An Elegant Credo

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Profound and complex ideas do not the most memorable speeches make. In reaching the crowd, the speaker is better off framing simple, straightforward ideas in effective language. Think Gettysburg Address.

British Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks is at home with profundity and complexity. He also knows when to substitute simplicity, and burnish it with elegant expression. So if you are looking for a short statement of Israel’s goals and aspirations, particularly for those unfamiliar with her character, you may want to look at his beautifully articulated credo, offered at a London rally a week ago Sunday. A few snippets are offered herewith:

Friends, let me tell you what is wrong with terror. It is not just that it murders the
innocent: the young, the old, the defenceless, the uninvolved.
It is that it murders innocence itself.
It turns virtue into weakness, decency into vulnerability.
And if we, if Israel, if Europe, if America do not take a stand against terror,
if we ignore it as the world ignored it for so long,
then it will leave a stain on the human future that no tears, no regrets, will ever
remove.

And therefore let me end with simple words of prayer:
Ribbono shel olam: Be with your people Israel now.
Hear their cry
Heed their tears
Listen to this, our prayer on their behalf.
Grant peace to all your children, Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.
Help us live together, respecting one another.
Help us cherish life.
Help us to use the powers You gave us, to heal, to mend, to build.
We ask of You, Almighty God, just one thing:
You who make peace in high places,
Help us make peace down here on earth.

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  1. August 1, 2006

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