Revolution: The NSP Newsletter, April 2015
What is inspiring about the NSP is its call to ground activism in moral and spiritual values. In this time where justice remains elusive, it’s easy to feel despair at the enormous task at hand.
In the spirit of Passover, I found myself reflecting upon the story of Moses’s life and the tremendous burning angst within him that he heard as a call to action. This is a call that we all hear and like Moses, do not believe we are up to the task.To read more about my interpretation of this epic story, please click here.Continue below to learn more about how you can join us in our own efforts to transform the world.
Cat Zavis, Executive Director of the NSP
|Mark Your Calendars! We are excited to share with you that from May 19th – 21st we are hosting (with the Shift Network) a series of calls with activists, leaders, theologians, historians, authors and others who are working to create a world based on a New Bottom Line of love and justice in fields such as: Conscious Politics, Global Capitalism, Structural Injustice, the Environment, and Youth Activism. We will explore how the values of love and justice infuse their work and how we can build a movement of love and justice. The series is called:The Politics of Love and Justice: Integrating Spirituality and Activism to Build a Sustainable and Caring World. Keep your eyes open for an email in the next few weeks with information to register for the telesummit.
Happenings from Chapters
We are so excited by the outpouring of enthusiasm and support we’ve received as of late and the interest in building chapters and connections with others who share our vision. If you are interested in starting a chapter or project where you live, please click here to read our Starter Guide and then join our monthly calls – see below for details.
To join a local chapter or learn more, please contact the person listed below if you if you live in their neck of the woods. Click here to read more information from chapters throughout the country.
by: Liza Behrendt and Jessie Lowell on April 9th, 2015 | 5 Comments »
By fighting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, J Street has allowed itself to be get distracted from its goal of opposing the Occupation. Above, a billboard of Benjamin Netanyahu leading into the 2015 Israeli elections. Credit: CreativeCommons / Dr. Avishai Teicher.
The American Jewish community is now at a crossroads. The recent Israeli elections, following the latest war on Gaza by just six months, highlighted the deep divisions between the liberal values held by a majority of American Jews, and an increasingly right-wing Israel that systematically suppresses the rights of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.
The two of us found our first political homes in opposing oppressive Israeli policies with J Street, after witnessing a piece of the everyday inhumanity of the Occupation while traveling in Israel/Palestine. The more we learned, and the more we experienced, the harder it was for us to reconcile Jewish social justice values of full equality and freedom with what we saw happening to Palestinians under Israeli control.
by: Gary Yarus on April 9th, 2015 | 2 Comments »
As Jews around world prepare to remember the Holocaust (Yom HaShoah) on April 16th, they too should pause a week earlier to remember the massacre at Deir Yassin on April 9th, exactly sixty-seven years ago. In both cases, Jews should shout, loud and clear: “Nie wieder!” Never again!
Deir Yassin was a tiny Palestinian village outside the area assigned by the UN for the future Jewish state. Being on the high ground between Jerusalem and Jaffa, it was of strategic military value. The villagers had sought to stay neutral in the fighting around it, when it was stormed early in the morning of April 9th, 1948, by 130 Jewish militiamen of the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin, and the Stem Gang, one of whose three commanders was Yitzhak Shamir. The assault by the two “Jewish Underground” militias received artillery support from Haganah, the future Israeli army. The resulting massacre, in which more that 200 Palestinian men, women, and children were killed, is considered a turning point in Palestinian history.
Credit: WikimediaCommons / Richard Simon.
There are many ways to interpret the epic story of Moses hearing God’s voice at the Burning Bush. For this Passover season, I share one way that I understand this story and its meaning to our lives in the present time.
Moses, who grew up as a prince of Egypt, had witnessed violence and abuse of the Israelite slaves and was horrified by it – as any person who has not hardened his/her heart would understandably be. Out of rage, horror and grief, Moses reacted by killing an Egyptian who was abusing the slaves. He is then forced to flee the palace (his life of privilege, the only life he has known). Though he was able to create a new and somewhat comfortable life for himself married to the daughter of one of the chief priests of Midian, he could not forget what he had experienced in Egypt. So while tending the sheep of his father-in-law’s house, one lamb wanders off and he chases it as it wanders up a mountain (that tradition later identifies as Sinai). There he experiences most fully the burning message in his heart that simply refuses to burn out. Moses envisions it as a burning bush that is not consumed, and from that fire within he hears a voice that tells him he is to return to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let his people go.
by: Elana Baurer on April 8th, 2015 | 3 Comments »
Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”
Each year, we retell the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt as if it were our own liberation. Jews and non-Jews alike gather around the seder table all over the world and go through the steps of the seder. Some choose to commemorate the enslavement of the Israelites under the Egyptians as though it really happened, while others approach the story as symbolic. Exodus is an empowering, joyful story of freedom, liberation, and journey from the small, narrow places to expansiveness.
