Thursday, July 18, 2013

JVP's Rabbi Alissa Wise engages in Sinat Chinam on Tisha B'Av

From Emunah:

After 3 years of increasing pressure on Tiaa-Cref, the answer was clear. The answer was "No". No, the investment giant would not allow its shareholder's meeting to be hijacked by a fringe minority group. No, they would not allow their 3.7 million plan participants retirement futures' be dictated by a tiny minority with a political ax to grind.

What was left for JVP to do, but protest? And true to form, they scheduled their day of rage for the Jewish fast day Tisha b'Av. You didn't actually expect them to mourn the loss of our temple, did you?

At first glance, the July 16th Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Global Exchange and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Tiaa-Cref protest in San Francisco seemed like a salute to corporate America, with its baffling array of signage.

 If they can't even spell apartheid, how can they possibly look it up and know what it means?

Spelling challenged anti-Israel protester in San Francisco
Song leader Dalit (Dov) Baum vainly tried to engage the handful of protesters, leading chants and songs. 
Dalit (Dov) Baum leading Tiaa-Cref protest

Eventually a  ukulele was brought out. It was that bleak. Passersby hurried past on their way to grab a bite of lunch, largely ignoring the group.

Rabbi Alissa Wise of JVP's Rabbinic Council also attended the protest. In her blog, the Palestinian Talmud, she writes
Tochecha is about our obligation to tell someone when they have done or are currently straying and behaving wrongly – whether to us, or to another. What’s more, tochecha requires us also to engage with those we are rebuking and assist them and support them in the repair of the wrong you are calling out.
Almost like a real rabbi, right? But don't let it fool you.

While I was photographing the protest, Rabbi Alissa Wise walked up to me, chanting loudly into her megaphone, and deliberately placed it inches from my ear.  It was an assault on more than my senses. We've learned to expect temper tantrums from JVP, but coming from the head of the JVP Rabbinic Council, this act was particularly appalling.  When those invested with the spiritual guidance of a group engage in such harmful, petty and vicious acts, we can see quite clearly why the group's moral compass is askew.

You have strayed, Rabbi Wise. You have behaved wrongly. Your baseless hatred, your Sinat Chinam caused you to publicly violate the personal space of a woman old enough to be your mother, simply because you disagreed with her politics.

Sadly, in her own deeply disturbing way, JVP's Rabbi Alissa Wise delivered a wordless sermon on Sinat Chinam on Tisha B'Av.

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