Even Though We Have Sinned
October 13, 1997 - Professor Jack Wertheimer, Provost, Jewish Theological Seminary
A recurring theme of Jewish Prayers in the just-completed penitential
season is our pleas that God not abandon us even though we have sinned
(al taazvenu). Jews in turn are enjoined to imitate God by acting with
In our own day, a Jew who has committed a crime has been abandoned by
key sectors of the Jewish leadership. Jonathan Pollard once again
celebrated the Jewish holiday season in a prison cell, serving a
disproportionately harsh and open-ended jail sentence.
Whereas Jewish religious leaders across the denominational spectrum have
forthrightly called for Pollard's release, the public policy arms of the
American Jewish community remain largely indifferent. The current
leadership of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish
Organizations, the voice of American Jewry on international matters,
appears unwilling to invest its prestige to press the governments of the
United States and Israel to work out a deal. Where is the compassion of
our American Jewish leaders?
Even more shamefully, the present government of Israel displays greater
indifference to Pollard than any of its predecessors. A government that
finds ways to strike deals to release Hamas terrorists in exchange for
its agents, cannot be bothered to negotiate the release of a Jew who,
however misguided, tried to save the Has the
government of Israel no sense of responsibility to a a man it was all
too eager to exploit?
It is high time that our Jewish leaders press for the release of
Jonathan Pollard. He has paid a steep price for his crimes.
continuing incarceration is a miscarriage of justice.
We demand of our leaders that they not abandon Jonathan Pollard.