Since my wife is in Argentina and my brother is in Jerusalem, I got to visit my dad in Atlantic Beach for Shabbat.
Rabbi Steven Riskin spoke at the ABJC and I only got to hear the end of his derasha. He used the word "tragic" about four or five times to describe the contemporary situation in Israel.
I cornered him at the kiddush and spoke to him about my take on his bringing a distorted and negative message to the good diaspora materialistic Jews of the ABJC.
Look, I said. The optimist say the glass is half-full and the pessimist says the glass is half-empty.
And yet here, even when the glass is 95% full, the Orthodox rabbi says that the situation in Israel is "tragic." What gives?
I told him, in fact the situation in Israel today is unbelievably not tragic! I told him, "I respect you and I like you and I think that YOU ARE WRONG."
His response was that he must report what he sees and what he believes.
I told him no, that he most certainly does not have to do that. And then I went back to eat lunch with my dad.
They have a full lunch at the ABJC every Shabbat. Now, okay, this is just lunch. There are no waiters serving martinis at the kiddush here. For those, I am told that you have to go shul in Westhampton Beach.
Poor Riskin. He has become an Orthodox Jewish apocalyptic fanatic.
One fanatic. No martinis. The food was good, and such large portions!