Tikkun Daily button

Archive for the ‘General News’ Category



A Modest Proposal

Apr1

by: on April 1st, 2017 | 1 Comment »

We know that President Donald Trump says he has the safety of the America people in mind when he imposes travel bans from first seven then six predominantly Muslim countries. Both bans have been held up by the federal courts. Let us presume that Trump is serious about the safety of the American people. Thus, I offer this modest proposal.

Write an executive order and support legislation in Congress that would prohibit men from buying a gun until they are at least 65-years-old. Studies show that nearly 90 people in the United States die from gun violence every day God sends. Nearly 55 of those deaths are suicides. Women who live in households with a gun are more likely to be injured or killed by a gun, and children are often not only victims of accidental shootings by other children, but they are the shooters. In contrast, no one from countries who are subject to the travel ban have perpetrated terrorist attacks in the United States. We are killing ourselves.

I can hear the howls of “what about our second amendment rights?” echoing across the land. I say: “what about them?” We have a Congress, especially the United States Senate that does not give a hoot about the Constitution, especially if there is a president in the White House not of their party. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led his party in stealing a Supreme Court seat from a duly elected president who won with a majority of the popular vote as well a majority in the Electoral College, to make way for a pick by a president who did not win the popular vote. Never mind the Constitution.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia writing for the majority that said people have a constitutional right to bear arms apart from military service, read words into the text that were not there. So much for strict constructionism. Further, whenever there is a mass shooting pro-gun people say that the problem is not guns, rather we ought to think more carefully about treating mental health and keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues. Since Trump has been president, the Republicans in Congress have made it easier for people with mental health issues to own guns, and their healthcare replacement plan would have dropped the requirement for insurance companies to cover mental health.

Read more...

Join Us for A Liberation Passover Seder on Tuesday, April 11th (the 2nd Seder night) at 6:00 pm Special Guests: Emma’s Revolution

Mar31

by: on March 31st, 2017 | 1 Comment »

 

Register now:www.beyttikkun.org/seder. Registration closes Monday, April 3rd

We survived Pharaoh in Egypt–we can survive and even triumph over the contemporary Pharaoh’s in Washington D.C. and Wall Street, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, China, Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Turkey, Korea, the Philippines, and many other places around the world!

The ancient Israelites didn’t believe salvation was possible, but it was–and so it will be in our own times, though things look dark and discouraging at the moment as we enter another month of the Trump Administration (most recently dismantling the environmental protections that so many of us campaigned for years to get our government to create). Come participate and revive your hopeful energies for the struggles ahead!!!!

This Seder is for people of all faith traditions who wish to recommit to the struggles for liberationand re-affirm your commitment to a world of love, generosity, justice, environmental sustainability and nonviolence.

We are especially pleased and honored to have Pat Humphries and Sandy O. (Emma’s Revolution) joining us at the Seder and enriching the experience with their music and teaching. So much of their music has become a “staple” in the repertoire of songs of freedom, peace and liberation. Hopefully you’ve seen and heard them, most recently in a knockout concert at the Freight and Salvage.

The Seder focuses not only on our own liberation from slavery, butalsoon celebrating the liberation struggles of all people through history and continuing in our own lifetimes, while including all the traditions of Passover.

Led by Rabbi Michael Lerner, Cat Zavis, Ami Goodman and Abby Caplin with special guests Emma’s Revolution (Pat Humphries and Sandy O.) http://www.emmasrevolution.com/

Please share this onFacebookandTwitter-you probably have some people on your lists that would love this event if you were kind enough to let them know about it. This seder is not only for Jews–everyone is welcome.

UN: Syrian Refugees Now at 5 million!!!

