran from arms embargos in five years and ballistic missile sanctions in eight years. Iran’s past behavior gives us reason to be concerned that these deadly weapons will be shared with terrorists including Hamas and Hezbollah and will hasten the creation of an Iranian hegemony in the Middle East.
As Americans and Jews who yearn for peace and are invested in the future of our children and grandchildren, we must voice our concerns about an agreement that will destabilize a fragile region. We encourage members of our community to raise their voices in opposition to this agreement by contacting their elected representatives to urge them to oppose this deal.
Congress has until September 18th to review the agreement. That means that by acting promptly, you can start the Jewish New Year knowing you made your voice heard when it counted.
Leslie E. Bider
Chairman of the Board
President & CEO