Yes, you should go to Limmud

A ton of common sense from Dov Lipman which I read in the Jerusalem Post Friday edition:

So let me get this straight.

Jonathan Rosenblum is against Orthodox rabbis attending Limmud in England, because the conference provides equal standing to all denominations of Judaism and includes lectures on Jewish culture, humor and even anti-Israel presenters.

Mr. Rosenblum: This is not 19th-century Germany, in which religious Jews founded new streams of Judaism as a way out of a religious lifestyle. It is 2013, and it is a shame that you and others who share your perspective don’t realize that millions of Jews in other streams are looking for a way in.

And, thank God, newly appointed Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and other Orthodox rabbis (myself included) will appear at the Limmud Conference and any other place where people want to hear words of Torah.

Way to go, Dov!

I’ve heard this next extract before, but it’s worth repeating:

A story regarding the well-known Orthodox rabbi Aryeh Levin demonstrates the approach which Jews should have towards one another.

Levin was walking in his hometown, Jerusalem, when he noticed a familiar young soldier who was home on break from his military service.

“Hello,” said Levin, who was already an older man. “Please come to my home and share some tea with me. I would like to hear about what you are doing.”

The young soldier seemed uncomfortable and replied, “I don’t think it’s right for me to come visit you. I don’t even wear a kippa anymore.”

Rabbi Levin, wearing his black hat and long black coat, took the soldier’s hand into his own and with a smile on his face, he said: “Don’t you see? I’m very short. I cannot look above your head to see whether you are wearing a kippa or not.

However, I can see your heart and it is big and kind, and that’s what counts.”

Levin then paused and added, “You are also a soldier placing your life at risk for all of us in Israel.

Please drink tea with me – your ‘kippa’ is probably bigger than mine.”

There’s a not so subtle message there, for those who put barriers in the way of immigrant soldiers who want to convert.

Read the whole thing here, and join me in being grateful for the existence of people like Dov Lipman. Thank God.