Mar31

by: Kale Malely Rachameem on March 31st, 2017 | 1 Comment »

[The number of refugees who have fled the war in Syria now exceeds
five million with millions more displaced internally, according to the
UN.
Syrians have poured across their borders since anti-government
protests in 2011 spiralled into a full-blown conflict between rebels,
government troops, and foreign backers.
The first three months of 2017 saw more than 250,000 additional
Syrians register as refugees bringing the total to 5.1 million, the
UN's refugee agency UNHCR said on its website, without providing an
explanation for the apparent surge.
...
As fighting in Syria continues, UNHCR estimated another 6.3 million
people are internally displaced]

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/number-syrian-refugees-passes-million-170330132040023.html

SYRIA’S CIVIL WAR15 HOURS AGO

UN: Number of Syrian refugees passes five million
UN report says Turkey now hosts nearly three million Syrians, with
47,000 more coming since February alone.

The number of refugees who have fled the war in Syria now exceeds five
million with millions more displaced internally, according to the UN.

Syrians have poured across their borders since anti-government
protests in 2011 spiralled into a full-blown conflict between rebels,
government troops, and foreign backers.

The first three months of 2017 saw more than 250,000 additional
Syrians register as refugees bringing the total to 5.1 million, the
UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said on its website, without providing an
explanation for the apparent surge.

“It’s not about the number, it’s about the people,” said UNHCR
spokesman Babar Baloch, noting the conflict had now lasted longer than
World War II. “We’re trying to look for understanding, solidarity and
humanity.”

Turkey continues to host the highest number of Syrians displaced by
the conflict – nearly three million people. It saw an increase of
47,000 more refugees since February, Baloch said.

READ MORE: The harrowing evacuation of east Aleppo

The five-million milestone came a year to the day after UNHCR asked
other countries to start resettling at least 10 percent of the most
vulnerable Syrian refugees. So far only 250,000 places have been
offered.

“We’re asking for more legal pathways for Syrians to travel to other
countries so that they don’t end up dying in the seas like in the
Mediterranean,” said Baloch.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting from Geneva, said the “enormity
and colossal suffering” of the refugees is evident from the UNHCR
report.

The total number of Syrian refugees abroad stood at 4.6 million at the
end of 2015 and rose to 4.85 million by the end of last year,
according to the agency’s data.

The agency estimated another 6.3 million people have been internally displaced.

As fighting in Syria continues, UNHCR estimated another 6.3 million
people are internally displaced [Reuters]
Financial aid falling short

Lebanon has more than one million Syrian refugees, while Jordan has
657,000, with others spread across Iraq, Egypt and other North African
countries.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, said
the actual number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is much higher than
the official figure, with more people streaming into the country in
the last few weeks.

UN cuts financial help to Syrian workers in Lebanon
He said most of the new arrivals have not yet registered with the UN,
and shortages of food and water is common.

War-torn Iraq also hosts 233,224 Syrian refugees in the Kurdish north.

Iraq itself has an estimated 3.5 million people internally displaced,
according to Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel Hamid, reporting from east of
Mosul.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have also fled to Europe, but not all
have been granted refugee status.

Syrians have also fled to Europe in large numbers, making 884,461
asylum claims between April 2011 and October 2016. Almost two-thirds
of the claims were in Germany and Sweden.

Hundreds of thousands more live in Gulf countries that are not party
to the 1951 Refugee Convention, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the
United Arab Emirates, so they are not recorded as refugees.

A UN-led humanitarian appeal to help Syrian refugees and support host
communities has received only six percent of the money needed this
year – $298mn out of $4.6bn target.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Martin Luther King + 50: Toward a Year of Truth and Transformation

Mar30

by: Rabbi Arthur Waskow on March 30th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Fifty years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King spoke his most profound and most prophetic sermon. At Riverside Church in New York City, with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel at his side, he addressed a group called Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam with a speech he entitled, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.”

The public face of his speech was a strong denunciation of the U. S. government’s war in Vietnam. More than half the speech took up, case by case, aspects of the war that King argued were immoral U.S. actions – lethal to the Vietnamese and to American soldiers, destructive to the War on Poverty that had been President Johnson’s domestic program, and a violation of the best American values.


Read more...

Humor From Tikkun

Mar24

by: David Tell, Tikkun Managing Editor and Chief Satirist on March 24th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

It’s not our fault, Trump declares. It never is, adds Spicer.

