Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some quick book notes

I keep a list of books that I've read so that I don't keep borrowing or buying the same ones. Here are some recent notes:

6?/2009 There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition

Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Her most striking point, in my opinion: “Even today, the bulk of government housing subsidies go to the wealthy and to homeowners. Homeowner tax breaks, instituted in 1912 to help family farmers, now provide more than $119.3 billion a year in subsidies, compared with approximately $37 billion/year for low-income housing.” It certainly never occurred to me that ____ and I are living in subsidized housing.

7/10?/2009 Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War That May Never End

Daniel Gordis

Among other things, he urges that we get it out of our heads that Judaism is basically a pacifistic religion—we’ve fought when necessary, all the way back to the days of the Tanach. Saul lost the kingship for being too merciful to an enemy. Medinat Yisrael could be lost the same way, if Israel isn’t careful not to be too merciful to the merciless.

He also asserts that it’s vital to teach Jewish, not just Israeli, tradition to all Israeli children, so that they’ll know that what they’re fighting for is not just a Hebrew-speaking version of the U.S.

He also raises the quite distressing question of whether “transfer” is the only realistic solution to the demographic time-bomb, asking why transfer is considered a legitimate means of separating enemies everywhere else except Israel. Why is it okay for the Israeli government to forcibly remove thousands of Jews from Gaza, but not okay to ask the surrounding countries to absorb their Arab kin? For that matter, why doesn’t anyone ever mention the forcible expulsion of thousand of Jews from Muslim lands?

When I mentioned Gordis' advocacy of "transfer" (relocating all Palestinians to someplace outside of the State of Israel) to my husband, he practically laughed. "Who would take them?" Good question. It might reasonably be argued that, if the Arabs and/or Muslims of North Africa and West Asia/the Middle East had been willing to absorb the Palestinians when they were first displaced in 1948, much of the current "Middle East crisis" simply would never have existed. Instead, they've gone out of their way to leave their brethren stranded.

My mother, me, and my son were all born in the U.S. Imagine what a scandal it would be if the U.S. government suddenly stripped all of us of our citizenship, simply because my mother's mother came from Kiev Gobernyeh (Kiev County). Yet Jordan can nonchalantly strip 70% of its residents of their citizenship in 2009 simply because they or their ancestors fled from what's now the State of Israel in 1948, and no one says a thing.


Blogger BrooklynWolf said...

You might want to check out LibraryThing. It's the widget that I have on the side of my blog that lets everyone know what I've read.

The Wolf

Wed Jul 29, 11:51:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

You're talking to Ms. Tech-Challenged. I couldn't even set up my own sidebar and blogroll without help.

Wed Jul 29, 12:33:00 PM 2009  

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