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Archive for the ‘Politics & Society’ Category



Curiouser and Curiouser

May3

by: Victor Grossman, Tikkun's Correspondent in Berlin on May 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

A story worthy of a mystery author – or dramatist – has been hitting German headlines. It began when police at the Vienna airport in Austria arrested a first lieutenant of the German Bundeswehr army when he picked up a pistol hidden some weeks earlier in a bathroom. He denied it was his and was released. But his fingerprints somehow matched those of a refugee who had applied for German asylum two years earlier.

 

Like Alice in Wonderland when she got bigger and bigger, the story turned “curiouser and curiouser” and here too, odd language was important. This young blond German officer, 28, had been registered in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria as a refugee from Damascus in Syria. He had said he was Catholic but the men of ISIS had persecuted him and killed some of his family because of his partially Jewish background and Jewish name – “David Benjamin”.Strangely enough, he spoke little or no Arabic and was questioned in French – with a German accent. No-one had ever been suspicious, or so it was claimed. He then seems to have commuted between his job as officer in a mixed French-German unit in French Alsace and his false existence as a Syrian refugee in Germany.

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The Process of Creation as the New Paradigm for our Civilization

May3

by: Gennady Shkliarevsky on May 3rd, 2017 | 3 Comments »

There is a wonderful process at work in our universe.  As we look around, we see its remarkable creations:  particles, atoms, stars, planets, galaxies, life, and much else. The roots of this process go to the very nature of our universe.

The main property of our universe is its uniqueness:  it is all there is.  There is nothing outside it; in fact, there is no outside.  As there is nothing outside our universe, nothing can come into it and nothing can disappear from it because there is nowhere to disappear.  Consequently, everything must be conserved.  Conservation that is fundamental to our universe originates in its uniqueness and gives rise to the process of creation.


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Standing Rock in Colombia: A Real Vision of Peace After Decades of War and Displacement

May3

by: Sabine Lichtenfels on May 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

I am writing this from Colombia, where we – a small group from the Global Campus from Tamera/Portugal, Bolivia, Brazil and Canada – have been invited to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the peace community San José de Apartadó. Peace activists, farmers, local indigenous people, representatives of embassies of various countries and of the United Nations, as well as human rights lawyers are meeting in the remote region in the tropical northern part of the country to honor a peace community, which has been in existence for twenty years – despite all attacks, violence and murders. It is horrifying to read the reports by the peasants and the indigenous people – the women and men who are daily risking their lives to counter the policies of displacement with their commitment to life and hope.

In this country, in which the FARC guerilla’s agreement to disarm is being celebrated before the eyes of the world as the beginning of a new time of peace, the misery of the poor people, the indigenous population and those persecuted has in reality increased. It is the same the world over: Those who have truly earned the Nobel Peace Prize and who have been practicing non-violent resistance for decades, these communities and committed peace workers are being persecuted and maligned and often have to pay for their commitment with their lives.


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Parashat Tazria-Metzora

May3

by: Lisa Rappaport on May 3rd, 2017 | No Comments »

[Editor's note: Some of the weekly Torah readings--called the weekly parasha-- are hard to relate to, and this past week's reading, Parshat Tazria/Metzorah, is among them. More difficult. Rabbinic student in the Aleph program Lisa Rappaport gave one of the most interesting approaches to it I haveve encountered, so I am sharing it with our readers.--Rabbi Michael Lerner]

This week’s parasha, Tazria-Metzora, is challenging, with parts that seem completely unrelatable to our lives. It is in this parasha that we learn about tzaarat, a spiritual affliction causing a white discoloration of the skin. It is often translated (or rather mistranslated) as leprosy. But leprosy is a physical condition with a physical cause, while tzaarat is a spiritual affliction that renders the sufferer tameh, or ritually impure.

Several things cause tzaarat, but the primary cause is leshon hara, translated literally as the evil tongue and commonly understood as negative speech (gossip). While tzaarat may seem strange and unrelatable, whatisrelevant in every era, in every generation, is the power of our words. Torah gives us the opportunity a couple times a year to examine our relationship to leshon hara-it comes up again later when Miriam is afflicted with with tzaarat. This is a good thing, because leshon hara is an insidious and destructive phenomenon. Of the 43 sins listed in the Al Chet confessional prayer, 11 of them are committed through negative speech.


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Equalitarianism

May2

by: Dan Brook on May 2nd, 2017 | 1 Comment »

There are, tragically, many insidious discriminations, aggressions, oppressions, and other social injustices — micro, meso, and, macro — based on a variety of socially-constructed divisions, fears, and hatreds. Just as tragically, we get caught up in these, to varying degrees and with devastating consequences. Perhaps Dr. Paul Farmer isolated the phenomenon: “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” The antidote to this social disease is equalitarianism.

Instead of singularly focusing on the important individual problems of classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, ableism, looksism, or other forms of what Robert Fuller calls rankism that do not necessarily have a catchy name, and instead of negatively being against one or more of these tragically otherized divisions, we could positively embrace an all-encompassing equalitarianism and each be an equalitarian (a little-known term that has been around since about 1799).


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A Traditional African-American Christian Prayer

May2

by: on May 2nd, 2017 | 3 Comments »

May 4 is National Day of Prayer.

