How rootedness in biblical tradition might inspire civil disobedience

Ordained from Hebrew College of Boston in 2014, Rabbi Alana Alpert serves a dual position as rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah and as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice. Because they have been working closely together on the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign, she invited Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann to share the teaching for Rosh Hashanah. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Bill is a non-violent activist, author, and United Methodist pastor recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit. What follows are their remarks for the day.  

 

Rabbi Alana Alpert: Shanah tovah!!!

The Obligation to Speak Up in the Age of Trump

 

David Lehrer, who headed the West Coast ADL for 27 years, and now runs Community Advocates, Inc., a non-profit since then, sent Rabbi Moshe Levin this piece he published.  Rabbi Levin adds: “I can not imagine a better expression/response to the Jewish establishment who say, Sha, Shtil, don’t be political – we just want religion from the pulpit. ”  Rabbi Lerner adds: For those who use the High Holidays to address everything except the destruction of the life support system of planet earth, the immoral treatment of refugees, the vast economic and political inequalities in this society, the reactionary nationalism that Trump’s election has promoted both here and around the world, and who instead focus on narrowly theological questions or urge a spirituality that is focused on being present to the present moment in their lives, but never includes in that present moment what is happening to the tens of millions of people who are being badly hurt by what the U.S. is dong and what Israel is doing at the present moment [implicitly denying that we are all ONE and part of the unity of all being and that the pain of others around the world and in our society ricochets into all of our lives creating depression and despair in ways of which we need to become conscious), I say: please read and re-read the Haftorah for Yom Kippur in which Isaiah, 3500 years ago, standing outside the ancient Temple in Jerusalem to those going to worship God while ignoring the evils and suffering around them. (Isaiah 57, sentences 14 to ch. 58: 14). The Obligation to Speak Up in the Age of Trump
By David A. Lehrer
dlehrer@cai-la.org
Community Advocates, Inc., 865 South Figueroa St., 3339, Los Angeles, CA 90017August 2018
 Editor’s note:
Many in the Jewish world has been fascinated by the internecine discussion on the role of our leaders, from Federations to rabbis, regarding speaking up about Donald Trump.

AntiSemitism & Corbyn’s run for Prime Minister of the UK

 

[Editor’s note: this article appeared in Mondoweiss, an important cite presenting frequently accurate critiques of Israeli policies. It is written by an author who has never been willing to write for Tikkun, perhaps because we address not only the suffering of the Palestinian people but also the ongoing PTSD of the Jewish people as well. Nevertheless, his criticisms of those who critique leftist critiques of Israeli policy are often on target. In presenting his views, we do so not to endorse them but to alert our readers to this debate about Corbyn’s antiSemitism. While I do NOT accept many of the arguments put forward in this article, I do agree with its major thesis–Corbyn, the head of the British Labor Party, is not an anti-Semite, and it is a disservice to the Jewish people to raise that claim against progressives whose primary sins are that a. they have strong criticisms of Israeli policy toward Palestinians, and b. that they refuse to allow the pro-Israel lobbies around the world to define what is or is not acceptable criticism of Israel.

Another Anti-war Hero Passes: David McReynolds

A Death in the Family:

David McReynolds, Pacifist, Socialist, Ailurophile

by Judith Mahoney Pasternak

A great force for a peaceful world left the planet when David McReynolds, who for decades was the best-known voice of American radical pacifism, died August 17 of injuries from a fall in his East Village home. He was 88 and had spent almost 40 years on the staff of the War Resisters League as a self-described “movement bureaucrat.” He ran twice for the presidency and once for Congress, traveled the world promoting nonviolent resistance, wrote one book and innumerable articles and pamphlets, came out as gay long before most people in public life did, and documented the movements of his time in indelible photographs. He was one of the last (and youngest) of a heroic generation of pacifists who resisted war and militarism between World War II and the Vietnam War and went on to help forge a vibrant peace movement in the aftermath of the wars.  

Life Before WRL

Born in 1929 into a comfortable Baptist family in Los Angeles, McReynolds early on evinced his commitment to pacifism and Marxism, saying much later that he “didn’t see how one could be one without being the other.”  Equally apparent by his adolescence, if not before, were the outsize contradictions that would characterize his adult life. A tall, gangling teenager, aware of his homosexuality from the age of ten and, as he later wrote, “haunted” by it, in high school he joined the World Fellowship Club to oppose U.S. Cold War policies.

Can the World Unite Against Trumpism?

