Rabbi's Column - April 2017


Dear Friends,

There is a post that has been spreading on Facebook that I find particularly poignant. So poignant, that I want to share a piece of the message with you here. The point of the message is that the world is complicated and as political intransigence leads more to black and white ‘sides,’ we need reminders that no one is, thinks, or does strictly ‘black’ or ‘white.’

In fact, we can be neither all black nor all white. Even more, we can be both black and white at the same time. As the anonymous Facebook message reminds us:

For all you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian. It is also possible to believe in God and science. It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.

It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men. It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money.

It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property. It is possibleto be anti-war and pro-military.

It is possible to love they neighbor and despise his actions. It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro-police. It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant. It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists. It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream.

Then there is Linda Sarsour who has yet to learn this important lesson. For those of you who don’t know, Linda Sarsour was one of the organizers for the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st. Linda Sarsour is a feminist and a Palestinian. Linda Sarsour also, in a very crude and philosophically deceitful statement, has made the claim that you cannot be both a feminist and a Zionist. Excuse me? Linda Sarsour has just denied the existence of almost every Jewish woman I know.

We must shout out very clearly that some of the best feminists in the world are Zionists, and some of the best Zionists in the world are feminists.

Because I do believe that we are all complicated packages of what can sometimes appear as contradictions, I must also point out that the same Linda Sarsour was behind the Muslim raising of funds to repair the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis that was viciously desecrated. I am appreciative of that action. But we cannot allow it to temper our disgust at the claim that Zionism and feminism are mutually exclusive.

It is equally possible to appreciate Linda Sarsour’s concern about anti-Semitism in St. Louis and to deplore her own anti-Semitic claims about Zionism and feminism. Deplore them we do.

Rabbi Offner