by: Drue BeDo on September 22nd, 2016 | 2 Comments »
[Note from Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives: We stand in alliance with African Americans and others who are challenging empty rituals like The Star-Spangled Banner written by a racist slave owner. We share this rewrite in that spirit. We welcome others sharing their rewrites of The Star-Spangled Banner with us and if you are ok with us posting yours on this site or Tikkun.org, send them to us at email@example.com. This post has been updated with changes by the author.]
O say can you see
Why we’re stuck in this plight
Look close at who’s jailed
Or whose stocks are still gleaning
Whose broad stripes behind bars
Shout to challenge the “right”
Of a system so botched
“Free at last” is just dreaming
Will our sharp racist glares
Ever burst in mid-air
Let’s prove that this night
Will not end in despair
O say can you imagine
A start-spangled revolution
Where we’re ALL truly free
And with Kindness be brave
- Drue BeDo
Drue BeDo is a theatre artist, writer, and educator who makes her home in the PNW. Check out her adaptation of an ancient theatrical attempt at world peace: Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, A Woman’s Translation (playscripts.com). Drue received her MFA from Columbia University. Contact her for teaching and speaking engagements around the globe at DrueBeDo@mac.com.
Alice Walton and Jim Walton, children of the Wal-Mart founder, at the 2011 Wal-Mart shareholders meeting. Each has assets of over $30 billion.
I am often haunted by moral questions or conceptual puzzles, sometimes for years on end. In the last couple of months, I made some leaps in my understanding about several such issues.
For many months now I was haunted by my inability to understand, from within, members of the Walton family, the owners of Walmart. This practice, of understanding from within, is one of the core foundations of how I do my work, both when engaging with people and when writing. I do not include anything analytical in it, because the analysis separates, and I am looking for connection, for the felt sense, the vibrant humanity. And I couldn’t apply it to the Waltons, because I couldn’t find a way to explain to myself how, as a Walton, I would live with the knowledge of having billions of dollars to my name while my full-time workers need food stamps to cover their most basic needs. I couldn’t fathom what I could only understand in terms of a colossal lack of care.
Last week, I finally put the pieces together and “solved” the puzzle. What I realized in a moment of sharp and instantaneous insight that came from nowhere and hit me at the core was utterly simple: the Waltons and Iseea different reality.
by: Dan Brook on September 15th, 2016 | 27 Comments »
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Source: Flicke (AFGE).
[Managing Editor's note: Tikkun does not, and can not, endorse any candidate or party for political office.]
I find it heartbreaking how close we came to having Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee and eventual president of the United States. What a different convention, summer, election, country, and future we would have had! But, alas, my progressive hopes were sadly dashed – yet again. Somehow the candidate with the highest net favorability ratings – largely due to his honesty, kindness, consistency, integrity, and progressive populism – lost to the candidate with the highest unfavorability ratings.
As a doctor of social science, my job in this case is to examine the patient and diagnose the problems. My autopsy of Bernie’s historic 2016 presidential campaign reveals ten causes of death.
by: Staci Akselrod on September 15th, 2016 | 1 Comment »
A dictionary open to the definition of love. Source: Flickr (Il Mago di Oz).
Would you be interested in experiencing High Holiday services that combine a Judaism of Love and Justice with deep spirituality? Rabbi Michael Lerner, our spiritual leader, leads our community in a serious teshuvah process (which we understand as both inner transformation and societal transformation). He teaches that the prayers are only cheerleading for the process – the real work has to happen in our own lives in the ten days from Rosh HaShanah (which starts Sunday night, October 2) to the conclusion of Yom Kippur (on Wednesday, October 12th). This combination of services plus engagement in teshuvah is such an extraordinary experience that I’m willing to give you your money back if you attend all the services, do all elements of the teshuvah process that Rabbi Lerner lays out, and don’t feel that it was really amazing and transformative! And please tell your non-Jewish friends about this as well – you don’t have to be Jewish to get a huge amount of psychological and spiritual nourishment and even have a transformative experience by going through the process with us. True, some of the prayers are in Hebrew, but there’s enough English so that non-Jews who have come in the past have told us that the experience was just as powerful for them as it was for the Jews who participate.
by: David Seidenberg on September 8th, 2016 | 5 Comments »
[Managing Editor's note: The spirit of David Seidenberg's insightful Torah commentary (below) is directly related to The Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a call by The Network of Spiritual Progressives for a radical change in policy about how corporations interact with the environment. Join us at www.spiritualprogressives.org.]
Commentary on this week’s Torah portion – Shoftim
In Deuteronomy, we encounter one of the deepest principles in Jewish law: “When you lead a siege against a city many days … you may not destroy any tree of hers, to hew an ax against it, for from it you will eat, and you may not cut it off! Is the tree of the field a person, to come before you in the siege? Only a tree that you know is not a tree for food, that one you may destroy and cut off, and build siegeworks …” (20:19-20)
For the rabbis and later codes, the rule not to destroy fruit trees in war became an overarching principle, “do not destroy,” bal tashchit. If even in a time of war one could not destroy fruit trees, all the more should one not destroy or waste anything under normal circumstances.
