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Sunday, November 18, 2012

In defense of Rabbi Pruzansky

Despite the fact that we are preoccupied here in Israel with what's going on in Gaza, I wanted to take a minute to say a word on behalf of one of Israel's most articulate defenders, Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, whose blog posts are always incisive and on point. Rabbi Pruzansky has come under attack for writing a blog post in which he essentially accused President Obama of buying the election. Here's my favorite part (from the last link):
For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel. They voted to secure Obama’s future at America’s expense and at Israel’s expense – in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin. A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. That Obama’s top aide Valerie Jarrett (i.e., Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett) spent last week in Teheran is not a good sign. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon – and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality. As Obama has committed himself to abolishing America’s nuclear arsenal, it is more likely that that unfortunate circumstance will occur than that he will succeed in obstructing Iran’s plans.
Obama’s victory could weaken Netanyahu’s re-election prospects, because Israelis live with an unreasonable – and somewhat pathetic – fear of American opinion and realize that Obama despises Netanyahu. A Likud defeat – or a diminution of its margin of victory – is more probable now than yesterday. That would not be the worst thing. Netanyahu, in fact, has never distinguished himself by having a strong political or moral backbone, and would be the first to cave to the American pressure to surrender more territory to the enemy and acquiesce to a second (or third, if you count Jordan) Palestinian state. A new US Secretary of State named John Kerry, for example (he of the Jewish father) would not augur well. Netanyahu remains the best of markedly poor alternatives. Thus, the likeliest outcome of the upcoming Israeli elections is a center-left government that will force itself to make more concessions and weaken Israel – an Oslo III.
But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there is an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The most powerful empires in history all crumbled – from the Greeks and the Romans to the British and the Soviets. None of the collapses were easily foreseen, and yet they were predictable in retrospect.
The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline. Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come. Across the world, America under Bush was feared but not respected. Under Obama, America is neither feared nor respected. Radical Islam has had a banner four years under Obama, and its prospects for future growth look excellent. The “Occupy” riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead – years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.
Two bright sides: Notwithstanding the election results, I arose this morning, went to shul, davened and learned Torah afterwards. That is our reality, and that trumps all other events. Our relationship with G-d matters more than our relationship with any politician, R or D. And, notwithstanding the problems in Israel, it is time for Jews to go home, to Israel. We have about a decade, perhaps 15 years, to leave with dignity and without stress. Thinking that it will always be because it always was has been a repetitive and deadly Jewish mistake. America was always the land from which “positive” aliya came – Jews leaving on their own, and not fleeing a dire situation. But that can also change. The increased aliya in the last few years is partly attributable to young people fleeing the high cost of Jewish living in America. Those costs will only increase in the coming years. We should draw the appropriate conclusions.
If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back.
If you follow the other two links, you will discover that there is a petition in Rabbi Pruzansky's synagogue 'calling him to order' over his remarks. Well, Rabbi, I have been told that the great Rabbi Yisrael Salanter once said that if a synagogue is not threatening to fire its rabbi, then he is not a rabbi, and if they actually succeed then he is not a mentch. I gather that you are long past firing.

I wonder what offended the denizens of Teaneck more - the fact that the rabbi demolished the Democratic-voting Jews or the fact that he exhorted his congregants to make aliya.

Well, I hope that Rabbi Pruzansky will make aliya soon (without being fired). We need more clear-thinking people like him here.



At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on over, Rabbi. Bring your congregation with you. And if they don't want to, come without them. Everyone possible is wanted and needed here and the Ribbono Shel Olam has given you a window of opportunity.

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The Rabbi speaks the truth and gives an accurate prediction of the future.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

Wow! I read both of Rabbi Pruzansky's essays and was really impressed by the forceful clarity of his thought and his willingness to call it like he sees it.

"I wonder what offended the denizens of Teaneck more - the fact that the rabbi demolished the Democratic-voting Jews [or, really, Democrat voting anybody!] or the fact that he exhorted his congregants to make aliya." Liberals despise anybody who's an unafraid, articulate conservative, especially anybody who is "supposed to be" a Democrat, e.g. any Rabbi, black man Allen West, unafraid woman Sarah Palin. I distinctly remember a black man I used to work with actually angrily calling Clarence Thomas a "traitor", because he is a conservative and was nominated to his Supreme Ct. seat by a Republican president! (Nor did he like it at all when I replied that "Wow, that was a fascist thing to say!")

There's NOBODY as intolerant and closed-minded as a modern liberal!


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