When we were out town last month, I was on a news-fast. No local news, no cable news (that was easy, there were no TVs where we were staying), no opening any of the news reviews or summaries that arrived in my email.  (It is striking how today's 
must read now often loses importance in just a few hours.) That was last week, not the past few days. With the news that's been coming in frankly, I'm more than a bit worried. With good reason: the world situation is scary. The tension hasn't been this bad since the Cuban Missile crisis. (I remember standing on the lawn with my classmates at Maryland School in Clayton, Missouri commiserating about that situation.)

I'm concerned by the sanction tit-for-tat with the Russians, but that's rather standard diplomatic activity. With the newly passed legislation, input and controls for that situation are in place. Things may worsen, but at least there's critical mass (yes, chosen deliberately) involved.

But the saber-rattling of missile test launches with Korea has me more than a bit on edge. Do the leaders on both sides of that stand-off appreciate the "what could happen if either side blinks or hits the wrong button?"  Yes, the United States needs to protect our nation and our allies, but is  Macho Man the song we should be singing?  Bullying and threats have not worked up until this point.  Do we really think they will now? I would much prefer singing  Sim Shalom, the prayer for peace, as our anthem together with taking actions towards peace.

It's a matter of life and death.

"Who shall live and who shall die" is the basis of our Pause Button discussion this Shabbat morning as we continue looking at selections from our new Mahzor before the High Holy Days. We'll review the text, the commentaries and review the melody we sing at services. We hope you'll join us.

Rabbi Paul Drazen
(315) 445 - 0002 x121
450 Kimber Road
Syracuse, NY 13224
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