Israel Forever

For the week ending 6 June 2009 / 13 Sivan 5769

When Jews Work Together

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
"When Jews are in trouble they work together. It's admirable."

This is how Philip Carmel, the international relations director of the Conference of European Rabbis, described the joint effort being made by rabbis in the countries belonging to the European Union to prevent passage of a bill by that body which would threaten shechita in those countries.

Coming up in June before the EU's Council of Ministers is legislation seeking to ensure "more humane treatment" for animals, which would force cattle breeders to stun the animals before slaughter, an act forbidden by Halacha.

Although there has been a mixed reaction from governments of European states to the efforts of the rabbis to amend the proposed bill, it is encouraging to see the unity of the effort being made to influence them.

The Torah portion of this week describes sad situations of disunity that led to bitter complaints and tragic consequences. The lesson to be learned in Israel both from the Torah and from the above-described efforts is that there is no need for Jews to wait for trouble before working together to secure Israel forever.

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