Editor’s Note: Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com for sharing this article with Tikkun. Can Donald Trump Unite the World (Against Himself)? The Rise of an Anti-Trump Movement Globally — and on His Home Turf
By Dilip Hiro

One thing already seems clear in the Trump era: the world will not turn out to be the American president’s playground.  His ultra-unilateralist, rejectionist policies on trade, the Iran denuclearization agreement, the costs of defense, and climate change are already creating an incipient anti-Trump movement globally (and in the United States as well). To a remarkable degree, the countries he has targeted are banding together to oppose him and his policies.  That still inchoate but gathering opposition assures that, whatever Donald Trump’s view of America may be, it is no longer — in the phrase coined 20 years ago by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — the “indispensable nation.” Abroad or even at home, with the president facing increasingly strong headwinds on climate change at the state and local level, we’re entering a new world order on the heels of the collapsed American domination of the past three-quarters of a century. Let’s consider the opposition Trump has generated on an issue-by-issue basis.

Uri Avnery, leader of the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom, 1923-2018

Tikkun grieves and mourns the passing of the founder and leader of Israel’s peace movement, Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery. Until the last moment he continued on the way he had traveled all his life. On Saturday, two weeks ago, he collapsed in his home when he was about to leave for the Rabin Square and attend a demonstration against the “Nation State Law”, a few hours after he wrote a sharp article against that law. For several decades, Avnery was a columnist for Tikkun magazine, sharing his wisdom and insights with our Tikkun readers. When I met with him in Tel Aviv I found him to be a wise and passionate and sensitive human being, capable to seeing the humanity of the people who criticized him and capable of seeing the faults of his allies in both Israel and Palestine. Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World.

Tens of Thousands of Israelis Protest the New “nation state law” in Tel Aviv

Read the full story at : https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-arabs-to-lead-tel-aviv-march-in-protest-against-nation-state-l-1.6365103

Tens of Thousands Gather in Tel Aviv for Nation-state Law Protest Led by Israeli Arabs
Protesters waving Palestinian and Israeli flags, chanting: ‘Nation-state is apartheid’ ■ Netanyahu: There is no better testimony for the necessity of the law’

Bar Peleg and

Jack Khoury 11.08.2018 22:07 Updated: 10:39 PM

 

Thousands of demonstrators protesting the nation-state law in Tel Aviv, August 11, 2018.Tomer Appelbaum Tens of thousands of demonstrators protesting the nation-state law gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday night in the wake of last week’s mass march, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to protest in solidarity with the country’s Druze community.Demonstrators marched from Rabin Square to the plaza of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which began at 8:00 P.M. Protesters gathered at Rabin Square. A rally under the name “Abolish Nation-state Law – Yes to Equality” took place after the march.Some protesters came waving Israeli and Palestinian flags, despite the organizers’ request not to bring flags in order to avoid conflict. Demonstrators held signs emblazoned with statements such as “Nation-state is apartheid.” “There is a law here and a government that wrote a fascist, discriminatory law… Netanyahu thinks he will succeed in discriminating, but we have made progress,” an marcher from the southern, Bedouin-majority city of Rahat told Haaretz.

When did Hitler Decide to Murder all Jews?

Adolf and Amin by Uri Avneri

28/07/18

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is a perfect diplomat, a clever politician, a talented leader of the army. Lately, another jewel has been added to his crown: he is also a gifted story-teller. He has provided an answer to a question that has perplexed historians for a long time: When and how did Adolf Hitler decide to exterminate the Jews? There was no agreed-upon answer. There were those who thought that it happened already in his youth in Vienna, others guessed that it happened after World War I in Munich, or when he wrote his book Mein Kampf in Landsberg prison in 1924.

Support the NAACP opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

Tikkun and the NSP encourage you to speak out to your elected representatives and ask them to speak to U.S. Senators about the importance of blocking any Trump nominee till the new Congress to be elected in November takes office in Januarny 2019–the same procedure that the Republicans insisted upon when blocking Obama’s nominee for this same office. And we fully agree with the position of the NAACP on this particular nominee. And we’d add that this nominee is likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and many other important past liberal, civil liberties and human rights decisions of the Court in the past 100 years. –Rabbi Michael Lerner

 

BALTIMORE (July 9, 2018)—NAACP, the nation’s foremost civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:

Today, our nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment transformed our democracy by guaranteeing to all persons the right to equal protection under the law.

