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Archive for the ‘Politics & Society’ Category



The King is the Field – Chabad Insights on the Divinity of Creation

Sep29

by: David Seidenberg on September 29th, 2016 | No Comments »

During the High Holidays, we strive to fashion our heart to become a dwelling place for God in the physical, earthly realm – a dirah batachtonim. However, the earliest aggadic (storytelling) midrash, Genesis Rabbah (fourth or fifth century), taught that “the root/essence of God’s presence was in the lower creatures /`iqar Shekhinah batachtonim haytah.” (19:7)

If the Shekhinah, the indwelling presence of God, was essentially in all creatures, how did we arrive at the idea that the primary dwelling place of God was within the human heart? This is the journey I would like to share below.

According to Genesis Rabbah, even though the Shekhinah was interwoven with the physical world from the beginning, human sin drove the presence of God further and further away from the world. This alienation was “put into practice,” so to speak, in later midrashic texts. Midrash Y’lamdeinu, in opposition to Genesis Rabbah, taught in the sixth or seventh century that humanity was supposed to be the locus of God’s presence in this world, and that this is what it means for us to be “rulers batachtonim.” (Batey Midrashot 1, B’reishit 9) If Genesis Rabbah describes how sin generated the flight of Shekhinah from a world that was once full of God’s presence, Y’lamdeinu describes instead a world which was never the home of Shekhinah.


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Israel Demolishing Homes

Sep27

by: Penina Eilberg-Schwartz on September 27th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

A bulldozer during a demolition in the village of Al-Araqib.

A bulldozer during a demolition in the village of Al-Araqib.

I.

“This is Al-Araqib?” I asked Karen when we first arrived in the Bedouin village near the end of June.

I looked to the cemetery on the left, at what looked like a dirt parking lot under our feet, and then back at her. She pointed down at the ground.

“This is where it used to be.”

We walked towards some plastic chairs under a tree and sat down with Sheikh Sayah, Aziz and Salim. Aziz used to be a farmer but now he has nothing to farm so his job is to sit here under this tree, to prove that this place isn’t empty, that this is a place where people live.

We looked as they pointed to all the places that used to make up Al-Araqib — where the trees and houses stood — before the village had been demolished for the first time in 2010 and 98 times since.

A few days after we listened to Sheikh Sayah speak, Al-Araqib was demolished for the 100th time.

There wasn’t much to demolish, just a few tents made from black tarp. But of course there was still somehow a lot to demolish, just like every time the bulldozers come.


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A Family Story: John Singer Sargent’s Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children

Sep27

by: Roslyn Bernstein on September 27th, 2016 | No Comments »

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John Singer Sargent’s Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children

The Jewish Museum

September 16, 2016-February 5, 2017

New York City, New York

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Adele Meyer never crossed the Atlantic. Married to Carl Meyer, a Jewish financier who was named the Baronet of Shortgrove in 1910, she led a life of privilege as a philanthropist in the arts and as a hostess, both in London and at Shortgrove, her 1000-acre country estate in Essex.

How fitting, then, that John Singer Sargent’s masterful portrait of the Meyer family, Mrs. Carl Meyer and Her Children (1896), not seen in the United States for the past 10 years and on loan from the Tate Britain, has now been installed in a gallery at the Jewish Museum that was once the dining room of the Felix Warburg Mansion. Warburg, like Meyer was a distinguished banker of German Jewish origin.

Organized by Norman L. Kleeblatt, the Susan and Elihu Rose Chief Curator with Lucy H. Partman, Curatorial Assistant, the exhibit focuses on the Meyers’ portrait, one that Kleeblatt describes as having “near cinematic status.” The painting was shown at the Royal Academy’s 1897 exhibition and subsequently at the Copley Society of Boston in 1899. In 1900, it was awarded a medal of honor at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

John Singer Sargent, Elsie Meyer, 1908, charcoal on paper. Private collection

Now, building on the painting’s international reputation and resembling an archeological dig or excavation, the show unearths a cache of other works and documents related to the Meyer family, as well as ancillary material, from the personal and intimate to the banal, that illuminates their life in high and popular culture. “Here is a whole family story,” Kleeblatt said, “with John Singer Sargent and Adele Meyer as co-conspirators in this work.” The exhibit is the first in a series that will showcase one work or a group of masterpieces, by examining the larger context of a work of art.

The excavation began during Kleeblatt’s initial networking session at the Tate Britain, when one of the curators there rather casually mentioned that there was someone working as a curator at another museum who was a relative of the Meyers. So, he discovered Tessa Murdoch, Deputy Keeper at The Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass), and also a great granddaughter of Mrs. Meyer, and a granddaughter of Frank Meyer. Adele Meyer bequeathed the painting to the Tate with life rights for two generations.

With Murdoch’s help, Kleeblatt discovered two drawings by Sargent, who stopped portrait painting in 1908, but whom the family clearly continued to patronize: one, from 1908, of Adele’s daughter Elsie Charlotte – looking very much like a Gibson Girl, and the other, from 1909, of her sister Cecile Von Fleischl. The Carl Meyer portrait in the exhibit is the work of Sir Hubert von Herkomer, a well-known portrait painter from the period.


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Oh, Say Can You See … The Point of View of This American Male of African Ancestry, Who Teaches Mindful Empathy?

Sep23

by: Tony Scruggs on September 23rd, 2016 | 5 Comments »

It seems like Colin Kaepernick’s choice around how to exert his freedom of speech isn’t meeting a lot of people’s need for a certain type of respect shown in a certain type of way. I’m guessing from that angle this whole choosing to silently, and nonviolently, protest the diminished humanity of some of his fellow citizens (by sitting/kneeling down during the playing of the national anthem at a professional football game) is extremely irritating and frustrating for a lot of people?

When my former quarterback’s brother (John Harbaugh, Super Bowl winning coach of the Ravens) quoted Voltaire (‘I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend it until death your right to say it’) I thought “Yah, isn’t that what makes America great? Isn’t that what people are fighting for? Isn’t that why it’s okay to criticize the government and the President and not be condemned as treasonous or subversive?” But it seems like the First Amendment is seen very differently by different American members of team-humanity.

From my vantage point (growing up in Palo Alto, California) I think about how safe I felt in the homes of most of my Caucasian friends from having my humanity diminished and how grateful I feel to have experienced that more often than not. The painful other side (while honoring those who’ve given their lives and bodies) of being an AMERICAN of African ancestry outside of their homes, was/is:


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Rewriting The Star-Spangled Banner — Send Us Yours!

Sep22

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 orTikkun.org, send them to us atari@tikkun.org. 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 star-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 atDrueBeDo@mac.com.

An Autopsy of the Bernie Sanders Campaign

Sep15

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.


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Come Celebrate High Holidays with Tikkun and Rabbi Michael Lerner in Berkeley this October

Sep15

by: Staci Akselrod on September 15th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

A dictionary open to the definition of love. Source: Flickr (Il Mago di Oz).

Dear Reader,

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.

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Bal Taschit: What’s Wrong With the Jewish Law Against Destruction and Waste — and How to Fix It

Sep8

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:


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When Iraq Expelled Its Jews to Israel – The Inside Story

Sep7

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.


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Tikkun’s Interview with Dr. Jill Stein

Sep7

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.

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JILL STEIN

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.

 

RABBI LERNER

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?

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