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July 27, 2015 2:48 pm

When Synagogue Talk Goes Nuclear, Part 2

avatar by Jacob Kamaras / JNS.org

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Should pulpit rabbis publicly comment about the Iran nuclear deal in synagogue? Photo: Nanking2012 via Wikimedia Commons.

Should pulpit rabbis publicly comment about the Iran nuclear deal in synagogue? Photo: Nanking2012 via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – My colleagues Sean Savage and Alina Dain Sharon have been asking pulpit rabbis around America about the dilemma of whether or not they should publicly comment about the Iran nuclear deal in synagogue, and if the answer is yes, how they should frame their remarks. The resulting story can be read here.

Alas, one rabbi’s perspective came in after we had already filed the article, but is still worth mentioning. Rabbi David Lyon, the leader of Congregation Beth Israel in Houston, offers the following take on this hot-button issue for local communities:

“Rabbis have an obligation to talk about Iran in their sermons. But, we have a double-burden. We carry in our heads and hearts a passion for the Jewish people and Israel. This is little different than the passions of other Jews and supporters of Israel, including political pundits and politicians. However, we also carry the unique duty to convey what is in our heads and hearts with deft skill to focus our communities’ responses around central Jewish tenets and hopes. There is no black and white in most matters, even the Iran deal; therefore, our burden is to use religion as we’ve been taught to do and find meaning in the gray areas so we might work together for a future no one can predict, but we all have the responsibility to build. No one will envy the rabbis as they take their places on the pulpit this High Holiday season.”

Indeed, I don’t envy the pulpit rabbis who are in this predicament!

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