Celebrating July 4th in the Trump Years

Celebrating July 4th in the Trump Years: Make it Inter-Dependence Day to Challenge the Ideology of Right Wing Ultra-Nationalism 

by Rabbi Michael Lerner  editor Tikkun magazine

 

A July 4th  “ Seder” 

In past years, faced with July 4th celebrations that are focused on militarism, ultra-nationalism, and “bombs bursting in air,” many American families who do not share those values turned July 4th into another summer holiday focused on picnics, sports and fireworks while doing their best to avoid the dominant rhetoric and bombast. For the millions of us who have been outraged at the pulliing of children from the arms of their parents, and sent to places where it will be very hard to determine who their parents are, there will be an even stronger tendency to either forget about celebrating this holiday or to use it just to mourn the horrific developments that unfold week after week in this sectond year of the Trumpites. But I think we would be making a mistake to not use this moment to not only mourn, but also organize in a new way. During the Trump years I believe all of us have a unique opportunity as well as a moral obligation to  use this holiday to connect with our fellow Americans and challenge the “America First” ultra-nationalist worldview that Trump and Right-wing activists are trying to popularize. They are shifting the mainstream dialogue from its previous center-right blandly pro-capitalist worldview to an extremist right-wing nationalism, already mobilized against immigrants, those seeking humanitarian refugee status,  and environmental protections.

The Audacious and Inspirational Gift of Pride: How 50 Years of Hopeful Resistance Can Inspire Us Today

by . Rabbi Mike Moskowitz and Rev. Dr. Amy Butler 
A prominent progressive faith leader posted a question on Facebook this week asking other faith leaders and scholars “How are you doing with everything that is going on politically?”  This has been a week in which all of us are feeling the deep divisions in our country.  

Those of us to inhabit spaces of privilege may feel a growing hopelessness, like a chasm opening up in front of us these days; it’s like the advent of a deep nighttime that perhaps we have not seen in our lifetimes. We are waking up to the realities of injustice and oppression that have defined the daily living experience of too many of our neighbors. For those of us who tend faith communities and teach people of faith how to birth into the world more kindness, justice, and peace, well…times are hard.  

Folks answered the question with comments like:

“I’m angry, really angry, and when not angry, deeply depressed.”

“I kind of lost my shit in preaching class today.  I’m the professor.”

“I’m tired and worried.”

“Pretty scatterbrained and struggling to focus.  My sleeping is erratic.”

“Exhausted.”

“I felt physically ill driving to the office this morning, and realized it was a physical reaction to the news I was listening to.”

“Helpless to change the situation.”

 

Any one of us paying even the slightest attention to the atrocious policies being implemented by the American government, both within, along, and outside our borders, can’t be unfamiliar with feelings like these.  Sometimes the darkness of this world, the evil all around us, steals our joy and cripples our resolve.

How Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression

Imperial President or Emperor With No Clothes? By Nomi Prins

Leaders are routinely confronted with philosophical dilemmas. Here’s a classic one for our Trumptopian times: If you make enemies out of your friends and friends out of your enemies, where does that leave you? What does winning (or losing) really look like? Is a world in which walls of every sort encircle America’s borders a goal worth seeking?

Beyt Tikkun Member Cecilia Wambach Featured in SF Chronicle for work with refugees

Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls  members were inspired at our High Holiday services last year when Beyt Tikkun member Cecilia Wambach, a retiree, reported on her volunteer work with children refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos who had escaped from Syria and Afghanistan. Today, June 18, the S.F. Chronicle featured her work in an article depicting how she had organized others to come to Lesbos with her and provide teaching and emotional support to these young people, many of them suffering from the PTSD that led to or was caused by their loss of home and in many cases family as well. Please read the story about her at https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/East-Bay-retirees-volunteer-in-Greece-with-13001205.php

And while you are at it, please register for High Holidays with Beyt Tikkun this year at www.tikkun.org/hhd

Uri Avnery reflects on Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated prime minister of Israel

Editor’s note: Uri Avnery is the leader of the Israeli peace movement organization Gush Shalom.–rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com

 

The Siamese Twins

16/06/18

 

After commenting on most of the episodes on the first Israeli Prime Ministers in Raviv Drucker’s TV series “The Captains”, I must come back to the one whose episode I have not yet covered: Yitzhak Rabin. Let me state right from the beginning: I liked the man. He was a man after my own heart: honest, logical, straightforward, to the point. No nonsense, no small talk. You entered his room, he poured you a straight whisky (seemed to me he detested water), got you seated, and asked a question that compelled you to come straight to the point.