When Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt speaks around the country about the Zionist Rabbinic Coalition, which he chairs, people often tell him, “I thought all rabbis are Zionists.”
“The landscape of the American Jewish community and of the American rabbinate is changing, and the changes are coming rapidly,” Weinblatt said on Monday, welcoming attendees to the three-day, Zionist Rabbinic Coalition convention in Washington, D.C.
“Who would have ever imagined during any of Israel’s previous wars that would-be rabbis would have the chutzpah to publicly circulate a letter condemning Israel for taking actions to defend its citizens,” he said.
Too many colleagues prioritize ethical and social justice issues while “they minimize our responsibility to promote Jewish peoplehood,” according to Weinblatt.
Particularly in divisive political times, in Israel and stateside, “Rabbis must rise to the occasion and offer leadership and show the way forward,” Weinblatt said. “As is our pattern, we look for answers, guidance and precedence in Jewish history and in our sacred sources.”
Among the speakers at the conference are Michael Herzog, Israeli ambassador in Washington; Shelley Greenspan, White House liaison to the Jewish community; Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, a senior scholar and university professor of Jewish history and thought at Yeshiva University; Mark Waldman, national political director of AIPAC; and Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.
Bard’s talk was titled “How to speak to a generation that doesn’t see Israel in peril, that has a TikTok attention span and has little interest or knowledge of Israel.”