Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot, we had the honour of hosting the Deputy Ambassador of Israel, Ayellet Black, and her husband. The Deputy Ambassador addressed the congregation in a profound sermon on Friday evening, highlighting her personal perceptions of the Sukkot festival.
Following the morning service on Saturday, the congregation was able to engage with her in an open shiur. The debate, which in places was very emotional, covered the gamut from the current political situation in Israel, including the external threats the land has to face, to the role Progressive Judaism and Jews have in and for the Jewish homeland. Many congregants expressed their concerns that Progressive Jews have been regarded by the current government in Israel as second-class Jews, and because of that side lined. The Deputy Ambassador promised to “cable back” our concerns and thoughts, and asked us not to withhold our points of view. As long as dialogue happens she promised that we will be able to find
solutions that will respect all “members of the family”. –Rabbi Schell