arrow11 Comments
  1. Edward Miggins
    Jul 29 - 1:20 am

    I am a son Irish Catholic immigrants who settled in New York City. Until reading Victor Frankl’s book on “Man’s Search for Meaning”, I didn’t think there was an alternative to violence by a self righteous enemy. A space has to be created to listen to the voices that see the endless, violent victimization as a failure that can never lead to long term success on any level. Frankl kept alive memories of his family and work to withstand daily cruelty and death in a Nazi death camp. We need to communicate this alternative way. We have to communicate the words of people likeyourself and examples like Tich Nhat Hanh, who refused to take sides in the Vietnam Nam, conflict. We need discussions, training and examples of this bravery. Namaste

  2. Jacob Mendlovic
    Jul 29 - 12:33 pm

    David, you made a mistake quoting Tractate Sanhedrin. In the English translation of the Talmud (Shottenstein) it says “Anyone who destroys a JEWISH (my emphasis) soul, it’s as though he destroyed an entire world. ” Go to any Orthodox shul library and look it up.

    • David Harris-Gershon
      Jul 29 - 3:20 pm



      I have two responses, since it doesn’t seem you know Hebrew:

      1) The word נפש means “soul,” and could refer either to a Jewish or non-Jewish soul.

      2) More importantly, though, are you suggesting that only Jewish souls are worth saving, and thus living? It certainly seems that such is your position. You might want to clarify, before people think you believe in Jewish exceptionalism.

      • Jacob Mendlovic
        Jul 29 - 5:17 pm

        David, I know Hebrew far better than you. Please don’t put words in my mouth. Did you ever study in a yeshivah? All I’m saying is that in Orthodox Judaism, especially ultra-Orthodoxy, the saying refers only to a Jewish soul or person. I don’t hold that position. Again, please look in the English translation of the Talmud, published by Shottenstein, which is found in Orthodox shuls.
        Jacob Mendlovic

        • David Harris-Gershon
          Jul 30 - 10:34 am


          Jacob, I’m a yeshiva-educated Jewish studies teacher. So yep, I’m good.

          • Hyim Brandes
            Jul 31 - 11:32 pm

            David and Jacob,

            The issue about which you are arguing is neither and issue of translation, nor of orthodox dogma. The issue is one of textual variants. Some versions of this text appear as David has quoted it:

            לפיכך נ

            • Hyim Brandes
              Jul 31 - 11:41 pm

              The comment system seems to have not liked my use of hebrew, and cut of my somewhat lengthier (and wittier) explanation, but the some versions of the text are as David quotes, but other versions include the phrase “from Israel” so that it reads “saves a life from Israel,” supporting Jacob’s translation. Scholars (including the RaMBaM himself) have been arguing which version is more authentic for a thousand years or more. More information is available here:


  3. althekauf
    Jul 29 - 7:24 pm

    You are correct that being pro-Israel is not a zero sum game. There is plenty of room for criticism in the pro-I tent. But claims of being supportive of Israel ring hollow if you relentlessly bash Israel and refuse to express that you appreciate how awful it is to live under tbe constant threat of Hamas rockets and the horrible tunnels. Your constant comdemnation of Israel is always unequivocal, but any critique of Hamas always is accompanied by a “But . . .” and a quick pivot back to Israel bashing. And that is very revealing.

  4. David Broida
    Jul 30 - 2:36 am

    David —- first, I read your book – thx for writing about something which never really stuck in my mind, the attack at Hebrew Univeristy at Mt. Scopus. I was in Israel a few weeks ago – our guide was at the school at the time of the bomb ——- very sad. I hope you and your family have healed from the trauma.

    AND……..I read your letter to my community – and I don’t see any answer to Hamas’ rockets and tunnels – how should Israel respond? A government’s first responsibility is the safety of it’s citizens. That said, after this war concludes, it would be nice to see Netanyahu sit down with Abbas and work on a just future, and——-for a government without Lieberman and Bennet.

  5. Herm
    Jul 30 - 6:28 am

    There are many ways of being pro-Israel, including being lovingly critical of its policies.

    And one can also attempt to Jew-wash their animosity toward Israel.

  6. Ourdub
    Aug 10 - 10:26 am

    I am an American Jew in my 70′s. I am more than deeply shamed by the loss of life of Palestinian civilians, particularly children, in this most recent invasion of Gaza. This killing is a stain on the souls of those who can justify this kind of inhumanity after suffering the unimaginable inhumanity of the holocaust. If Hamas is the culprit, then Israel must provide the enlightened leadership to find a way to peace without this massive loss of life, these sweet children who have barely begun their lives. My personal pain is deep, but absolutely nothing compared to the anguish of each mother, father, sister, brother, grand parent and friend who must endure living with the endless grief of that loss. I don’t sleep well at night. Even the happiest moments of each day are not immune. My heart and mind are pierced regularly by the the brutal realities lived by the innocent children of Gaza while I sit by in my safe and protected life

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