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Kehilla Statement of Values on Israel/Palestine

bird-israel-palestine“That which is hateful to you, do not do to another” Hillel, Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 31a

“You shall not oppress the stranger, and you know the heart of a stranger because you were strangers in the land of Mitzrayim”  Exodus 23:9

“Zion shall be redeemed by justice…”  Isaiah 1:27

From its inception, and in our statements and resolutions over the years, Kehilla Community Synagogue has affirmed the inherent dignity of all people. We affirm that equal respect must be accorded to Jews and to Palestinians—whether they have Israeli citizenship or not—and to all others who currently live in areas controlled by the Israeli government or its military. And we must acknowledge that everyone in Israel/Palestine has deep fears for their security and that they all desire a future for their children in which they live with peace and justice.

     In regard to Zionism: In Kehilla, we recognize the historical connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and we recognize the love for that land as expressed in Jewish biblical, liturgical, legal, and literary texts. We distinguish between this historical attachment and modern political Zionism.  Our individual members have a variety of relationships to Zionism, but as a congregation, we do not fuse the practice of our spirituality and morality with any form of political nationalism.

     On Oppression & Injustice: We recognize that the establishment of the State of Israel was an outcome of oppression experienced by the Jewish people over many centuries, most notably the Shoah, the Nazi Holocaust. And we must also acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish state in historic Palestine and the occupation or control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip has resulted in tragic injustices experienced by the Palestinian people.

     Peace & Justice, the Occupation, Human Rights: We seek a future that includes security and full civil and human rights for all who live in the land—Jews and non-Jews alike. We do not accept the oppression of non-Jews—Palestinians and others—nor the denial of equal treatment in the territories and within Israel. As a congregation, we believe that Israel’s maintaining of the occupation, the extensive blockade of Gaza, and the creation and continued construction of Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank defeat the interests of peace and justice.

     Rejecting Exclusivity: We affirm the unique role that the land between the Jordan River and the sea has played in Jewish history and in the aspirations of many Jews for a time or a place of safety, justice and peace. Nevertheless, we do not accept exclusive Jewish entitlement to the land, nor to the city of Jerusalem. We recognize that the land and the city are sacred to many faiths, and are a home to a variety of peoples, ethnicities and cultures.

     Religious Freedom: We affirm the human right to freedom of religious conscience, belief and practice where it does not infringe on the human rights of others. We affirm this right in our own country and everywhere. Religious freedom must be available in Israel/Palestine for Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, atheists and all others with the full separation of religious and state authority.

     Open Discussion, Open Ears: We believe that open dialogue is a necessary activity within our synagogue, in the Jewish community, and in society at large. In regard to discussions about Israel/Palestine, we seek to speak compassionately and to listen compassionately to many ideas about resolving the violent and tragic situation that has emerged and persists in Israel/Palestine. The cohesiveness of our community is not dependent upon unanimity on these issues, but rather it depends upon a willingness to listen and to speak with compassion and with respect for the dignity of the other.

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The Weekly, Kehilla’s newsletter, is released every Thursday.