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ISIS Halloween Costumes: Bad Taste or Psychologically Cathartic?

Oct31

by: on October 31st, 2014 | No Comments »

Tonight, when Americans open their doors at the sound of “Trick or Treat!” they may be in for a big surprise: a little boy dressed up in a jihadi fighter costume! That’s right, while our planes drop bombs on the real bad guys, our neighborhood children may be dressing up like them. I know that many, Muslim or not, are offended, but I see this Halloween as especially important from a sociological perspective.

First, the usual and necessary disclosures about Halloween: As a Muslim I don’t commend or celebrate a pagan holiday with its roots in worship of the devil and fear of evil spirits. As a Muslim mother I don’t allow my children to wear costumes or go trick-or-treating, for a number of reasons which include not only religious beliefs but also worry and fear of the times we live in. My children of course, being typically American, never take it lying down. My conversation with them on the days leading up to this year’s Halloween can be read here.

But all day yesterday and today, as I read several reports of this year’s new “genre” of costumes I slowly exited from mother mode or even Muslim mode and started thinking like a sociologist. Halloween costume companies this year are encouraging their customers to really get the crowds buzzing with items like ISIS fighters, Ebola nurses, Hazmat suits and even burka-clad Arab women. WHAT? Is this what we have come to, making fun of our biggest problems? Offending people? Taking serious things lightly? Associating Ebola or war with candy?


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Ebolaphobia and the Contagion of Fear

Oct31

by: on October 31st, 2014 | No Comments »

Two brothers, Pape, 13-year-old eight-grader, and Amidou, 11-year-old sixth-grader, reported being attacked and bashed by a mob of their classmates on the playground of their Bronx, New York Intermediate School 318. Pape and Amidou, who were born in the United States, lived in Senegal in West Africa for a time to learn French. They moved back to the U.S. one month age to rejoin their father, Ousmane Drame, a Senegalese American.

Throughout the violent attack, classmates taunted the brothers with chants of “You’re Ebola!” The boys were rushed to a local hospital with severe injuries. During a press conference at the Senegalese American Association in Harlem and flanked by community leaders, the boys’ father, a 62-year-old cab driver, reported that “They go to gym, and [taunters] say, ‘You don’t touch the ball, you have Ebola, if you touch it we will all get Ebola.’” The elder Drame claimed that the school did nothing to prevent or to intervene in the attack, and did not even write an incident report.

Though one case of Ebola was reported earlier in Senegal, this month the World Health Organization declared Senegal free of Ebola virus transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, a Senegalese mother announced that her 9-year-old daughter was bullied at her Harlem school, and when she came home, her daughter asked, “Mommy, do I have Ebola?”

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How Your Donations Will Change the World

Oct30

by: Tikkun on October 30th, 2014 | No Comments »

The Tikkun Daily Winter Fundraising Drive is in full swing- and we would like to extend a huge thank you to those who have begun to help us reach our goal. We’ve raised 20% of our goal in the first week of our campaign and we couldn’t have done it without your help.

Another vital aspect of keeping Tikkun alive is memberships. Have you joined our movement? Our memberships are on a sliding scale, but if you make a donation of at least $50 you get a free subscription to our print magazine. We are also willing to work with recurring monthly donations, as a steady source of help is much more sustainable in the long run. With the membership, you get access to exclusive web-only offerings and the full web versions of our print articles, along with insider updates on trainings, conferences, and events!

PLUS, Our Special (Musical) Gift to You!

As an incentive we’re offering you a free downloadable album with your donation or NSP membership. Radical Amazement is a collection of songs by a diverse array of artists, all with a message of love, kindness, and generosity. Politics and spirituality blend to create an enjoyable and inspiring musical selection. In one week members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and donors to our Fall fundraiser will be able to download the full album. So please, if you haven’t already done so, donate here! Trust, us you don’t want to miss out on this musical experience.

Are you curious as to how your donations to Tikkun will bring change to the world? This week we’d like to look at the first reason:our Israel/Palestine Workshops.

We have been leading workshops on “Grieving and Mourning What’s Happening in Israel and Palestine and Learning to Communicate Across Differences” in response to requests from folks throughout the country. This is what some have said about these trainings:

“It was a powerful, life changing workshop”

Or from another:


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America’s New Spiritual Pioneers

Oct29

by: Thandeka on October 29th, 2014 | No Comments »

Below is a snippet from an article we’ve presented to you here on Tikkun.org. Because of its quality and importance in these times, we wanted to include a piece of it here on Tikkun Daily as well.

