Overcoming Trump-ism: A New Strategy for Progressives

WE ARE DEEPLY CONCERNED about the path our country is going to take under Donald Trump’s leadership. The racist, sexist, and xenophobic signals given during the 2016 campaign led to an escalation of acts of public hate against Latinos, Muslims, and Jews. Much of what liberal and progressive social change movements have worked for these past decades is about to be substantially reversed and dismantled. We cannot expect that militant demonstrations or protests by themselves are going to help much until we understand more deeply why a larger majority of Americans have not been willing to give liberals and progressives the kind of electoral victories necessary to actually implement the Left’s policies and programs.

Psalm 23: A Psalm to Inspire and Support Social Justice Activists

Yet one area where psalms have not been traditionally used is in the area of social justice, which is surprising given the fact that Jewish theology and the Torah are filled with ethical teachings and lessons on the need to stand up to the powerful and to empire, that the world can be fundamentally transformed (i.e., that slaves can be freed), and that God calls for your participation in changing and transforming the world and freeing yourself and others.

New Psalms for a Paradigm Shift in Judaism

THESE VERSES of a contemporary psalm came to me in Hebrew, the language of Jewish continuity and the one I find best suited for enduring Jewish creativity. I wrote most of the poems in this essay first in Hebrew and then translated them into English. They offer alternatives to traditional forms of Jewish prayer and psalmody that do not require a leap of faith. Think of them as post-theistic—that is, their author has been deeply imbued with theism, maintained a lifelong quarrel with it, and emerged as an unconflicted non-theist.

We Are Poured Out Like Water

This makes me think of W.E.B. Dubois who was answering a similar question over hundred years ago. For him, the question boiled down to being asked “What is it like the be THE Problem?” Everybody has problems and we usually have more than one problem. Shakespeare said that “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.”

Grounds for Hope

YOUR OPPONENTS would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.

Back to Hobbes?

THOMAS HOBBES’ Leviathan, published in 1651, famously postulated that a strong central government was necessary to suppress human inborn cruelty, thereby making life among humans liveable, instead of “nasty, brutish, and short” as it would otherwise be. Every man or woman was up in arms against every other man and woman.

Kaddish for Che

I HAVE BEEN THINKING a lot about Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary who, in his death perhaps even more than in his life, has achieved an iconic status. Three reasons underlie these thoughts. First, the recent opening of U.S. policy on Cuba and a photograph of a street mural of Che my husband took on a visit there late last year. The mural is faded, its paint chipped, and the wall on which it is painted is exposed and crumbling.

Are Humans Special?

OBVIOUSLY WE ARE a unique species. Just look around: humans have transformed much of the surface of the earth, remolding it for our own convenience. We have fulfilled God’s injunction in the first chapter of the Bible: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

On Wild Ethics

ALTHOUGH “ETHICS” is commonly equated with a set of rules or principles for right conduct, the heart of ethics has more to do with a simple humility toward others—an attentive openness not just toward other persons but toward the inexhaustible otherness of the manifold beings that compose this earthly world.

A Call for Love in the Face of Hatred: Rabbi Michael Lerner’s Talk at Muhammad Ali’s Memorial

El maley rachamim, shocheyn ba’meh’romeem. Master of compassion, God of compassion, send your blessings to Muhammad Ali, send your blessings to all who mourn for him, and send your blessings for all the millions and millions of people who mourn for him all over this planet. I come here speaking as a representative of American Jews—and to say that American Jews played an important role in solidarity with African-American struggles in this country and that we today stand in solidarity with the Islamic community in this country and all around the world.

Coercive Deference and Double Bind Politics on the Left (a response to the 2016 election)

I SHARE WITH I’m sure virtually all of Tikkun’s readers a feeling of pain and horror at the acts of racial and ethnic violence that have occurred since the election of Donald Trump. And I of course agree that the rhetoric of Trump’s campaign has had the effect of stirring up and legitimizing the expression of these racist and xenophobic impulses in terrible and alarming ways. But it does not help our efforts to respond to and counter these realities to simply denounce the Trump campaign or Trump supporters as “being” racist or xenophobic as if their violent and cruel behavior were just an expression of their evil essence or brainwashed minds. Instead, we must look deeply into the impacted conditions of their psychological, spiritual, and economic lives to see what in their experience has led them to burst out by the millions in response to Trump’s message.

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