Wednesday, November 04, 2009
And the pain is great, and the shame is great, and which is greater, you must tell us, man! (Hayim Nahman Bialik)
It has been 14 years since Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by a Jewish assassin. MARAM, the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis, has recently ratified its resolution to make the day of assassination, 12 of Cheshvan—which has been declared an Israeli national Memorial Day—a day of public fast. On this day, members of MARAM will not officiate in ceremonies such as weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, and congregations of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) will hold special prayer and study sessions to mark the day.
Rabin's Memorial Day – MARAM's resolution
In tune with Jewish tradition, MARAM, , the Israel Council of Progressive Rabbis, stresses that the national Memorial Day for Yitzhak Rabin should be utilized, first and foremost, for both public and personal self examination. On this day we call on the Israeli public to learn the lessons from this horrible crime and the circumstances that have allowed it, and to acknowledge the dangers hidden within political and religious extremism, which characterize parts of Israeli society. This Memorial Day must encourage all Israelis not to remain indifferent to expressions of violence and incitement.
In light of the fact that the murder was performed, supposedly, in the name of the Jewish Halacha, MARAM emphasizes the need to fiercely reject any attempt to hurt the democratic fabric of life in Israel in the name of Jewish tradition. Such attempts often make cynical and false use of Halachaic sources, mislead the public, and exploit the Torah as a platform from which political agenda is promoted. Faithful to Progressive Judaism, it is MARAM's stand that only in a democratic society that respects and protects human rights can the universal values of Judaism be fulfilled and expressed; and that only through strengthening and reinforcing Israeli democracy, for the benefit of all Israeli citizens, can we secure the future of the Jewish People on its land.
Fourteen years after the murder, MARAM declares that the profound lessons of the murder have not yet been absorbed into the Israeli education system. School subjects such as Civic Studies and Democracy Education have not yet gained the important status they deserve, and many Israeli students therefore do not acquire the civic knowledge and values necessary for strengthening Israeli democracy. MARAM calls on the Israeli education authorities to extensively promote and empower civic education in all school systems in Israel as a foundation for shaping a diverse and tolerant society, and to condition governmental budgeting of such systems on the integration of democratic content into their curriculum.
Such an approach will bring us closer to realizing Isaiah's prophecy: "In all of my Sacred mount nothing evil or vile shall be done" (Isaiah 11:9)