Tikkun is hiring a new managing editor!
After seven deeply rewarding years here, I am relocating to the Detroit area. I plan to stay involved with Tikkun in some modified capacity, continuing to write periodically and to contribute new ideas for upcoming issues of the magazine, but as I move on, we need to find a new managing editor to work with Rabbi Lerner here in Berkeley, California.
This moment of transition is a time of exciting possibility for Tikkun. If we work together to reach out to all of our networks, I know we can find a great new managing editor to lead the magazine in fruitful new directions. Please do share the job posting with your networks.
Looking at the magazine’s archive page and scrolling through the thirty-one magazines that I’ve helped to create during my time here is a fun reminder of the years of creative energy that I’ve poured into Tikkun. Certain covers jump out: the beautiful iconic painting on the cover of the July/August 2010 issue on Queer Spirituality and Politics (the first themed issue that I dreamed up and commissioned articles for myself); the warmhearted mural on the cover of the Winter 2012 Restorative Justice issue, which taught me so much about alternatives to incarceration and punitive justice, thanks to the inspired editorial leadership of David Belden; the U.S.-flag-turned-border-wall on the cover of the Summer 2013 issue on “Embracing Immigration and Ending Deportation“; the colorful quilt on the cover of the Fall 2014 issue on Disability Justice and Spirituality; and the surreal landscape on the cover of our Winter 2015 issue on Jubilee and Debt Abolition. These were just some of the issues that I took a special role in creating during my time here.
by: Valarie Kaur and Cheryl Leanza on April 7th, 2015 | No Comments »
What do faith and religion have to do with net neutrality? Above, NYC Rolling Rebellion protests for net neutrality in New York. Credit: CreativeCommons / Backbone Campaign.
Last month, a handful of Republicans will hold hearings on the Hill to challenge new federal rules protecting the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified providers who connect us to the Internet as common carriers and adopted strong rules banning them from blocking or slowing down sites and charging access fees.
The vote is already touted as among the greatest public interest victories in U.S. history, most vocally by the tech world. But also among those celebrating this vote are America’s Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and humanists. What’s faith got to do with it?
Though President Obama has been roundly criticized for having a soft foreign policy, he continues to prove the value of dialogue. Credit: CreativeCommons / Gage Skidmore.
A corollary to the old saying “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” is the reverse, “If it’s broken then fix it.” Well, the U.S. and other nations’ policies of imposing sanctions alone to inhibit Iran’s nuclear ambitions and capabilities has been tried, and it has failed in its stated purpose. It has, though, succeeded in at least pressuring Iranian leaders to talk with us and some of our European allies at the negotiating table.
While the full terms of the agreement are to be drawn up by the end of June, the framework coming out of Switzerland garnered support from our chief European allies, the British and the French.
Mark Roland, one of the 6,000 babies born each year with Down syndrome, was a human beacon of unconditional love. Today, the National Down Syndrome Society provides vital resources for those affected by Down syndrome.
Born on March 27, 1970 Mark Roland, a down syndrome child, came into this troubled planet and in the process of his journey of 33 years, before he died of respiratory arrest in 2003, Mark touched countless people with his innocent, joyful and open heart including mine. Even though I had met him only once as a young child, I never forgot his deep knowing and joyful presence for he was indeed an innocent pure new soul whose only purpose was to unconditionally love.
One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition in America. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. Regardless of the type of Down syndrome a person may have, all have an extra, critical portion of chromosome 21 present in all or some of their cells. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.
Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are becoming increasingly integrated into society and community organizations, such as school, health care systems, work forces, and social and recreational activities. Most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate but they also have gentle souls and a great capacity to give and receive love — and Mark Roland was the perfect example of that gift.
Another inspiring example of raising a child with Down syndrome is the story of London, a young girl:
by: Roxanne J. Fand on April 4th, 2015 | 1 Comment »
Jews in Iran and Afghanistan hit each other with bundles of green onions during the Seder song 'Dayenu' to remember the Jewish people's yearning for food during exile from Egypt. Credit: CreativeCommons / Rachel Barenblat.
Ever since I could remember, I loved Passover Seders, especially the song, “Dayenu,” whatever it might mean. Perhaps the story of freedom from slavery appealed to me as a child “enslaved” by parental and school authority. When I was old enough to read the English translation, “It Would Suffice Us,” and followed along stanza by stanza, I simply recognized gratitude for all the benefits God gave to the Israelites, from being freed of their Egyptian servitude to their regaining the Promised Land.