As the GOP-controlled House retreated from voting on an Obamacare replacement bill for the second day in a row Friday, Donald J. Trump, who had said today was do-or-die for the legislation, called the New York Times to blame the Democrats.

“If they had stood up and voted to replace the disaster that is the ACA, we wouldn’t have needed unity among our ranks” to do it, Trump said. “Nancy Pelosi is a bad, or sick, woman for opposing our offer of health care coverage to many younger, healthier and higher-earning Americans. Such a nasty woman – a terrible, low-energy leader.”


Read more...

Housing the Homeless: Universal Housing is the Answer

Mar16

by: Dan Brook on March 16th, 2017 | 4 Comments »

Homelessness itself, let alone homeless deaths, is an unnecessary tragedy and demonstrates how uncivilized of a nation we live in. We don’t need a technological fix because it’s not a technological problem. We already have everything we need to solve homelessness, and indeed even the bigger problem poverty, except the political will to do so. We tragically have a political economy that creates homelessness, while blaming the victims, and then punishes the poor for being homeless. It doesn’t have to be this way.


Read more...

Is Ryan a Religious Hypocrite? A Priestly Letter to Speaker Paul Ryan from Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox

Mar14

by: Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on March 14th, 2017 | 4 Comments »

Dear Speaker and Congressman Paul Ryan,

As a priest who commemorates his 50th year in the priesthood this year (28 as a Roman Catholic and 22 as an Episcopalian), and as your elder, I am writing you this letter because I am worried about your soul.

We all know you take good care of your body, working out frequently in the congressional gym we taxpayers provide for those in Congress, and that is a good thing. But I am concerned that you are neglecting your soul. It too requires work-outs and practice to stay healthy.

You claim to be a good and a practicing Catholic Christian but I have serious doubts that you are. Our Christian beliefs include these words of Jesus after all: “What does it profit a person if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?” These powerful words are surely important for anyone serving in public office or any other places of responsibility, whether in government or business or church or wherever. Yes, they even apply to your close buddies the Koch brothers, upon whom you depend so fully for your income and ideas and campaigns and job.

You see, another passage that grounds Catholicism and Christianity is found in Matthew 25: “Do it to the least and you do it to me.” Not to mention the Golden Rule which is found in Matthew 7:12 and is reflected in some form in every world religion since the time of Hammurabi: “Sowhatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this isthe Law and the Prophets.”


Read more...

Trump’s War on Dangerous Memory and Critical Thought

Mar14

by: Henry A. Giroux on March 14th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.

― Hannah Arendt

People living in the United States have entered into one of the most dangerous periods of the 21st century. President Donald Trump is not only a twisted caricature of every variation of economic, political, educational, and social fundamentalism, he is the apogee of an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian culture committed to destroying free speech, civil rights, women’s reproductive freedoms, and all vestiges of economic justice and democracy.

Trump is the fascist shadow that has been lurking in the dark since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Authoritarianism has now become viral in America, pursuing new avenues to spread its toxic ideology of bigotry, cruelty, and greed into every facet of society. Its legions of “alt-right” racists, misogynists, and xenophobic hate-mongers now expose themselves publicly, without apology, knowing full well that they no longer have to use code for their hatred of all those who do not fit into their white-supremacist and ultra-nationalist script.[i]

Trump’s victory makes clear that the economic crisis and the misery it has spurred has not been matched by an ideological crisis– a crisis of ideas, education, and values. Critical analysis and historical memory have given way to a culture of spectacles, sensationalism, and immediacy.[ii] Dangerous memories are now buried in a mass bombardment of advertisements, state sanctioned lies, and a political theater of endless spectacles. The mainstream media is now largely an adjunct of the entertainment industries and big corporations. Within the last 40 years training has taken the place of critical education, and the call for job skills has largely replaced critical thinking. Without an informed public, there is no resistance in the name of democracy and justice; nor is there a model of individual and collective agency rising to such an occasion. Of course, power is never entirely on the side of domination, and in this coming era of acute repression, we will have to redefine politics, reclaim the struggle to produce meaningful educational visions and practices, find new ways to change individual and collective consciousness, take seriously the need to engage in meaningful dialogue with people left out of the political landscape, and overcome the factionalism of single-issue movements in order to build broad based social movements.


