As a rabbi, Art Donsky finds that blogging offers the best of two worlds.
“One thing a rabbi does is talk a lot,” the spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom in the North Hills said. “We also write a lot.”
So why not keep a blog? (That’s an online journal for those of you who are not Internet savvy.)
Donsky is into the third week of his new blog, “Know Justice Know Peace” (ravart.wordpress.com), a blog devoted to supporting a two-state solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The blog contains Donsky’s own writings, thoughts from other like-minded people, links to a broad array of Jewish Web sites, including some that may not agree with his point of view and excerpts for those Web sites.
Donsky is one of a growing number of rabbis who have taken to blogging as a way to express their thoughts and viewpoints to a wider audience than just their congregations.
“I wanted to educate people about this long-term ongoing conflict,” he said of the Israeli-Palestinian standoff. “I felt one reason for supporting [President Barack] Obama was he was one of the first presidents in many years who would be an honest broker and put pressure on both sides to come to the table and listen to each other’s narrative and sit down and put an end to this conflict that has cost too many lives.”
Here are a few excerpts from the blog:
• “The peace movement, here and in Israel, is very much alive. M.J. Rosenberg, from the Israel Policy Forum, reminds us that we have made a difference even during the lean years and our time is at hand,” (Donsky, Feb. 22 entry).
• “The recent elections in both the United States and Israel have exposed a deep and potentially catastrophic schism between the world’s two pre-eminent Jewish communities. By voting disproportionately for their country’s first African-American president, America’s Jews maintained their traditional prominence in helping the U.S. overcome its racist past, part of its arduous journey to realize the vision of its founding fathers. In contrast, Israel’s 80-percent Jewish majority has just voted in unprecedented numbers for several overtly — even proudly — racist political parties, whose campaigns incited against Israel’s 1.2 million Arab citizens” (Mike Prashker, Feb. 21 entry).
• A national coalition of mainstream churches advocating for U.S. engagement in Israeli-Palestinian talks garnered 17,000 signatures on a letter to President Obama (An excerpt from a JTA story, Feb. 19 entry).
While Donsky’s blog links to a variety of different Web sites and other bloggers, he unabashedly states that his blog takes a pro-peace stance.
“I have a position,” he said. “I happen to think in many parts of America, the majority of American Jews want an end to the conflict and a majority of Israelis and Palestinians want an end to the conflict. Palestinians want a state and a majority of Israelis want the Palestinians to have a state.”
He thinks American Jews will read and learn things at his blog that they may not find in the secular media or even the Jewish press.
For instance, he links to Web sites of Palestinian groups that also advocate a two–state solution, such as the American Task Force on Palestine. He also links to Americans for Peace Now, the Middle East Peace Forum, J Street (a liberal pro-Israel PAC), B’Tselem (an Israel-based human rights organization) and Brit Tzedek v’Shalom-Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace — to name just a few.
(Donsky also mentioned that he and other Jews in Pittsburgh would be holding an organizational meeting for a new Pittsburgh chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom in a matter of weeks.)
Even though the Temple Ohav Shalom Web site contains a link to Donsky’s blog, the rabbi said his newest venture is completely independent of his
Donsky favors a two-state solution, he said because it protects the Jewish identity of Israel, he said.
“There are Palestinian Web sites that call for a one-state solution,” he said. “It’s not something I support. It means a binational state, which means in 10 years time the majority of people in that state are Palestinians — it would no longer be a Jewish state.”
“There is a time limit,” he added. “I want to maintain Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)