Rabbi in the Community

BDS Legislation in the Ireland’s Government: A Visit with the Irish Consul General in NY  2/11/19

This morning I joined four of my colleagues in a meeting with Ciaran Madden, the NY Consul General of Ireland.

The Irish government is considering legislation is support of the BDS Movement.  Our objective was to express concern for this decision.

As we learned, Ireland’s ruling party is opposed to the legislation. Aside from the political considerations, BDS legislation would have an adverse affect on Ireland’s economy for a variety of reasons.  The major support for BDS is coming from strong opposition forces within the Irish legislature.

To this point, the pro BDS legislation has passed through two branches on Ireland’s government.  The legislation is not immanent but it is a cause for concern.

We Rabbis reminded the CG that although many Jews-both here in and in Israel-favor a two-state solution, we stand much more united in our fight against BDS throughout the world.  As long as Israel alone, is singled out for condemnation (while the world is silent about Syria, China and so many other nations), any anti-BDS legislation represents an act of Antisemitism and not merely a valid of Israel.

Our next step is to bring non Jewish clergy and Irish-American business leaders into the discussion.










Rabbi Klayman’ s January activities:

  • January 13:  Participation (and speaking) at the Great Neck, community-wide commemoration for Dr. King, at St. Paul AME Zion Church.
  • January 27: Participation in the Great Neck Chinese New Year Celebration at North Middle School.  Rabbi Klayman was asked to tape a New Year’s Greeting for a video of the celebration, being prepared by the largest Chinese TV station in New York.


Rabbi Klayman on Local TV:

Rabbi’s Note:  In response to increased diversity within the town of Great Neck, I have been developing a local TV program to discuss issues of diversity. 

Great Neck is now home to a variety of cultures; with an increasing number of citizens from Asia. 

My vision was to bring together representatives of  different cultures for a friendly dialogue, which would be available on TV and in the social media. 

I am thrilled that the first such forum (of what I hope will be several) will be aired on PATV (channel 20 in North Hempstead Tuesday, The initial airing takes place on January 8, at 5:30 pm.  This first program brings together representatives from the Jewish (that is me, as moderator) Iranian, Chinese and African American sub-communities in our area.  The hour long discussion is intended to introduce some of our unique characteristics as well as our commonalities. In order to help create a long term, respectful dialogue, this first program does not address controversial subjects.  Hopefully, we can address more controversial themes in the future.  For pragmatic reasons, we limited the initial effort to four participants; with the hope that future programs will address matters of culture, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

We taped the program in mid December; it will be repeated several times on air…

The PATV Facebook page should have a link, which will enable anyone to view the program via computer or electronic devices. 


Other community activities:

On Saturday night, December I delivered an opening invocation at the Great Neck Fire Alert Company annual banquet.  The company has served our greater community for many decades. Here is the text from my invocation:

 I would like to share a parable:

Many years ago, before fire engines, alarms or brigades, there was a town in which everyone responded to a sudden fire.  The townspeople immediately left work and rushed to assist. They would form a human chain between the fire and the nearest well, and pass on buckets of water to put out the fire.

One time, a young person from a nearby village came to spend a night at the town inn. He heard a bugle sound in the distance and asked the innkeeper what the sound represented. 

Whenever we have a fire, the innkeeper explained, we sound the bugle, and the fire is quickly put out.

How wonderful! thought the young man.  When I return home, I will share this practice with my own village!

The following week he bought a bugle and explained to the members of the village how the process works.  Whenever a fire breaks out, one just needs to sound the bugle and all will be well.  Let me show you how this works.

He ran to the nearest hut and set fire to its straw roof. The fire began to spread very quickly.

Do not be alarmed, my friends, the bugle sound will suppress the fire…

As He sounded the bugle, the fire only intensified and spread to other homes. 

The villagers quickly came together and with enormous effort put out the fire; with limited damage. 

After the fire was put out the villagers admonished the young man: Did you think merely sounding a bugle would make a fire subside? The bugle is only an alarm. It alerts us to come quickly from work and home in order to draw water and put out the fire. A bugle sounds the alarm, but it is then for us to respond and insure the safety of our community.

Today, technology enables us to more rapidly and efficiently sound a fire alarm; alerting people to a potential danger.  Television and other forms of media can disclose a danger zone, enabling people to escape from a specific area.  However, today as in the past, when a fire erupts, we owe our support and gratitude to the men and women who respond to the alarm. They are the men and women who conscientiously and courageously step forward; risking danger to save lives and to insure our safety.

I believe that the bugle in that parable represents an alarm to all of us: About doing everything within our human power to prevent avoidable fires.  Yet, when danger presents itself, we pray for those stepping forward to protect us.  We offer gratitude to all the generous donors, who provide the equipment and apparatus for combatting fires.  And, we certainly prayer for all who literally stand in the line of fire and insure the safety of our Great Neck community.  We say to them in Hebrew:  Hizku v’eemtzu, continue to be strong, courageous and conscientious in making our lives more secure…