Read more...

Us and the others: Jewish universalism

Mar13

by: Giorgio Gomel on March 13th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

In Shimon Peres’s funeral ceremony last October in Jerusalem, Tsvia Walden, Shimon’s daughter,  not only recited Kaddish according to the egalitarian practice of Reform Judaism but she added  to the original text,  ending with “Oseh shalom bimromau hu berahamau ya’aseh shalom alenu ve al kol Israel” (May the One who creates peace in the heavens bring peace to us and to all Israel), “ve al kol b’nei adam” (and to all humankind). It is a common practice of conservative and reformed congregations to say “ve al kol anshei tevel” (all people who dwell on the universe) or “ yoshvei tevel” (all the living beings of the universe) – an even more inclusive expression, including animals.

The theme evoked by Peres’s daughter in her recasting of the prayer is a complex one, pertaining to Judaism as well as to other cultures, faiths, and  doctrines ; it concerns the relationship between the “universal,” i.e. values and principles of “togetherness,” of the unity of humankind, and the “particular,” i.e. diversity in its manifold manifestations.

Ephraim Lessing in his Nathan the Wise in the heyday of Enlightenment at the end of 1700 portrays a wise man, advocate of religious tolerance. Nathan asks rhetorically: “are Jews and Christians Christians and Jews before they are human beings?” implying that one is a human being first and a Jew or Christian or other second. I think of a variation. Nathan who asserts and teaches he is a human being by way of being Jewish and analogously  Christian or Muslim by way of belonging  Christianity or Islam. Being Jewish or Christian or other is a variation on a single theme: humankind.


Read more...

Hidden Figures

Mar11

by: on March 11th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

For me, the most splendid moment of the 89th annual Academy Awards was the surprise appearance of Katherine Johnson, one of the NASA mathematicians portrayed in the movie “Hidden Figures.” The 98-year-old wheel-chair bound Johnson was beautiful in a sky blue dress as she graciously received a well-deserved standing ovation with a simple “Thank you.” She has lived to witness the world’s appreciation. However, as Black History Month – February – becomes Women’s History Month – March, and as we have witnessed International Women’s Day demonstrations, it is important to recognize that at this moment in time, the story of Katherine Johnson and her colleagues inspires us to keep our grace through this moment of madness.

The movie is an excellent portrayal of women working in the early space programs as computers doing the mathematics necessary to get a man into space and back safely. It takes place at a time in American history when apartheid ruled the land both in overt and covert ways and when the space race was a visible aspect of the Cold War. In the movie we see the inconvenience and stupid waste of time of an apartheid system where African Americans were assigned to certain bathrooms in certain buildings. In the movie, Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, has to run across the campus to use the rest room. Here the movie takes dramatic license because the real Johnson did not do this. She simply ignored the rules and used the nearest women’s rest room.

There is another example of the way the women maintained their dignity and grace in the midst of a dehumanizing system that is described in the book “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. (Do not walk, but run to your nearest bookstore, library, e-reader and get your copy of the book. It fills in details that the movie did not have the space to include.) Shetterly describes the persistence of the women in the lunch room to remove the sign that designated the “colored “section. The woman would remove the sign, but some unseen hand would place another. They kept removing the sign. Another sigh would appear. Until one day, they removed the sign and the sign did not reappear. These women were confident in the knowledge of their own worth, of their own humanity, and they acted accordingly.

They found their humanity not only in their own excellence, but they found it in community, in family, church, sororities, and other civic organizations. They were not only encouraged by their parents, teachers, and husbands, but they also lived the maximum of “lift as you climb.” They were leaders and mentors in their communities.

The story of these women reminds us that the only limit to what we can achieve is the limit of our own imaginations. Their story helps us and young people to see beyond the stereotypes that seek to limit us and who we think we are or can be.

Read more...