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.

A Poor People’s Campaign Activist Reports on Its Reality in Greensboro North Carolina

A Greensboro Social Justice Activist on the Poor People’s Campaign

We are two weeks into a six-week season launch of moral resistance and revival when my friend and mentor of nearly fifty years, Reverend Nelson Johnson, brings those assembled up to date. His words thrill me when he says that the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival “has the greatest potential of any grassroots movement in the nation to shift the moral narrative and transform our country.”

Launched on May 14th, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris, the first phase of the Poor People’s Campaign concludes on June 23, 2018, when a mass mobilization will bring thousands of people from states around the country to the US Capitol in Washington, DC. They will come as part of a movement that demands a moral awakening for our country. Many more, undoubtedly, will join the current foot soldiers of this righteous campaign. To those justice-loving folks assembled in Greensboro, NC, and already feeling the angst of our troubled times, an awareness of the dangerous and critical point we have reached was perhaps the reason they became affiliated with the two-year old  local organization, Democracy Greensboro, in the first place.

Israeli Mental Health Professionals on Recent Events in Gaza

 Editor’s Note:  Many Americans and American  Jews rejoice in encountering the psychologists in Israel who are retaining sanity in the midst of so much brutality and craziness.–Rabbi Michael Lerner    rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com

Israeli mental health professionals’ statement regarding the recent events in Gaza

22.05.18

We invite mental health professionals around the world to sign, by filling the form below, the following statement, which was initiated by the members of the Israeli group Psychoactive – Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights.As members of Psychoactive – Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights, we wish to join our colleagues from the Arab Psychological Association in condemning the Israeli military activity within the Gaza Strip and the massive sniper fire that was directed at unarmed protesters during the Great Return March in Gaza. We express our deep sorrow for the hurt inflicted on Palestinian protesters and are gravely concerned about the disastrous physical and psychological consequences of the massive use of arms against unarmed people. The events in Gaza have taken place in the context of a continuous siege that has severely limited the residents’ freedom of movement and their political rights, in addition to reducing their access to drinkable water, electricity and medical treatment. On the backdrop of the grave suffering caused by these conditions, and the lack of prospects for a better future, many Gazan Palestinians feel the need to resist even if that means risking their lives. In situations of continuous oppression, witnessing and validation of the traumatic experiences are of great importance.

Interview with Ehud Barak (former Prime Minister of Israel) and Steve Zunes’ response

Editor’s note: this interview took place before the killings of over 100 Palestinians and the wounding of several thousand at the fence separating Israel from Gaza in late April and May ( sorry that it took this long to get it transcribed and edited)  so this interview focused on the book by Ehud Barak which was about to be released in the US in May with its representative presentation of how many in the Labor Party in Israel continue to think. I did not press Barak on many points because I had  been told by many who know how he operates (as a former Commander in Chief of the IDF used to giving orders and not being challenged) that doing so would likely have ended the interview at that point and in any event would not have convinced him of the Tikkun perspective. I had been led to believe that Barak had become more moderate in his political worldview since the time he held power, so I was deeply disappointed to hear him saying nothing more than the hasbara (Israeli government and its allies propaganda) without any acknowledgment of Israel’s part in creating the conflict and keeping it going. At first I thought to just forget about posting this but since Barak is on a book tour to promote his new book, I thought you might want to have this and share it with others. I’ve inivted Professor Stephen Zunes to respond to this interview (you’ll find his response below the interview with Barak).

Hamas’ bombing of an Israeli kindergarten is also outrageous!

Those of us who are critical of Israeli treatment of Palestinians must from time to time remind our communities that the dictators of Gaza, the Hamas group of Islamic extremists including the group Islamic Jihad, are as distorted and immoral in their way as Israel has been toward the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza. There is no ethical excuse for Hamas bombing a school yard, thankfully a short while before the kindergarten children and staff arrived, as they did on Wednesday May 30. It is no excuse to say that Israel has done far worse toward Gaza. Yes, it has–but that doesn’t provide an argument for why Hamas should target civilians. Israel’s evil deeds in killing unarmed demonstrators last week at the Gaza fence does not make Hamas’ activity legitimate.

2 Tikkun perspectives on Gaza, Israel and Palestine

Below are two perspectives both of which deserve to be taken seriously even though they differ in tone and direction. Tikkun has always supported open debate and disagreement among those committed to healing and transforming the world. Or as the Jewish tradition said, when rabbis Hillel and Shamai appealed to the heavenly God to resolve which position was most in accord with the divine will, the voice from heaven responded “this one AND this one are both the words of the living God.” Zionism has Become an Existential Threat—to Jews
by Mark LeVine

With each new death in Gaza the Israeli government is not only sealing the judgement of history as to the irredeemably racist and violent core of Zionist nationalism, it is also flashing a giant red light at Jews everywhere, warning us that the movement started ostensibly to protect and normalize Jewish existence has become an existential threat—to Jews. What else can one reasonably conclude when a new American embassy is opened to great fanfare in Jerusalem, its inauguration “blessed” by two pastors who openly call for the eternal damnation of the Jews as Israeli and Diaspora Jewish leaders beam with pride and sip champagne, while sixty miles away young Jews, in the name of their religion, massacre dozens of unarmed Palestinian women, men, children, elderly and young with utter inhumanity and impunity.

1968: A Missed Chance for Socialism

1968: A Missed Chance for Socialism
Dr. Dieter Duhm

Precisely 50 years ago, the international anti-imperialistic students’ movement culminated in the uprisings in France. At that time, Dieter Duhm, a psychoanalyst and sociologist, was a spokesman of the “new left” in the German students’ movement and coined the slogan, “Revolution without emancipation is counterrevolution.” He deepened the idea of merging the political revolution on the outer with a liberation from the structures of fear in the inner in his best-selling book Angst im Kapitalismus [Fear in Capitalism] in 1972. Ultimately, this exploration brought him to initiate a radical social experiment that evolved into the Tamera Peace Research & Education Center in Portugal in 1995. The radical critique of capitalism requires the concept of a comprehensive alternative. What are the structures of post-capitalist society?

Introduction to Exploring Identity Politics

I first got introduced to identity politics growing up during and after the Holocaust. For large numbers of Jews at that time the murder of one out of every three Jews on the planet Earth who were alive in 1940 was a trauma that not only shaped our lives  and consciousness, but was also then passed on to the next several generations. God had failed to show up and save the Jews. Much of the rest of the world failed to intervene to save Jews. The U.S. turned away refugee ships and most of the countries of the world were unwilling to open their doors to Jewish refugees who were often forced to return to countries dominated by the Nazis, from which they were soon sent to their deaths.