According to Ha’aretz, Richard Goldstone has come to an agreement with some activists in South Africa to stay away from his grandson’s upcoming bar mitzvah celebration.

“We understand there’s a bar mitzvah boy involved – we’re very sensitive to the issues; at this stage there’s nothing further to say,” the Writing Rights blog quoted the SAZF (South African Zionist Federation) chairman Avrom Krenge as saying.” The Zionist federation was “coming across most forcefully because we represent Israel,” the blog quoted Krenge as saying.

The head of South Africa’s Beth Din – or Jewish religious court – told the blog the court had not been officially involved in the matter, but that he supported the move as it spoke to the sentiments of many in the community and could prevent potential “unpleasantness.”

“I know that there was a very strong feeling in the shul, a lot of anger,” the blog quoted Rosh Beth Din Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag as saying. “I heard also that the SAZF wanted to organize a protest outside the shul [there were] all kinds of plans. But I think reason prevailed.”

Well, reason prevails at Jewlicious as well. I can’t speak for all of our writers, but I know there are a few of us who strongly disagreed with Goldstone’s report, its conclusions, the foundations of its conclusions and the fact that he took on the role of shepherding this report in the first place. And yet, Jewlicious will take a markedly different approach to Goldstone’s grandson’s bar mitzvah.

In some ways, I understand the desire to punish him. Goldstone has caused Israel severe harm and may well have put Israeli soldiers at risk in future wars as they now have a virtually impossible task fighting wars according to doctrines in the Goldstone Report that make warfare virtually impossible in the conditions prevalent on two of Israel’s borders.

However, this “punishment” of preventing Goldstone from participating in his family’s simcha is shameful. It hurts not only him, but it also hurts his grandson and the grandson’s parents. Essentially, for political motives, a group of activists has hijacked a family celebration and ensured that no matter the outcome – whether Goldstone attends or not – the day has been tarnished. No matter what, the absence of the grandfather will loom large that day.

Now, I’m not a torah scholar, but I’m pretty sure there’s a verse in our Torah that reads something like, “Lo tisa avon avot al banim, al shileshim v’al ribeim.” I’m sure that’s not the exact quote, so I’m now also going to paraphrase its translation: “You shall not place the father’s sin upon his sons, grandsons or great grandsons.” I’m pretty sure the verse doesn’t mean to imply that you can go crazy on the great-great grandsons but rather THAT YOU LEAVE THE GRANDSON ALONE ON HIS BAR MITZVAH DAY AND LET HIM COME INTO OUR TRADITIONS IN A WAY THAT WILL MAKE HIM WANT TO BE A PART OF OUR COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE.

I can’t fix what some idiot pro-Israel advocates are doing to Goldstone in Johannesburg. What I can do, however, is let him know that he is welcome here. Yes, we disagree with his views, but he remains part of our community and more importantly, his children and grandchildren most certainly are part of our community and deserve to be treated respectfully. As such, Judge Goldstone has an open invitation to post a post on Jewlicious without any reservation and about whatever topic he would like to cover.

If I may, I would suggest a congratulatory bar mitzvah message to his grandson – we tend to achieve fairly high Google rankings on many topics and if you word it correctly or write his name, he may get a kick out of seeing Jewlicious as a first page result for his name. If, however, a different topic winks at Judge Goldstone, the floor is his.

This is a serious offer. I can be reached at themiddle@jewlicious.com or the founder of this blog, David Abitbol, is reachable at jewlicious@gmail.com.

Even if Goldstone declines to take me up on this offer, he should know that some of us feel strongly that while he’s a prominent person and can defend himself, attacking his family is unacceptable and those who do so are not speaking for those of us who are critical of the Report.

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themiddle

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