They Took My Sign!

Showed up to the temple on Sunday morning. No religious school, no meetings, no one else but those who were meeting me for our meeting. I pull into my spot and noticed, MY SIGN WAS GONE! Hello! It was clearly marked, “Reserved Rabbi.” Who would want a Rabbi sign?

Do you have any idea how long it took me to get my Reserved Rabbi sign?

11 years ago, after the shooting at the JCC in LA, the board decided that it would be best if we removed the titles of all those who have reserved parking spots. We all complied, but what did this mean? Anyone could assume that “reserved” meant reserved for them!

For 11 years, I would show up for events at the temple with great turn outs and there would be no space for me to park. And yes, sometimes I would double park behind the person who was in my spot

My favorite were those who would park in my spot and the only event going on at the temple was an Introduction to Judaism class. Sorry folks, but you have some work to do before you get my Rabbi spot. 🙂

A little over a year ago, I asked Elias to finally put my title back on the sign. His response, ‘but what about the security concern.’

My answer, ‘If someone really wants to target my car, they’re going to know which car is mine! Put the “Rabbi” back on!’

I’ve had my spot and now, someone took it!

Monday morning, the fabulous Jill started scouring the video records from the weekend and guess what…we caught him!

Turns out that it was two college looking kids. One walked around the campus looking for an open door to make sure that no one was there. Then, when he knew it was all clear, he took the sign off the post and climbed into his friend’s black SUV. The conversation inside must have gone like this:
“hey, get the post dude!”

The two climbed out of the car, got the post and put it in the back of the car. BTW, they wrapped the dirty bottom in a blanket to make sure they didn’t get any mud in the car!

The crazy thing, they did this all at 5:30 in the afternoon, bright day light!

My sign is probably hanging in some kid’s dorm room. Don’t know that it’s going to get him any good parking spots, but maybe it will get him the girl.
As for my spot – it’s still bare and I’m just waiting to show up for the next big event at the temple tonight and find that I don’t have a place to park. If you’re in my spot when I get there, don’t be surprised if you go out to your car and find you can’t leave because I’m parked behind you. Just let me know when you’re ready to leave.

Freedom of Speech or Intimidation

Monday night the Orange County Community had the opportunity to hear Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren speak about the Israel Palestinian conflict. This was an opportunity for dialogue to discuss the challenges in Israel at this time, especially in the wake of Israel’s response to the Goldstone report. (more info at http://www.jta.org )

Ambassador Oren was speaking at UCI, which is known for it’s “Week of Hate” sponsored by the Muslim Student Union. These weeks of hate include MSU students being overly confrontational toward UCI students, namely Jewish students. There have been discussions with Chancellor Drake during which he describes that we must allow for freedom of speech on campus while maintaining a level of respect for differing views. However, this has been challenged in the past and it was disturbingly apparent Monday night. ( http://www.ocregister.com/video/?videoId=65670603001&lineupId=1125901233&play=now )

When does free speech cross the line? At what point does the University take a stand and say, enough is enough. Expressing one’s views has to also be tempered with listening and entering into a dialogue. The MSU students from both UCI and Riverside crossed the line of descent conduct. From the video posted by the Register and accounts from those in the Jewish community, Monday night’s disruption was not meant to engage in dialogue, but rather insight hate.

It is time for UCI to take a stand. While academic free speech may encourage challenging programs, outright disrespect and disruptions like what took place at Ambassador Oren’s presentation crosses a line. If we truly wish to engage in a dialogue toward peace, then we have to listen to one another and actually dialogue. Shouting insults and even rude hand jestures exchanged Monday night does nothing to promote free speech. It is embarassing for not only UCI, but for all of us when such a dignitary comes to our community and has to waste 30 minutes for a crowd to come under control.

To Ambassador Oren’s credit, he stayed, finished his talk and expressed his disappointment that the MSU students could not have the patience to enter into a conversation.

Where is the line of freedom of speech and hate speech? I believe it was crossed Monday night and now we must stand up and say enough and not be afraid to confront those who only know how to speak hate.