The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-05-13

Posted on October 15th, 2013 at 9:05 am by

What’s Good for the Goose

… isn’t necessarily good for the Gander, according to a recently denied request of Pastor James Rhodenhiser of the local St. Clare’s Episcopal Church. You see, last fall Rev. Rhodenhiser requested of this writer a sit-down with Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje and Pastor Ken Wilson of the Vineyard Church. The purpose of the meeting was to request the Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends cease our weekly vigils at Beth Israel. We accepted the invitation.

With the planned arrival of Dan McGowan and Paul Eisen of Deir Yassin Remembered this fall, we initiated a request for a second meeting with the same crew plus the addition of these two men:

Dan and Paul have been involved in the struggle for Palestine longer than I, and may be able to better explain the political need for our vigils. They see a larger picture and the necessity for actions such as ours to highlight the injustices perpetrated by the forced creation of an ethnic state in Palestine. I think we could all benefit from their historical knowledge and expertise in communicating ideas that fall outside the scope of traditional thinking. Perhaps we could entertain suggestions as to how the vigils might be used to initiated much-needed conversation within the Ann Arbor Jewish community. We would certainly be willing to listen to what you and other invitees have to say.

Miscommunication prevented a timely exchange and meeting agreement, but Pastor Rhodenhiser could not resist the opportunity for rebuke and unsolicited free advice (UFA) in his explanation:

Henry, can’t get the mayor or Ken early Saturday a.m. To hear why scapegoating is a good idea. apologizing would be the way to get Jewish community attention and door to actual dialogue, not posters advocating overthrow of Israel or blaming Zionism for Nazism. Peace is always the result of mutuality not hostility. Ken and I are willing to put up an Israeli flag at our places if you wanted to give Beth Israel a break those weekends, we could make up a schedule together. God bless, james

We turned the matter over to PeaceMonger for consideration and here’s part of what resulted. To get the complete response, click here.

Reading this [email exchange …HH], one wonders if Rhodenhiser is really so ill-informed or ill-educated that he actually believes there is any scapegoating going on. Merriam-Webster defines a scapegoat as “a person who is unfairly blamed for something that others have done”. However, Beth Israel Congregation (BIC) has never been blamed “unfairly” nor for what “others have done”.

BIC is fairly subject to protest for their own public support for the Jewish state that was created by force by a minority population in someone else’s homeland. BIC is fairly subject to protest for indoctrinating children into militant Zionism. BIC is fairly subject to protest for its cheer-leading when Israel goes to war. BIC is fairly subject to protest for its toleration of its senior rabbi’s apologetics of torture.


I can easily imagine a long ago version of Rhodenhiser scolding the prophet Jeremiah as he stood “in the gate of the LORD’S house” and rebuked Israel (Jeremiah 7). I can see him chastising Amos for telling Beth Israel in the Lord’s name: “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies” because the Israelites had turned “justice to wormwood” and brought “righteousness to the ground.” Look, there’s James Rhodenhiser denouncing Isaiah to the city officials for telling Israel they are a “sinful nation, [a] people laden with iniquity” whose “hands are full of blood”.

Late Notice

JWPF has been made aware of a “kosher” fund raiser by the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. National Public Radio personality Susan Stamberg will be the keynote speaker for this event. If any readers are willing to spend some time organizing a protest for this event, please contact this writer. JWPF notes that at least 25% of the funds raised in this event (often exceeding one million dollars in one evening) are used to support Israel’s illegitimate existence and pillorying of the Palestinian people. The Fed’s event will be held on Sunday, October 20 from 4:00 to 7:30 pm at Washtenaw Community College’s Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 East Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor.


Five vigilers
Throw Israel off the Fiscal Cliff
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

One Response to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-05-13”

  1. The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog » Blog Archive » Report on Beth Israel vigil 10-12-13

    […] Rabb of Boulder, Colorado, read last week’s report about protesting Sunday’s annual fund raiser by the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor, and […]
Powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
%d bloggers like this: