Friday, May 29, 2020 -
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Reeling: This was the week that was

A “slow news week,” this surely was not.

As if the High Park fire that began three weeks ago in the Fort Collins area were not enough . . .

Colorado is ablaze with fire, panic, homes destroyed and highways full of escapees — with destruction the likes of which Coloradans have never seen before. Colorado is ablaze with the furies of nature from Colorado Springs to Boulder to northern Colorado to Last Chance to the “smaller” fires that, in a less incendiary summer, would more than merit our focus.

As if the scorching heat in Colorado were not enough . . .

Extreme discomfort is the least of the suffering in record-breaking 105º heat, day after day, that causes far worse than discomfort: heat exhaustion, illness, not to mention sluggishness and gloom.

As if the fire and the heat in Colorado were not enough . . .

This week, of all weeks, Israel releases its report on the failings that led to its disastrous Carmel Forest Fire in Israel in December, 2010, the fire that destroyed not only trees and homes but 44 firefighters, including the beloved Rabbi Uriel Malka, whose imprint in Denver will not soon be forgotten.

As if the election of a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt were not enough . . .

It is hardly the fires alone that ignite our concern. Sworn enemy of the Jewish state, inspiration of Hamas and all Palestinian terrorists, the Muslim Brotherhood is the mother of modern, radical Islam. Its head is now Egypt’s head, at least in theory. Time will tell how much power the new Egyptian president will actually wield, as over against the Egyptian military. Still, the Egypt-Israel peace is at risk; memories of the colossal wars Egypt launched against Israel reawaken.

As if the visit of the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin to Israel were not enough . . .

Putin, who is propping up the murderous Syrian regime, which is still in a state of war with Israel; Putin, an opponent of more serious action against Iran’s nuclear program; Putin, who is a dictator in all but name in the supposedly post-dictator, democratic Russia —— Putin visits Israel. This is clearly a potentially positive move for Israel. And clearly, with Israel’s dedication of a memorial to the Russian soldiers who fell in WW II to defeat Nazism, Israel is doing its best to sustain its link with the origin of its largest immigrant group, and with a country whose goodwill it needs: Russia.

As if the Supreme Court’s bombshell on immigration this week were not enough . . .

Developments this week not only in Colorado and abroad sent us reeling. In the form of the Supreme Court, the federal government — which does nothing on immigration reform — tells Arizona not to pass laws on immigration reform. It is considered controversial that the court tells Arizona that it is lawful, under certain conditions, to check whether people within its borders are in the country unlawfully.

As if the bombshell of one of Denver’s largest synagogues, HEA, were not enough . . .

Over the course of its history the HEA has switched from being a modern Orthodox to a Traditional to a Conservative synagogue, and now the HEA has disaffiliated from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The HEA says that the services that the United Synagogue provided were not commensurate to the dues the HEA paid, but that the HEA will remain Conservative. The last disaffiliation from the United Synagogue in Denver was that of the BMH, in 1956, for different reasons. What’s ahead for Conservative Judaism nationally? Stay tuned.

As if the Fourth of July were not enough . . .

A free people cares when its citizens are in harm’s way, and does not, like dictators throughout history, stand by indifferently when they suffer. A free people engages in a true change of government, unlike in Russia. A free people is ruled by law, whether that law is popular or not, whether it will be subject to judicial or legislative revision or not. This week, amidst the suffering, the worries and the changes, we are right and ripe to celebrate the one nation that gave the world its greatest freedoms.

As if reeling were enough . . .

Surely this week requires more than a recital of woes, worries and surprises. Please give to the Colorado Fire Relief Fund, opened by the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado. And please pray for our fellow citizens, for if ever proof were needed that life is beyond human power, it is these fires.

Copyright © 2012 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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Rabbi Hillel Goldberg
Editor & Publisher

Shana R. Goldberg
Assistant Publisher