America’s New Spiritual Pioneers

An Unfolding Political Story About Emotions Lost and Found

Thandeka

We are at the dawn of a new era in progressive faith and politics in America.

This new era has not yet emerged because most of its members – millions strong – are spiritually leaderless and do not have a shared identity. Moreover, they lack the institutional gravitas of sanctuaries networked together to create a force field in American politics.

Presently, these folk simply get tallied in religion surveys and in the media as a subset of the “Nones,” namely, as the 17 million self-identified spiritual folk among the 46 million Americans without religious affiliation. But they are more than this.

They are America’s new spiritual pioneers. And 80% of them are politically moderate or liberal.

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Conference Call with Michael Nagler on ISIS: Is Non-Violence a Plausible Political Principle in an Age of Fundamentalist Terrorism?

Oct28

by: Tikkun on October 28th, 2014 | 2 Comments »

We invite you to join Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives on a conference call with Michael Nagler regarding ISIS and whether non-violence is still a plausible political principle in an age of fundamentalist terrorism. You can call in Wednesday, October 29th at 12:30 p.m. PDT or 3:30 p.m. EDT

Many peace-oriented activists have had moments in the past few months in which we wished we could stop the genocidal behavior of ISIS and the kidnapping and raping of young women by Boko Haram–by any means necessary. It becomes harder to resist war policies of the Obama Administration when we know of these crimes being committed by fundamentalist terrorist groups. In such a world, has non-violence lost its relevance?

We’ve asked Michael Nagler to address this question, in dialogue with Tikkun editor Rabbi Michael Lerner, in a conference call for subscribers to Tikkun and currently paid-up members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. Michael Nagler is the director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, founder of Peace Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and author of The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, our Families, and Our World. He was the co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association (2009-2011). There will be an opportunity for listeners to submit questions and comments too.

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2014 Midterm Elections Will Change Nothing

Oct28

by: on October 28th, 2014 | No Comments »

The 2014 midterm election will change nothing in the United States. This election is set to be the most expensive non-presidential election in US history and unfortunately money buys elections. Not only do politicians do the bidding of the wealthy, they themselves are increasingly numbered among the rich and super-rich and they follow their corporate masters. Social inequality rules in America and the 2014 midterm election has been reduced to Kabuki theater as millionaire Republicans and Democrats rearrange the chairs on the deck of the sinking Republic while the mainstream press tries to convince us that it all really matters.

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How the UK’s Jewish Leadership Killed Off the Two-State Solution

Oct28

by: Robert Cohen on October 28th, 2014 | 1 Comment »

UN Partition Plan for Palestine 1947

Credit: Creative Commons/Wikipedia

In the last month it has become clear that the UK’s Jewish leadership, despite its constant mantra, has no interest in promoting a two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. At least not in a way that has the slightest practical significance.

We may hear the consistent rhetoric that claims to support compromise and bilateral negotiation, but in reality our public representatives now look as thoroughly intransigent as Israel’s right-wing coalition government.

And if that’s the case we have a serious problem on our hands. It’s a problem that leads directly to the increase in anti-Semitic attacks on our streets and it’s undermining local community dialogue with our Christian and Muslim neighbors.

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Images of Empowerment: Artist Carol Rossetti Challenges Sexism and Affirms Women’s Many Identities

Oct28

by: Lisa Bigeleisen on October 28th, 2014 | No Comments »

Carol Rossetti Women Series

Credit: Carol Rossetti

When Carol Rossetti began posting her illustrations from her “Women” series online earlier this year, she had no clue the images would generate a following of 184.7K Facebook users.

Rossetti, 26, a graphic designer from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, illustrates women using kraft paper and colored pencils. Each drawing features a portrait or figure with a hand-lettered message in response to many kinds of discrimination, addressing issues such as sexism, body image, self esteem, gender identity, and ageism to name a few.

To see more of Carol Rossetti’s illustrations, visit the Tikkun Daily Art Gallery or check out the artists’ Facebook and Tumblr pages.

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It Will Take an Interfaith Village to Stand Up for Civil Rights

Oct28

by: Murali Balaji, Aamir Hussain, and Manpreet Teji on October 28th, 2014 | No Comments »

Bryn Mawr protest

South Asian American students at Bryn Mawr College participate in a demonstration against racism on September 19. Credit: The Bi-College News (http://www.biconews.com)

People from all walks of life seem to agree that news over the past few months has been downright depressing. Whether it’s conflict overseas or the infernos of injustice here in the United States, there is still so much that stands in the way of achieving what we know can be the best of humanity: love for all beings, respect for the earth, and a promotion of peace. Over the past few months, we’ve been reminded of the many struggles we continue to face in promoting equality, justice, pluralism, and mutual respect.

