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Rabbi Mark Levin

I hope Congress passes the Iran treaty for one simple reason: I have seen absolutely no reasonable response to what happens after the agreement is rejected.

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We must speak out

Most rabbis will not speak about the Iran situation during the High Holidays. They are afraid of insulting part of their audience, which pays their salaries.

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Congressman Kevin Yoder

President Obama last week accused members of the Republican Caucus of “making common cause” with Iranian hard-liners. He stood by those remarks while appearing on this weekend’s Sunday shows. The president would rather bluster about Republicans acting hand-in-hand with those who chant “death to America” than acknowledge the dangerous facts about his nuclear agreement.

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The US Congress will vote on the Iran deal around Sept. 17, during the Ten Days of Awe that fall between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. That gives members of Congress and concerned citizens like us less than seven weeks to read the 159-page document, digest it and make a decision.

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Iran, the proposed destruction of Israel, Obama and Kerry

I applaud the K.C. Jewish Chronicle for publishing the articulate column by Mr. Ben Cohen (July 30, 2015). Mr. Cohen describes the Iran/Obama/Kerry “executive agreement” as a lousy, feeble deal. Among his points: why claim “24/7 continuous monitoring” when the Iranians have 24 days to approve inspections? Why take Qassan Solaimani, responsible for the death of American soldiers, off the sanctions list? Does it bother Team Obama that Iran’s Supreme Leader addressed a “Death to America” rally a day after the deal was announced?

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Don Goldman

When I planned a sabbatical in Israel, I was looking for a break from my real life. But I also wanted to do something in Israel that would let me go beyond being a tourist and experience just a bit of real Israeli life.  The core of my month-long sabbatical in Israel was spent volunteering at Mercaz Klass, helping low-income children learn English. This after-school program is a bit off the beaten track, only about 20-minute bus ride outside the German colony in Jerusalem, but very much outside the typical tourist’s journey.

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Ellen R. Portnoy

Our recent European adventure had the added delight that our daughter and her fiancé came with us for the cruise section of the trip. They live in Israel, so we do not see them very often. In fact we were looking forward to getting to know our future son-in-law a bit better.

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Victor Bergman

As I compare the prospects of congressional approval of the Iran nuclear accord versus disapproval of it, disapproval is the lesser evil, by far. I am guided by my belief that Iran will become a nuclear nation soon without the agreement, and in the next 10 years with the agreement. Either way we are going to be facing a nuclear Iran in the near future. Can Congress influence what Iran will look like? I believe so.

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The Iran deal currently in the news is one of the most significant issues to face Israel, but I will not be speaking about it on the High Holidays or Shabbat. Right now, this issue is dividing Jews throughout this country, and I believe that we need to work toward finding ways to come together to love and support Israel, and for this love and support to cross religious denominational and American political boundaries. While I have opinions on the Iran deal that I will share in this article, I also have great respect for those that disagree with me and a profound desire to create a sacred space at our synagogue that brings us together as much as possible.

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Lisa Schifman posed with an IDF soldier while visiting Israel last month.

During an exercise near the end of the recent Jewish Federation of North America’s Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission to Tbilisi, Georgia, and Israel, we were asked to select a photograph taken during the mission and describe why it was our “aha” moment. After looking through hundreds of photos taken on our journey, I carefully chose one of our group smiling and posing with young, handsome Israeli soldiers at Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza border.

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“Open Up the Iron Door” by Rabbi Avi Weiss. (Toby Press, April 2015)

When I lived in New York in 1960s and was active in Zionist circles, I recall being part of demonstrations and walks for Soviet Jewry. “Let My People Go” was the chant I remember most but “one, two, three, four, open up the iron door” was undoubtedly also part of our mantra. 

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Look differently at the Iran deal

According to a past article in the Atlantic written by Christopher Thornton, “A World Public Opinion poll found that 51 percent of Iranians hold a favorable opinion of Americans, a number consistent with other polls, meaning that Americans are more widely liked in Iran than anywhere else in the Middle East ... Many Iranians regard the American ideal, at least as they perceive it, as a symbol of all they want their own society to be — free, prosperous, ‘great’ — but isn’t.” 

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