By Kathe Pinchuck, AJL Reviews
Rabbi Dov Lipman was elected to the Israeli Knesset in 2013 on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party ticket. The party won a surprising 19 seats in the Knesset, with its representatives coming from diverse backgrounds, both in religious affiliation and culture. Since then, Rabbi Lipman has been active and vocal in addressing many issues, particularly those where religious and secular society clash—mandatory military or national service for all Israeli citizens, the role of women in Israeli society, marriage laws. Lipman argues that the greatest threat to the future of the Jewish people is the “abandonment of core Jewish values and ideals which include loving-kindness, respecting others, and not doing onto others what you don’t want done to yourself.”
This short volume is a personal manifesto that includes experiences that influenced Rabbi Lipman’s world view as well as observations on current Israeli events. Because of the nature of the essays, most references are not sourced in detail. While Rabbi Lipman does not shy away from some of today’s pressing issues, including African migrants and women wearing tallit (prayer shawl) and praying at the Kotel (the Western Wall), most of these matters have been festering for years and will not be solved quickly, even with a return to core Jewish values. He has had success in confronting local extremists and focusing on common ideals in Bet Shemesh. It will be interesting to see which aspects of Rabbi Lipman’s vision will be implemented and when during his promising political career. The book is a good choice for libraries whose patrons are interested in the history of modern Israel and its complicated politics.
This excerpt is from the Association of Jewish Libraries .
By Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
MK Rabbi Dov Lipman has an amazing story. He was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, became a rabbi and educator, made Aliyah, and became the first American-born Knesset member in decades. Even more remarkable, he has quickly become a symbol for bridge building. In his early 40s, he represents a broad vision for what Israel could be.
His new book, To Unify a Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel is a must read for all concerned with the future of Israel. Less than 100 pages, the book can be read in just an hour or two. Significantly, President Shimon Peres wrote the opening statement, and Yesh Atid party founder Yair Lapid wrote the Foreword.
While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people” (16). In fact, it was on the streets of Bet Shemesh that he emerged in Israeli leadership. Many Israelis were horrified in 2011 when an 8-year-old Modern Orthodox girl was called a “whore” and spat upon while she walked to school, allegedly because her dress was not modest enough for the ultra-Orthodox. The terrified girl said that she was “so scared…that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting.” Rabbi Lipman stood up to protect the girls against the abuse. Rabbi Lipman also speaks out against religious coercion in Israel, seeks to build bridges between the religious and secular, advocates for the Ethiopian community and for the African refuges, seeks to transition the ultra-Orthodox into the army and workforce, advocates for vegetarianism and animal welfare, speaks out against corruption, argues for women’s rights, a pluralistic society. Continue reading “One Rabbi’s Take on Israel” →
by TJC staff
Two members of Knesset — Israeli Parliament — discuss their new books in English on TJC’s episode of Up Close.
First, MK Ruth Calderon, a secular Israeli who is also a Talmud scholar, talks about the new English translation of her book A Bride For One Night: Talmud Tales, in which she writes fictional accounts of some of the Talmud’s most provocative stories from her own unique perspective.
Then, MK Rabbi Dov Lipman, a fellow member of Calderon’s Yesh Atid party who originally hails from the United States and considers himself haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, discusses his new book, To Unify a Nation: My Vision for the Future of Israel. Lipman has made a goal of bringing the more extreme sectors of the haredi community back to the center though education and career opportunities.
To watch highlights from the interview click here.
To listen to the full interview click here.