Mainstream Jewish environmentalism in the early days began and ended as a paean to bal tashchit, the prohibition against destroying anything. How far have we come in Jewish environmentalism and ecotheology in the past forty-plus years? How we interpret the prohibition of bal tashchit is a good litmus test. Here’s why:
by: Ron Hirsch on September 8th, 2016 | 5 Comments »
Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, has traditionally been a time to prepare for teshuva (repentance, self and world transformation, returning to one’s highest self). In preparation, we will be providing a variety of “takes” on this process. We also invite those who do not have a spiritual home to consider attending Rabbi Lerner’s High Holiday services – info available atwww.beyttikkun.org/highholidays. And if you have a poem, prayer, or thought piece that you feel would benefit others in this process, send it to RabbiLerner.firstname.lastname@example.org (he might use it at the Beyt Tikkun service or, space allowing, on our website).
Reflections on Yom Kippur and Mideast Peace
As Jews around the world observe Yom Kippur, at levels of ritual observance ranging from the Haridim at the Wailing Wall to a reform temple in the U.S. Midwest to those who do not go to synagogue but in some way observe the Day of Atonement, it is important for each individual, for Israel, and for the world that the observance go deeper than even the most fervent practice of ritual and belief.
For Yom Kippur to have its intended impact, each person must understand and experience the spiritual lessons and meaning of Yom Kippur. What are those lessons?
by: Edwin Black on September 7th, 2016 | 3 Comments »
After Hitler’s defeat in May 1945, many Nazis melted away from the Reich, smuggled out by such organizations as the infamous Odessa group and the lesser-known Catholic lay network Intermarium, as well as the CIA and KGB. They ensured the continuation of the Nazi legacy in the postwar Arab world.
Egypt was a prime destination for German Nazi relocation in the Arab world. Dr. Aribert Heim was notoriously known as “Dr. Death” for his grotesque pseudo-medical experiments on Jewish prisoners in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen concentration camps. He was fond of surgical procedures including organ removals without anesthesia, injecting gasoline into prisoners to observe the manner of death, and decapitating Jews with healthy teeth so he could cook the skulls clean to make desk decorations. Dr. Heim converted to Islam and became “Uncle Tarek” Hussein Farid in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived a happy life as a medical doctor for the Egyptian police.
Two of Goebbels’s Nazi propagandists, Alfred Zingler and Dr. Johann von Leers, became Mahmoud Saleh and Omar Amin respectively, working in the Egyptian Information Department. In 1955, Zingler and von Leers helped establish the virulently anti-Semitic Institute for the Study of Zionism in Cairo. Hans Appler, another Goebbels propagandist, became Saleh Shafar who, in 1955, became an expert for an Egyptian unit specializing in anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hate propaganda. Erich Altern, a Gestapo agent, Himmler coordinator in Poland, and expert in Jewish affairs became Ali Bella, working as a military instructor in training camps for Palestinian terrorists. A German newspaper estimated there were fully 2,000 Nazis working openly and under state protection in Egypt.
by: Rabbi Michael Lerner and Ari Bloomekatz on September 7th, 2016 | 4 Comments »
Conducted by Tikkun Editor Rabbi Michael Lerner and Tikkun Managing Editor Ari Bloomekatz in August, 2016.
I’m feeling so much appreciation for your work here as I look over some of your website and some of the really important things you’ve been talking about forever.
Thank you, Jill. As you know, Tikkun is a 501-c-3 nonprofit, and contributions to make Tikkun able to continue to function are tax-deductible. So we are not allowed by IRS rules to endorse a candidate or be identified with a candidate or, a political party. So we will continue to seek to interview other major candidates and have requested interviews with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
Could you help our readers differentiate what you stand for from what Bernie Sanders stands for? And if there isn’t a difference, why don’t you run in the Democratic Party where your voice might have much greater impact because of their access to the media?
by: Anthony D'Agostino on September 6th, 2016 | No Comments »
The next President of the United States will not be a self-described democratic socialist at the head of a political revolution. Bernie Sanders and his supporters will close ranks and work for a Clinton victory, at any rate, an estimated 80% of them who will follow his lead. This does not in any way reduce the significance of the Sanders vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries. It represents something close to half of the Democratic vote and something like ¾ of the Democratic voters under 30 years of age. Over a million of Sanders supporters cheered him on in rallies in nearly every state. When this is taken together with the evidence of similar expressions throughout Western Europe and other parts of the world, it becomes clear that the dialogue on the left and center left in American politics has been fundamentally changed, perhaps permanently. We now have a social democratic movement capable of quickly becoming a majority and leading a government. It will seem to be submerged for a time; it will only express itself in a small grouping of personalities in Congress; it may only cause a ripple or two in the Congressional election of 2018; it may only indirectly affect the actions of the next administration. Yet candidates will know from now on that they can appeal to a set of ideas similar to the ones that were aired in the primaries this year and that there will be a constituency ready to listen to them. The emergence of social democracy is now a fact of life.