Jewish Perspectives on the Iraq War

On Wednesday, April 9, at 7pm, the Social Action Committees of Temple Society of Concord and Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas will present a panel discussion on the Iraq War titled “Multiple Perspectives on the Iraq War.” This will be the second program in a series looking at Jewish views on warfare in general and the Iraq War in particular.

For this event, the organizers have sought to assemble a panel that can offer both varied and balanced informed opinions on the war and engage members of the audience in discussion. The participants will include Capt. Michael Milliron, Rabbi Daniel Jezer, Professor John Burdick, and Lt.Col. Bruce Fein. Efforts are still underway to possibly include one additional Iraq War veteran.

The moderator for the panel program will be Jim Brulé, Rabbinic Aide at TSOC, who, when asked to explain the program, said, “This will be an opportunity to take the laws we learned about in the first program (Rabbi David Levy’s thought-provoking March 12 presentation), and apply them to the current conflict in Iraq. We will seek out what is relevant to Halacha (religious law) from a sufficiently diverse set of informed sources so as to be able to have a measured application of Halacha to the conflict.”

Brulé also anticipates “that the audience will be drawn into a dialogue with our guest panelists that will be explicitly Jewish in nature as we try to understand what ‘facts’ about the conflict there are that will shed light on its Halachic status.”

Brulé is an aspiring Maggid, or inspirational storyteller. He has a long history of moderating and facilitating dialogue and debate, including serving on the executive committee of SAMED, the Syracuse Area Middle East Dialogue Group. He has served on a variety of Jewish and secular boards of trustees and is currently the Chief Information Officer for North Medical, PC.

The evening’s panelists include Capt. Michael Milliron, who has served in numerous command and staff positions over his 16 years of service. He enlisted into active duty in 1988 and in 1996 he received an ROTC commission in the Air Defense Artillery Corps. Milliron has served with the 11th Air Defense Brigade at Fort Bliss, TX, the 2nd Armored Division in Germany, the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS, and the 16th Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson, SC. Milliron transferred to the Logistics Corps and served in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY. While assigned to the 10th Mountain, he completed Company Command with a combat tour in support of OEF VII. He is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Syracuse University.

John Burdick, Professor of Anthropolgy at Syracuse University, is the author of three books on politics in Latin America. He has been involved in peace and justice activism since the early 1980s and has spoken at many venues throughout Central New York.

Rabbi Daniel Jezer is Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas, where he served for 25 years. He is at present Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at LeMoyne College. He had served as co-president of the Syracuse Labor-Religion Coalition; was president of the board of the Inter-religious Council of CNY; and was also the board president of the Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center.

Lieutenant Colonel Bruce S. Fine is Brigade Judge Advocate for the 27th Brigade Combat Team of the NY Army National Infantry and was deployed in 2004-2005 as Chief for Administrative and Civil Law for “Task Force Liberty,” 42nd Infantry Division, NY Army National Guard. Currently he is Commander of Onondaga Post 131, Jewish War Veterans. He has been Past President of Temple Brith Sholom in Cortland, NY, and is employed as Regional Attorney for the NYS Environmental Conservation Dept.’s Syracuse office.

Organizers of the program intend it to be conducted so as to allow respectful dialogue at all times. Brulé said, and the organizers agree, that “the fact that this topic inspires passionate reactions underscores the need for a determined Jewish dialogue that is rooted in law, not opinion. Whatever anyone’s opinion is about the conflict, it can only be a benefit to understand what Jewish law says in regard to the circumstances.”

It is anticipated that the presentation and discussion portion of the program will last till 9 pm; it will be followed by refreshments and more informal conversation. The location will be Congregation Beth Sholom-Chevra Shas , which is located at 18 Patsy Lane, just off of Jamesville Ave., in Dewitt. For further information, please contact either Robert Sarason or Brent Bleier.

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