Letter to a rabbi in North Carolina - from an unusually brave member of the local Jewish community. Steven Rosenberg of Raleigh, North Carolina, speaks up for Israel and takes a stand against barbarism and moral decay. All this seems to be with no support (so far) from Jewish officialdom who hold positions of power in Raleigh. A profile in courage:
Dear Rabbi Solomon:
My recent emails concerning your activities, including planning a trip to Yasser Arafat’s tomb, have started a conversation that I hope will produce good results for the community.
As a Rabbi in Raleigh, you are in a position of great influence to both the local Jewish community and our non-Jewish neighbors. After the responses I have received, I know that I am one of many people in the community that have concerns about your activities that unfairly criticize the state of Israel.
You ask the Jewish National Fund to adhere to the “Moses Standard” of transparency. You write, “If Moses could ensure that all his financial records were fully transparent, then we should expect nothing less from a Jewish organization like the JNF which has held our people’s sacred trust for over 100 years. Why should the JNF be afraid to share where our money goes after it leaves the little blue box?” (Documents, page 59)
Can we hold you to the same standard and ask for your response to the following questions?
- What purpose does your visit of Arafat’s tomb serve? What is Arafat’s legacy? Why can’t you find time in a 10 day trip to visit Yad Vashem or Har Herzl in Jerusalem when you plan on going to the Mahmoud Darwish Museum? (Documents, page 16) A bonus question, who is Mahmoud Darwish and why does he have a museum that you want to visit?
- In a related question on your itinerary, you write “Ascend the Temple Mount for a tour of the precinct and have a question and answer session with a local Muslim imam.” I see no mention of the Western Wall (Kotel), the holiest site in the world for Jews. Do you plan to let your trip participants pray at the Western Wall and possibly meet a local rabbi? If not, why not?
- How do you answer your own question to the JNF, “Will my money strengthen Israel’s democracy and civil society? Will it move us closer to peace?”
- Are you aware of the relationship between your tour operator, Mejdi, and its links to pro-Hamas support groups such as Holy Land Trust? Reverend Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, currently with Mejdi Tours, was a senior member of the World Vision NGO. World Vision was just accused of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Coincidence? (page 57)
- My good friend Ronit Bart lives next to the border of Gaza. (see video) Over the last 12 years their community has had to live with daily rocket attacks and terror tunnels from terrorists that are trying to hurt her and her family. What can the State of Israel do to these terrorists so there will be peace? How have your actions helped with this effort?
As someone who has lived in the Raleigh community for 32 years, I would like nothing more than a cohesive Jewish community that works together to guarantee a safe Israel and a good future for our children and grandchildren in Israel, in the United States and ideally, everywhere in the world.
I ask the community to review the information I have assembled and come to their own conclusions. I also ask that the community forward this email to friends and family who share my concern. I updated the file with an article from The Washington Post (page 57) and your request to the Jewish National Fund (page 59). In addition, the previous two emails are included at the end.
Rabbi Solomon, I look forward to hearing from you directly and sharing your responses. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.