In advance of that day, I offer this traditional African-American Christian prayer. My ancestors used their faith to survive the horrors of the Middle Passage, slavery, Jim Crow and every manner of institutional and structural violence with their souls in tact. This was not only a political act, but it was a revolutionary act.

Faith and prayer were, and still are, means of resistance:

 

O God, It is once more and again that we come before your Throne of Grace humble as we know how, head bent and body bowed, empty vessels before a full fountain asking you to be mercy because mercy suits our case.

O God, we know that you are the One who sits high and looks low. You know our down-sitting and our up-rising. We are weak and you are strong, and we ask you to prop us up on every leaning side. Put a hedge of protection around us to keep us safe from all hurt, harm, and danger.

O God, we thank you for another day’s journey. We thank you that you woke us up this morning clothed in our right minds, that our bed was not our cooling board and our sheets were not our winding sheets. We thank you O God for one more day to raise our voices and to give you praise because you told us in your Word to let everything that has breath to praise the LORD. We thank you God for new mercies morning by morning and that you supply our every need every day.

O God, we ask you to order our steps in your Word. Help us to do your will your way. Give us the wisdom to know your will and the courage to do it. Help us to treat everybody right, to treat everybody the way we want to be treated. Give us more love, and help us to live diligent to the full assurance of hope until the end. For it is given once for us to die, and after death the judgment.

And when our time on this earth is over, when we have run our race and finished our course, when we come to the chilly waters of the River Jordan to lay down our sword and shield and study war no more, shape your Word and take us safely to the other shore where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, where every day is Sunday and sabbath will have no end.

Gather us to our people where there is only howdy howdy and never good-bye, where we will sing and shout and can’t nobody put us out.

World Without End.

We pray it all in the matchless mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder of JustPeaceTheory.com and author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation.”

Nuclear is NOT an “Option”

Apr20

by: Lynn Feinerman on April 20th, 2017 | 3 Comments »

Digging in my tiny Jewish library this Passover season, I came across a short contribution to a published symposium, made by Rabbi Nehemia Polen, a well-known scholar, author and congregational rabbi.

Polen wrote his short piece in 1986, for the literary publication New Traditions. But his words were ominously current for me, discovered as if by what we Jews call “hashgachah pratit,” a kind of destined timeliness.

He was considering the phrase in Jewish prayer liturgy, “hem yevoshu ve’yehatu mi’gevuratam,” translated “may the nations of the world be put to shame and crushed despite their power.” He meditated on the meaning of this phrase, and its intention in prayer:


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Anthology Double Exposure, Editor’s Preface

Apr12

by: Samah Sabawi and Stephen Orlov on April 12th, 2017 | No Comments »

Double Exposure: Plays of the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas is the first English-language anthology worldwide in any genre of drama, prose or poetry by Jewish and Palestinian writers. Playwrights Samah Sabawi and Stephen Orlov address in this slightly updated anthology preface the artistic and political challenges they faced on their journey across the cultural divide to edit this groundbreaking collection of plays about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

How do two strangers, a Boston-born Jew in Canada and a Gaza-born Palestinian in Australia, come together to choose seven plays for such a groundbreaking anthology about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The starting point for us was trust, something we felt from the moment we read each other’s plays about the issue. What made our process work were mutual respect, honest exchange and guiding principles.

Diaspora writers outside the conflict zone offer a distinct viewpoint. Many of us live in multicultural societies that accord us both privilege and perspective, enough that we view the conflict through a more diverse prism and experience its impact differently.


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Job Opening at Tikkun: Managing Editor

Apr4

by: on April 4th, 2017 | No Comments »

You Probably Know Someone Who’d Love This Job as Managing Editor to Tikkun magazine! So spread the word on social media and to your friends, contacts, students, colleagues, etc. 

Please read this thoroughly to the end because if you are interested in this job, this note sets forth several steps in the application process.

Tikkun magazine is looking for a managing editor to produce its award-winning print magazine and manage its lively online content–someone who is aligned with our goals (described in the articles mentioned below) to heal and transform the world. Ideally, you have prior editorial experience, but we would be open to hiring an academic, a social change activist, a religious leader, a social change theorist, a psychotherapist, or someone who has the intellectual sophistication and also has editing skills even without previous journalistic training to fill this role. But it would be someone who is deeply aligned with the ideals and vision of Tikkun magazine.


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“Get Out”: the Hidden Injuries of Race and the Horror Genre

Apr4

by: Martha Sonnenberg on April 4th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

James Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in a Village” was written more than sixty years ago.  In that essay he described his feelings of extreme alienation as the only black person in the all-white Swiss village home of his white lover, but the essay really spoke to his feelings about being black in America. He wrote, “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”  The essay is an uncanny precedent to the new film “Get Out”, written and directed Jordan Peele, and described as a “social thriller.” Having just seen the documentary “I am Not Your Negro” about James Baldwin’s exploration of the civil rights martyrs and his incisive perceptions of America’s pervasive façade about race, I had Baldwin on my mind when I saw “Get Out”, almost as if he was sitting next to me as I watched the film.  This film is brilliant and challenging—to see its horror genre as diminishing is to miss the whole point of the film.


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