Dear Friends,

The Palestinian Authority recently announced that it is increasing payments to terrorists and their families to more than $403 million this year. 7% of each P.A. budget must go to paying terrorists, or their families, if they are killed in the act. Terrorists who have been sentenced to three to five years in Israeli prisons receive the average income of a Palestinian, about $580 per month. The families of those who committed more severe crimes and were involved in killing Israelis receive five times that amount each month for the rest of their lives. What a horrible commentary upon a part of our world where there are so many who yearn for peace and coexistence among Israelis and Palestinians.

I learn of these figures, and I think of an episode of the Torah. We are told that Pinchas, who in his zeal for God, took it upon himself to attack and kill Zimri, together with his consort, Cozbi, the Midianite princess. It was Pinchas’ sense of “righteous indignation” against those who displayed immoral conduct among the Israelites that motivated his actions. For many of our sages, his actions were extreme and misguided.

Yes, our world is a threatened place today because of those who have misguided and zealous passions. We live in a world where there are so many brainwashed young people, prepared to die and to kill, for the evil cause that animates their being.

We Jews: let us cherish our religious heritage which places so much value upon thinking and questioning. For Judaism, “blind faith” in any cause is recognized as dangerous. For it is in our ability to think and reason and feel compassion that we are “created in the image of God.”

I hope you will join us this evening for our Membership BBQ at 6:30pm and then “Shabbat Under the Stars” at 7:30pm: our outdoor service held on our patio, weather permitting.