Within the South Asian American community, we have faced many trials together. From the early immigrants from India in the nineteenth century (the majority of whom were Sikh) who faced constant and institutionalized discrimination and racial violence, to the South Asians who arrived in the United States right after the repeal of the Asian Exclusion Act (only to find cities on fire and racial antagonism), our community has endured collective trauma. But we have also made collective progress.

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I need your help and I need it now.

Oct27

by: on October 27th, 2014 | No Comments »

Rabbi Lerner I understand if you feel deeply troubled by what has been happening in the United States and around the world this past year. I know I do. But I also have a lot to be grateful for in my personal life – my son finished writing his first book (on a phenomenology of hope with a special focus on Martin Buber) and my grandchildren are flourishing into wonderful pre-adolescents. And I’m very proud to tell you that four weeks ago Tikkun magazine received the “Magazine of the Year Award” from the Religion Newswriters Association, reminding the public at large of the high quality of our magazine. And I’m proud that we were among the cosponsors of the Great Climate March in New York City. A Tikkun and Network of Spiritual Progressives contingent marched in it, and I loved being there with 400,000 demonstrators – so many caring and joyous people!

Yet despite these achievements, the political developments in the United States, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria have been so upsetting that they have interfered with my sleep and the writing I had planned for the year. I have been so upset by the outrageous behavior of ISIS and the simplistic response of the West (“let’s bomb them and then see what happens”), which threatens to deepen the mess we in the United States helped to create with our last invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

All this came after a summer in which Israelis, understandably fearful from the daily bombing attempts that sent them (often several times a day) into air raid shelters to avoid the missiles beings launched by Hamas, allowed themselves to forget (if they ever really understood) the horrible conditions that the Occupation has imposed on Palestinians and the hunger and poverty that their seven-year blockade of Gaza has imposed on Gazans (with the resulting attitude of “if we are going to perish, let’s do it by fighting back” that was propagated by the leadership of Hamas). Meanwhile most Americans rallied around Israel, forgetting that Israel had broken off peace negotiations with the nonviolence-enforcing Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. While the American Jewish community told itself Israel “had no alternative,” we at Tikkun were speaking out to remind people that there actually is an alternative: to end the Occupation of the West Bank. In doing so, Israel would need to embrace generous and caring terms that show real respect for the humanity of the Palestinians – in other words, Israel would need to decide to make peace with the Palestinian people rather than beat them into submission. I’ve specified the terms that I think would bring real peace in the Winter 2014 issue of Tikkun and more fully in my book Embracing Israel/Palestine.

And as if this weren’t bad enough, the right wing in the United States may be on the verge of capturing both houses of Congress. This right-wing resurgence has drawn strength from the racism that has been systematically directed at President Obama. At the same time, Democrats have suffered from Obama’s failure to fight for a coherent alternative to militarism, to resist hate-based policies toward immigrants (he deported more undocumented immigrants than any previous president), and to counter the ethos of selfishness and materialism that is championed by our corporate-dominated culture. And now, the Supreme Court has struck down every legislative attempt to restrain the ability of the rich to shape elections and defacto buy themselves the best Congress that their wealth can buy.

Reading the New York Times these days can leave one feeling heartbroken and powerless. Yet, times like these call us to open our hearts in empathy to all beings and take a stand for love, kindness, and generosity). Times like these call us to push beyond our sense of despair to engage in work that promotes a new worldview – one that inspires us to move beyond our limited belief of what is realistic to imagine and work toward what is desirable. And they call for an alternative that we at Tikkun and our Tikkun Community, also known as the interfaith and secular humanist and atheist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, has been developing. But to keep that alternative alive, we need your support!

We at Tikkun have some very important ideas about how to change the dominance of the militarists, the cheerleaders for the 1 percent, and the voices of cynicism and despair, but I worry that you and others may have gotten so exhausted by the suffering in the world that you might no longer recognize how important it is to keep Tikkun‘s voice strong by making a generous donation now, even if you already donated this year or rejoined our Network of Spiritual Progressives. I want to highlight some of our great work to help you recognize how important our work is and to inspire you to support us yet again with a tax-deductible donation.

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