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Why is it Such a Big Event that Peter Beinart will be at Kehilla this Sunday besides that it’s important and free?

by Rabbi David J. Cooper

It was like when Walter Cronkite came out against the war in Vietnam, at least it was for me. Four years ago, Peter Beinart, a well-respected center-right commentator wrote his now famous article, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” and declared that the leadership of American Zionist institutions was on a downward moral spiral. This analysis was not printed in a leftist journal but in the prestigious New York Review of Books. [You can read it here.] Point blank he put the blame on this establishment for alienating a large part of the younger generation of Jews from participation in the Jewish community.

 His critique became more intense two years later when in his book The Crisis of Zionism, he declared that he was now boycotting products produced by settler enterprises in the West Bank and that he was doing so in defense of the Israel he believed in.

 He is now in big demand as a speaker and it was flattering to us that he asked to speak at Kehilla.

 I met and talked with Beinart at the J Street conference two years ago. He was interested in Kehilla because of our Israel/Palestine work and our compassion for both peoples.

 Right now, as we consider what role we might play as a synagogue community in regard to peace, freedom and security in Israel/Palestine, his talk on the Crisis of Zionism and the Responsibility of Diaspora Jews is particularly appropriate.

 Come for his talk and for our Conversation Café to follow after his talk and the Q&A.

 Starts at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary.



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