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Mike Godbe
Mike Godbe
Since graduating college in May 2009, he has organized for a change in US foreign policy in the Bay Area, travelled to Israel, Palestine, and India, and is currently alternating between coasts.



Where’s the Humanity? Troy Davis & the Radical Right

Sep17

by: on September 17th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

[UPDATE - On Monday 9/19/11, the clemency board denied Davis a stay. The NAACP is launching a last resort petition to urge the DA to ask the Judge to withdraw the death warrant]

The state of Georgia may take the life of an innocent man on Wednesday.

Troy Anthony Davis

For nearly two decades, Troy Anthony Davis has sat on Death Row for the 1989 shooting of off-duty White police officer Mark MacPhail. Though Davis has maintained his innocence for two decades and built a compelling case for his freedom, he has exhausted the appeals process and is now scheduled to die. The Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons has the power to grant him clemency and spare his life.

The murder weapon was never found and there is no physical evidence linking Davis to the murder; the case against him was built solely on witness testimony. Of the nine witnesses that testified in Davis’s trial, seven have recanted their testimony, many citing police coercion. Multiple jurors from the original trial have since signed sworn affidavits saying that based on the recanted testimony he should not be executed. New evidence has also emerged implicating another suspect.

This is the fourth time in as many years that a death warrant has been issued for Davis. He was first set to be executed in the summer of 2007, but was granted a stay of execution following the efforts of a grassroots campaign whose supporters included Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI, Harry Belafonte, Jesse Jackson, former president Jimmy Carter, representatives of Congress, members of European parliaments, a former FBI director and Federal Judge, and many others. Amnesty International organized the delivery of thousands of letters to the clemency board. Despite the recanting of trial testimony by the majority of the trial’s original witnesses, the Georgia Supreme Court denied Davis’s appeal for a re-trial in the early Spring of 2008.


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Want to be the new Executive Assistant to Rabbi Michael Lerner?

May20

by: on May 20th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

There is one paid position opening at Tikkun for the Executive Assistant to Rabbi Lerner. This is a one year position starting in late June / early July that involves many various skills and responsibilities as well as an orientation of support, service, and dedication to Rabbi Lerner, his work, and a spiritual progressive worldview. Think you know the right person? Send them to the job posting.

We also have many exciting internship and volunteer opportunities with Tikkun, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and Rabbi Lerner. Have a couple hours a week to transcribe Rabbi Lerner’s Torah Commentary? Want to help build campaigns for the ESRA and GMP? Want to combine your passion for activism, spirituality, and social networking online? There are many opportunities and ways to help build our presence and spread our spiritual progressive worldview through today’s preferred mediums of communication.

Check out the job and the available internships here on Tikkun.org.

New Videos up from Tikkun’s 25th Anniversary Celebration!

Mar25

by: on March 25th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

We’ve got a bunch of exciting new videos up from our 25th Anniversary on March 14th!

Watch Rabbi Lerner’s moving keynote, Judge Richard Goldstone’s acceptance speech for the Tikkun Award, and the great animation about Citizens United and the need for a constitutional amendment (like the ESRA!) put together by the wonderful people from the Story of Stuff. Co-Managing Editor Alan Yu-lan Price speaks about the atomization of progressive movements and the need to form anti-generational, cross-class alliances in building a caring society. Associate Editor Peter Gabel gives a moving piece on the relevance and importance of Tikkun today, and Founding Publisher Nan Fink-Gefen tells the unlikely story of Tikkun‘s origins. See the amazing spoken word of Josh Healey as well as two poems read by Pulitzer prize winning poet and Tikkun Award recipient C.K. Williams. Watch all the acceptance speeches, including Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, Naomi Newman, Rabbi Marcia Prager, and Congressman Raul Grijalva. All the videos from the 25th Anniversary can be seen here.

Thanks to everyone who joined us on that night and who has helped us get to 25 years!

Videos from Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference up online!

Dec17

by: on December 17th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

We are beginning to put videos of some of the speeches from our conference in June up online. To get you started we’ve got some great speeches by Rep. Keith Ellison, Lester Brown, Sister Joan Chittister, Gary Dorrien, John Dear, Rev. Dr. James Forbes, and a Q&A with Rabbi Lerner, Peter Gabel, and Sister Joan Chittister. More to come after the new year . . .

Check out the videos here! Happy holidays and new year; stay warm.

The Darkest side of Occupation: Hebron 2

Apr11

by: on April 11th, 2010 | 23 Comments »

Mike Godbe, a young American on a free Birthright tour of Israel, continues his diary and photos of the tour, reporting his experiences and the ways the tour staff present the history and politics of the country. Earlier posts from East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Masada, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Caesaria can be accessed by clicking the corresponding links.

March 21, 2010 – Hebron

I have been putting off writing this post about my visit to Hebron because I do not feel sure of myself in conveying the power of the experience, or communicating what I witnessed daily life in Hebron to be. For the Palestinians that hosted me, fed me, and showed me around, it is important that I bring their stories outside Hebron. For me, as someone who spent less than a week in the West Bank, I feel it would be wrong to simply be a tourist in a place where travel is so restricted. So I want to do my part, and do right by the people I met. This is my attempt to tell part of their story as I experienced it for a day.


