April 10, 2005

Anti-zionist Reform Rabbi

This is an article in another JC. The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. It's about a Reform Rabbi, Wolfgang Hamburger, who rejects zionism partly on the basis of his own personal experience, which includes being a board member of the anti-zionist American Council on Judaism
"Zionism? It's wonderful... But not for everybody."
"I don't understand opposition to Israel from a Reform perspective. This isn't like the Orthodox, who oppose a secular state. What is the harm in Zionism?"
"None, but I didn't feel like being a Zionist."
"Why? Is there any religious aspect of it for you?
"No. Zionism may have religious aspects, but for me there were all kinds of 'interesting' rules. You know these rules - the body must be buried facing the right direction so the soul shouldn't get lost along the way..." He waved his hand dismissively.
"People equate all Jews with Israelis. Sometimes my Gentile friends want me to defend, say, Sharon's policies. As if I had a vote."...

"My personal feeling was, this was long ago, that Jews should be at home wherever they lived. I thought Judaism, as a religion, could be transportable. It could be the spiritual home for Jews wherever they wanted to be."
"Rather be than tied to a specific set of borders?"
In the intro to the article Rabbi Hamburger's delivery is likened to a borsch belt comedian. See him say "Zionism. It's wonderful!" Who said Americans can't do irony?

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