Masorti congregational leaders –clergy and lay — are charting the path toward a Judaism in Israel that is inclusive, democratic and egalitarian. Committed to Jewish tradition and observance, Masorti is also comfortable with modernity and supportive of new ideas.
In these pages, we are creating a space where our congregational leaders can express their views, share sermons and address the pressing issues related to the Masorti experience in Israel. They’ll advocate and inspire and, we hope, challenge us all in thinking about our Judaism.
If Not Now, When? Combatting Extremism in Israel
A Sermon for the High Holidays: 5779
Rabbi Susan Grossman
Beth Shalom Congregation
First in this series is a powerful and deeply felt Rosh Hashanah sermon delivered by Rabbi Susan Grossman of Beth Shalom in Maryland. Her purpose is to “reflect on who we are and who we want to be, as individuals and as a Jewish People.” She shines a light on a spate of recent disturbing actions in Israel that “exemplify how religious and political extremists in Israel threaten to tear apart the unity of the Jewish People and endanger the Jewish and democratic values Israel was founded upon…”
Her remedy is for American Conservative Jews to actively support Masorti in Israel because “Masorti is the antidote to extremism on one hand and nihilism on the other, with its system of Jewish values that can motivate Israelis to defend the unity of the Jewish people and show respect for the pluralism of our traditions and safeguards of democracy.” Rabbi Grossman’s sermon is brilliant and her argument is compelling. It’s an important read for the High Holidays.
An accomplished author, lecturer, and storyteller who offers her congregants a rare blend of spiritual energy, joy, intellectual stimulation and pastoral compassion, Rabbi Susan Grossman was one of the first women ordained as a rabbi by Jewish Theological Seminary and the first woman to lead her own congregation in both Westchester, New York and Howard County, Maryland. She currently serves on the prestigious Committee for Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. In addition to serving on the CJLS, Rabbi Grossman is an editor of the Conservative Movement’s Humash, Etz Hayim Torah and Commentary.