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An introduction to Occupation: Sheikh Jarrah and Bethlehem

Mar28

by: on March 28th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

March 19th & 20th – Shiekh Jarrah and Bethlehem

On the recommendation of the activists I stayed with in Tel Aviv, I made my way to Jerusalem in time to attend a demonstration outside the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. I was going to attend one of the demonstrations that has been happening at the wall by the West Bank village of Bi’lin every Friday for the past five years, but there was not room for me in the carpool from Tel Aviv. Later that day I read in the Jerusalem post that Israel would not longer be allowing Israelis and internationals into Bi’lin and Ni’lin (another West Bank demonstration sight) on Fridays between 8am and 8pm, essentially precluding future non-Palestinian presence at these famous demonstrations (in the past five years the Bi’lin demonstrations have attracted such big hitters as Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and Desmond Tutu, among others).

Despite not being able to attend the demonstration in Bi’lin, the demonstration outside the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah was a huge eye opener. The situation in Shiekh Jarrah (offensively titled the Hebrew name on the map I got at my hostel) is unique, even for east Jerusalem.

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Yitzhak Rabin, epiphanies, and Tel Aviv on the final leg of the Birthright Tour

Mar25

by: on March 25th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Mike Godbe, a young American on a free Birthright tour of Israel, continues his diary and photos of the tour, reporting his experiences and the ways the tour staff present the history and politics of the country. Earlier posts from Masada, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Caesaria can be accessed by clicking the corresponding links.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The day began with a much welcome 2 hour bus ride to Tel Aviv, which most people slept through the entirety of due to only getting a few hours of sleep the night before.

Our first destination was the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, based out of the Wolfson Medical Center in South Tel Aviv. Save a Child’s Heart is a program aimed at helping children from developing countries where pediatric cardiologists are not available or few and far between. They do their work in three ways, they completely cover the costs to bring children to Israel for treatment, they train doctors from developing countries in Israel, and they go to developing countries and do training and surgeries side by side.

The lady giving the info session tells us that 50% of the children who come to Israel to receive treatment come from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Iraq. One of my peers comments that it seems like a political gesture to take such a disproportionate number of kids from the West Bank and Gaza. The SACH spokesperson, a late twenties girl originally from New York, says that it is not political, but that it is simply “a community in need, and we respond to that need.”

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The fortress of Masada, victimology, and IDF awkwardness on the Birthright Tour

Mar22

by: on March 22nd, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Mike Godbe, a young American on a free Birthright tour of Israel, continues his diary and photos of the tour, reporting his experiences and the ways the tour staff present the history and politics of the country. Earlier posts from Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Caesaria can be accessed by clicking the corresponding links.

Monday, March 15th, 2010
I woke up at 4:45 this morning for an optional sunrise hike to the top of a nearby ridge. It is noticeably drier here in the south than in other parts of Israel we have been. As soon as the dusk started to light up the land, I looked on the ground and found it to be full of empty shells from desert snails about 3cm wide – literally there was one of these shells on the ground about every six inches. The desert is actually covered in small green plants in many parts now . . . It only lasts a few weeks and we happened to catch it. Right after winter rains and before the summer heat gets too intense.

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Greeting the IDF, Mt. Herzl, and Bedouin hospitality on the Birthright Tour

Mar19

by: on March 19th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Mike Godbe, a young American on a free Birthright tour of Israel, continues his diary and photos of the tour, reporting his experiences and the ways the tour staff present the history and politics of the country. Earlier posts from Jerusalem, a kibbutz, and Caesaria can be accessed by clicking the corresponding links.

Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Today we met the six IDF soldiers that will be joining our group for the remaining five days of the program. All of them are between the ages of 19 and 21, half women, half men. When birthright was started around 2000, participants in the program were not allowed to walk through many parts of Jerusalem or go out at night, like we now are, because of the high level of danger during the second intifada. We are told that the IDF “encounters” program was incorporated into birthright to allow participants to meet and interact with Israeli citizens . . . The implication being that the soldiers were here to provide that connection between participants and Israelis, not participants and the Israeli military.

We played some name games and ice breakers in the morning, the soldiers still in full military garb (no guns). We then got ready for a somber day at Yad Vashem and Mt. Herzl Cemetery, the Holocaust museum / memorial and the burying place of nearly every prominent Israeli statesmen and soldier – among many others of lesser fame.

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Jerusalem on the Birthright Tour

Mar17

by: on March 17th, 2010 | 3 Comments »

Originally posted under Dave Belden’s name, now under Mike’s so all his posts can be accessed together.

Mike Godbe, a young American on a free Birthright tour of Israel, continues his diary and photos of the tour, reporting his experiences and the ways the tour staff present the history and politics of the country. Earlier posts are here and here.

Friday, March 12th, 2010
Today was spent in the incredible and ancient city of Jerusalem, a city that has been besieged 36 separate times. Today was a beautiful clear day, unlike the past few days that have been dusted by the sandy haze created by changing seasonal winds blowing from the east. The sense of history and time in this city is almost overwhelming, Sandstone pathways in the old city are smooth and shiny from centuries of traffic, ancient mosques and churches decorate the skyline. It was difficult to take it all in in just a day . . . Luckily we have tomorrow as well.

On the short bus ride to the old city we were told that the IDF had retaliated for rockets launched from Gaza into southern Israel, and that no Israelis were hurt but a few Palestinians were injured. One of the few more-religious kids on the trip sitting in front of me exclaimed “yes!” and clapped at the news of injured Palestinians. While it was surely a somewhat facetious remark, it underlines — in my opinion — the lack of understanding and compassion which allows such a remark to be acceptable to say (or perceived to be), even it if was said in part as a joke. I’m glad to say that two or three of my peers who were within earshot vocally reacted to the remark. Anyway, back to Jerusalem . . .

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