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In ‘Return of the Babel Fable,’ where’s Israel’s voice?

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26.10.2020

This post is dedicated to Emeritus Chief Rabbi Johnathan Sacks and his refuah shlemah from current illness. Johnathan, I hope you like it.

“Have you reserved?”

“No!”

I was prepared to do anything.

Take my trousers down. Stand on one leg and recite the shema.

Anything to get past security and into the shul.

It was Erev Shabbat/Shemini Atzeret. Running too late for my own shul (synagogue), I decided to try the Chabad (Lubavitch) shul near my house.

“I’ll have to ask the Rabbi,” says the guard.

He returns. “The Rabbi says, do you know anyone davening (praying) here?”

“Johnny Walker”

Big grin! He opens the gate.

Would I have got the same response if I’d said “Glen Fiddich”?

After Tefilah (prayer), I thank the Chabad Rav.

He points to the mask I am wearing (bright red, with yellow letters saying ‘STOP UYGHUR GENOCIDE’ and rasps, “Very good work you’re doing! Very important to us all!”, waving his hand round the shul.

My! How things change. A year ago, I felt only a few of us knew about the Uyghurs’ persecution in China. Now, it’s mainstream news, with legal cases, motions in parliament and a burgeoning campaign movement.

However, it was the rabbi’s use of the words “very important to us all” that struck me. Perhaps one reason he described it so lies in this shabbat’s puzzling tale of the Tower of Babel. A group of people in........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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