The Rabbinical Assembly (the rabbinical association of the Conservative movement) distributed this letter today to its members, asking its rabbis to read the piece below in lieu of the Shofar service on Rosh Hashanah. (The shofar is traditionally not sounded when RH falls on Shabbat, as it does this year.)
On this Rosh Hashanah our brothers and sisters in Israel face the threat of a nuclear Iran – a threat to Israel’s very existence.
Today, we Jews around the world also confront the anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment of the Goldstone report which blames Israel disproportionately for the tragic loss of human life incurred in Operation Cast Lead, which took place last winter in Gaza. This unbalanced United Nations sponsored report portends serious consequences for Israel and the Jewish people.
On this holy day, which is not only Rosh Hashanah, but also Shabbat, the Shofar is silent in the face of this spurious report, the world is far too silent.
Today the state of Israel needs us to be the kol shofar, the voice of the shofar!
We ask you to write to our governmental leaders and call upon them to condemn the Goldstone report and to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran.
While the shofar is silent today, all Conservative rabbis, cantors and congregations have been asked to sing Hatikvah at this moment in the service.
We rise in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel.
What troubles me most about this suggestion is how profoundly it flies in the face of the very meaning of the festival itself. On Rosh Hashanah, we affirm Malchuyot – God’s sovereignty over the universe. Rosh Hashanah is the only time of the year that Jews are commanded to bow all the way to the ground and pledge our allegiance to God and God alone. We acknowledge that our ultimate fealty lies with a Power beyond ourselves, beyond any mortal ruler, any government, any earthly power.
Beyond the political arguments over such a statement, it strikes me as something approaching idolatry.
I’m curious to know your reactions, particularly in regard to its religious implications.