Separation of temple and state (of Israel)
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish organization, says one of its most important tenets is that the United States should separate church and state. Yet, like most American Jewish organizations, it whores itself to whatever and whoever is in power in a foreign nation known as Israel--a nation that also calls itself "the Jewish State."
Worse, too many temples in the US operate as if they were merely adjuncts of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a registered lobbyist organization for the state of Israel. I have seen this occur at every temple, east coast and west coast, in which I have belonged. For example, at every Yom Kippur service every fall in nearly every temple, there is an "Israel Bonds" speaker relaying the latest "information" that comes from a world view straight out of AIPAC--and telling us we're not good Jews if we don't give money to the government of Israel.
I bring this up because it is well past the time for American Jews, especially those of us who belong to temples, to stop the lockstep support of whatever actions the government of Israel decides to undertake.
While I bring this up following the arrest of the nutcase (bipolar and not on enough medication), who shot people at a Jewish Federation Community Center in Seattle because he was confused between American Jews and the government leaders in Israel, I really bring this up because, too often, Jewish leaders in temples across the US act like there is no difference.
In the long term, and maybe now the short term, I strongly believe it is better for Judaism, as a religion, to separate itself from the actions of a foreign country that was set up largely by athiests or agnostics in the first fifty years of the 20th Century.
Some may ask: Why is it relevant to speak about atheists or agnostics who ushered in the creation of Israel? Because, according to Jewish rabbinic law, it is the messiah who will be the one to return the Jews to Israel and, at the same time, usher in peace on Earth. Last time I checked, Ben Gurion, often identified as an atheist, was not the Messiah. Plus, there hasn't been much peace that I've seen since Israel came into existence, especially not there.
So I implore my fellow Jews: It is time to begin the separation of temple from the state of Israel. Temples must not march in lock step behind whatever government is in power in Israel. Leave the non-stop politicizing for Israel to AIPAC. Jews in temples are better off studying and teaching the Talmud and the importance of critical thinking in our religious beliefs, which is the best reason to be or remain Jewish--something the sometimes inhumane Alan Dershowitz recognized in one of his best books ever.
Addendum: Please read this article about a Christian pastor questioning whether it is a good idea to attach Jesus to Karl Rove and the GOP slime machine, and overemphasize anti-homosexuality and anti-abortion positions to the detriment of other aspects of Christian philosophy. This strikes me as analogous to my point made above: Mainly defining Judaism, in deeds as well as thoughts, by support for a foreign nation (Israel) undermines Judaism and will eventually help lead to anti-Semitism against Jews (and a belief that "Jews" have a "dual loyalty" that is less than fully American), something that most of us want to avoid.