04.02.2012 11.Schwat. 5772 Beschalach
Dror Bondi grew up on a settlement, demonstrated against Yitzhak Rabin and even thought of killing him. But after the assassination, he began searching for another way – and found it in the teachings of an American rabbi.
The Ein Prat Seminary is hidden in a mountainous desert landscape in the community of Allon, in the Judean Desert over the Green Line, north of the Jerusalem-Dead Sea highway. Young people – men and women, secular and religious – come here after their military service to study Bible, Talmud and Western philosophy. Here, in this scenic setting, Dror Bondi also introduces his pupils to the life and work of Abraham Joshua Heschel. In a side classroom, in conversation with Bondi – who calls himself "a Heschel disciple" – we plunge into Heschel's world of Warsaw and Berlin in the 1930s and his writings from New York in the 1950s and '60s. Then we jump to the Shavei Shomron settlement, where Dror Bondi grew up, never missing a demonstration against Yitzhak Rabin – until he was deeply shaken by the assassination. And now here we are, at the Ein Prat Seminary, in front of a group of twenty-somethings who are thirsty for knowledge that will remove the barriers dividing Israeli society.
Many American Jews consider Heschel a great theologian and one of the major Jewish philosophers of the 20th century, one who represents an open-minded Judaism combined with political activism and social involvement. He was one of the most prominent Jewish figures to support the civil rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, and to protest the Vietnam War. Heschel, whose mother and sisters were murdered by the Nazis, conducted a dialogue with the Christian world and took an active part in the meetings of the Second Vatican Council in 1963, where he delivered one of his most famous speeches ("No religion is an island" ) and helped bring about a revolution in the Church's attitude toward Judaism. The Council rejected the charge that Jews as a whole were responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus and called for a cessation of missionary activity to convert Jews. But this social activist and champion of interfaith dialogue, whose philosophy is so relevant in this country, is hardly known in Israel….