3 thoughts on “Seattle Jewish Community 2004 Derech Eretz Statement | Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. RS: “When challenged by Rob Jacobs, StandWithUs’ Seattle director, who claimed my characterization of this document as an Israel Accord was a fiction and that the document didn’t exist…”

    When/where did Mr. Jacobs claim any such thing? Was it in his 7/29/09 reply to your 7/28 post which alluded to the “Israel Accord” (sic), when he wrote, “…what the heck is the Jewish community ‘Israel accord’ to which you refer? I have no idea what you are talking about and I doubt you do either.”? He asked what exactly you were referring to, and as it turns out, what you had in mind was published five years ago not under the heading “Israel Accord,” but rather “Derech Eretz.” The former (“Israel Accord”) isn’t the English translation of the Hebrew (“Derech Eretz”). This is your basis for accusing him of disingenuousness (“Must be a case of severe memory loss. Or perhaps Rob only remembers those things it’s convenient for him to remember?”), if not outright lying (“I grant no respect whatsoever to anyone who deliberately lies about my own views and speaks untruths about his own record and actions.”)?

    A year ago (7/08), you intimated that Mr. Jacobs was a person quite willing to “twist the truth,” calling upon him to “start telling the truth.” Then your wife and a friend told you that you had “been too harsh” on him, and you offered him an apology of sorts, saying, “…from what I have heard you seem to be a decent and honorable person.” Now, you are back to hurling invective at him, calling him a “smearmonger”? How does that comport with the “Derech Eretz” statement, which it seems you would have others respect in letter and spirit, though you yourself don’t?

    (And btw, I don’t see how that private letter to the head of Kadima was inconsistent with the 2004 published statement. If that letter had been published openly, perhaps it could be seen as inconsistent, but it wasn’t, that is not until you sleuthed it out and published it through your blog.)

  2. The Seattle Jewish Federation letter assailing the decision of Kadima Reconstructionist Community to host Canon Naim Ateek at a Shabbat morning service is contrary to the intent of the ‘No Matter Where We Stand, We Stand With Israel’ statement of 2004. This ‘Derech Eretz’ (civil conduct) statement was meant to head off inflammatory actions such as the Federation letter to Kadima. I should know, because I and Rob Jacobs were central members of the core group that instigated the statement, and we were both on the writing team. The statement has a diverse spectrum of signers. Unfortunately, the full range of signers is not available, since many the names of many prominent community members who signed as individuals were not printed in the JT News. (I have not been able to learn what happened to that list of names.)

    The Federation letter to Kadima was not preceded by any attempt whatsoever to speak to me, as Program Director, or the Kadima board of directors. Letters between organizations are not ‘private’ communications. In any case, this letter was was distributed widely to garner signatures (a gratifyingly small number of people signed it), and a draft was sent to the JT News, Seattle’s Jewish newspaper. Even though I am on the Israel Program Committee email list, I was cut out of those communications, despite my regular conversations with several of the signers.

    On another count, reports of Kadima’s demise as a pro-active progressive Jewish community are greatly exaggerated. There’s been criticism that Kadima is moving too slowly or not responding at all. Kadima can ‘take the heat;’ we are developing our strategy with the intent to a) insist on civil conduct within the Seattle Jewish community, b) continue to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to providing a safe place at Kadima House to discuss and debate difficult issues, and c) promote recognition that there are many definitions of what is ‘Pro-Israel’ and in the best interest of the Jewish people My board is a hardworking group of volunteers, and all staff work part-time. Our strategy is based both on what is in the best interest of Kadima and of the Jewish community, and will progress according to our chosen schedule. Anyone who wants to help us in this effort our offer support is welcome to contact us! office@kadima.org

    B’shalom, Rainer Waldman Adkins

    1. While I’m gratified to have Rainer explain his view of the Derech Eretz statement and the fact that the Israel committee of federation failed miserably in honoring the provisions of this document, I take strong exception to Kadima’s “strategy” of addressing the issues raised by the federation’s attack on Kadima. Unfortunately, and even though he has tried to avoid sounding this way, saying Kadima will “progress according to your chosen schedule” sounds defensive and almost unresponsive to the issues. Once again, you point out nothing substantive that you or Kadima are actually doing except following that blessed chosen schedule, whatever that is or means.

      This is a 24/7 news cycle and Kadima seems to be saying we’re happy being in the horse & buggy era. That’s not my idea of what a hard-hitting, dynamic progressive Jewish organization should be doing.

      And since we’re talking about following our own chosen courses of action, I want to remind Rainer that this blog too does that. While I see myself largely as an ally of Kadima, that does not mean that I will refrain from criticizing it or any other Jewish group when I feel it has fallen flat. I don’t see it as my job to protect my political friends just because they are my friends. Real friends tell other friends when they have fallen short of what their goals or values should be. That’s the spirit in which I write this blog. No one gets a free ride, including me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link