Rabbi's Message November 12, 2015 East West

I love the movies. I’ll go whenever I’ve got the time. Movies are a form of escape. They also afford a peek into the lives of others.


Wednesday evening’s showing of ”East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem” from the Boston Jewish Film Festival was no escape. But this documentary produced by one of my all-time favorite Israeli musicians, David Broza, did offer an enlightening peek into another world.


For seventeen years, David Broza has been engaging with Palestinian musicians in East Jerusalem with music as the language of dialogue. His dream of creating an album at the East Jerusalem recording studio Sabreen culminated in the album, “East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem.”


Broza demonstrates that each of us has a unique contribution to make to peace-making (or to any social justice issue). He repeats several times in the film, echoed by his Palestinian friend, Issa Freij, that he doesn’t want to be political. Though anything involving Israelis and Palestinians will be seen as political, Broza aims at a purity that recognizes and draws on the basic humanity of everyone in the room. Music is the medium; peace-making is the goal.


The most moving part of the film and the album is the scene when the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus, a choir of Jewish and Arab youth, record “What’s So Funny ‘bout Peace, Love & Understanding.” It sounds hokey and naïve, but the truth of their lived experience shines through as a beacon of hope.


The film will show again on Sunday, November 15 at 3 (rush tickets only).


Watching the film and hearing the Israelis and Arabs speak of how this experience opened them to meeting and getting to know each other, made me think of my own limited experience with Palestinians. In my pursuit of Micah’s teaching, “do justice, act with love and walk humbly,” I believe that building relationships is essential to spiritual work and social justice. This film underscored the importance of “acting with love:” relationship building.


The film inspired me to consider how I might build more personal relationships with people in Israel and Palestine. That’s why I’m drawn to a very special Reconstructionist trip to Israel in July 2016, where the focus will be on “personal storytelling and relationship-building.”


Organized by Congregation Dorshei Tzedek through MEJDI Tours, this promises to be a worthwhile trip, whether this is your first or fifteenth visit to Israel. We will visit the major Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and we will also visit Israeli Arab towns of Yaffo, Akko, and Nazareth. In addition, and go to Jenin, Ramallah, and the Gush Etzion settlement block in the West Bank. We will spend one Shabbat in Tel Aviv and the other in Jerusalem.


Brian and I are seriously considering participating in this tour, so that we can visit places and meet people we would not otherwise have the opportunity to know. I hope you will consider signing up and sharing what promises to be a life-changing journey.

(Informational meeting Sunday, November 22nd, 5:30pm at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, 60 Highland Street, Newton. RSVP to the rabbi by Friday)

Posted on November 12, 2015 .