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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Beauty of Shalom

I have often disagreed with my colleague Rabbi Riskin for some of his more right-wing extremist positions, such as his insistence on occupying the town of Efrat, which is a violation of the land for piece principle of the middle-east peace treaty. However, this does not mean, that I have a right to denigrate some of the wonderful things he has done (if you can overlook his being an occupier for the moment) one of which is his commitment to interfaith dialogue. On many occasions in the past, Rabbi Riskin has met with moderate Arabs and tried to build bridges between the two camps. He has shown courage in this regard.

So I want to strengthen Rabbi Riskin after he appeared on a Christian video and made some comments that ruffled the feathers of the more intolerant members of orthodox Jewry. I approve of his willingness to meet with our brothers and sisters on the other religious divide. I would just advise him to meet with the more liberal denominations of Christianity, and not the fundamentalists who believe that every inch of the land is ours. This is not the way of compromise. Nor is it proper for a pluralist such as himself to meet with extremists who oppose a woman's right to abortion, or a gay man's right to poke his partner in the privacy of his home and consecrate his love through marriage. This is intolerance, and it is contrary to the ways of shalom.

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