Monday, September 13, 2010

Burning Candles Not Korans

On Rosh Hashannah I heard from a Shabbat guest about Pastor Terry Jones plan to burn a copy of the Koran.  Thinking about this today I remembered another incident of Koran burning that explains one of the reasons why I decided to decided to change careers and move my family across the world.  Last Chanukah, a group of Jewish extremists vandalized a mosque in the Arab village of Yusuf.  There, they burned a number of Korans.  A group of Rabbis decided to speak out against this.  They even went to the outskirts of the village to deliver new Korans to replace the burned ones (click here to read the story on ynet). One of these Rabbis was Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, Rosh Yeshiva at Maale Gilboa. 

Picture of R. Yehuda Gilad
from the ynet article
Rav Gilad is no supporter of Islamic extremism.  In fact, our Yeshiva is made up of students who combine their Torah learning with service in the IDF.  They are on the front lines against Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the like.  Yet one of the messages of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa is that we must strive to maintain our humanism even in the face of the indiscriminate violence that some perpetrate in the name of Islam.  Burning other's holy books is not part of the war on terror. This message of balancing between the right of self defence on the one hand and recognizing the divine spark in all humanity and the sanctity of other traditions on the other is to my mind of the utmost importance at this time.  I feel so privileged to be part of an institution that teaches this very message day in and day out to people directly involved in this deadly conflict...


  1. Nice. I remember this incident, and the Rabbis who visited the village. I didn't realize that Rav Gilad was one of the Rabbis. You pick good people to hang out with! ;)