Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking the Silence: Jewish Groups Calling for Peace

"If the sword then not the book; if the book then not the sword." This beautiful and moving work of art with this motto is from Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence. Find related efforts for Jewish/Israeli Peace below. Although much of the effort highlighted has been going on for quite awhile, the increasing vocal expressions with Judge Goldstone's Report (on Gaza) give the impression that at last there is a "Breaking the Silence"

Within The Shomer Shalom Daily Intention find the following excerpts:

I am responsible for safeguarding the life and well-being of my sister and brother.

I disavow the use of any form of physical, emotional, verbal, spiritual or economic violence toward myself and others, and hereby accept upon myself the way of non-violence/shmirat shalom. I do this of my own free will...

I choose to live by the principle that prayer is intended to cultivate peace. I will practice prayer...

Holy Days are intended to cultivate peace...

I choose to live by the principle that our capacity for love and nonviolence is necessary for peace. I will practice love and nonviolence for all people...

I am a conscientious objector to war.

I choose to live by the principle that the earth and all that is in it is sacred.

May peace prevail upon the earth quickly and in our day. Amen

Find out more here

A Bibliography of Jewish Nonviolence GO here

More on Shomer-Shalom activisties - including an interfaith peace camp. here

The following is the Sister Community in Israel which has been "Goosebump" Moving to me for years now here

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

Note from Connie, oneheartforpeace blogger: I have since my early youth been struck by this passage from Isaiah above. So far 1,153 (One thousand and one hundred and fifty three) people have signed onto this fast for peace. I am the three at the end of that number. Your name can also show up immediately after signing.


Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being spilled (Leviticus 19:16).

As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza...

(According to a highly-respected Israeli peace community, B'Tselem, "Israeli security forces killed 1,387 Palestinians during the course of the three-week operation. Of these, 773 did not take part in the hostilities, including 320 minors and 109 women over the age of 18. Of those killed, 330 took part in the hostilities, and 248 were Palestinian police officers, most of whom were killed in aerial bombings of police stations on the first day of the operation...Behind the dry statistics lie shocking individual stories. Whole families were killed; parents saw their children shot before their very eyes; relatives watched their loved ones bleed to death; and entire neighborhoods were obliterated..."(B’Tselem who declared these figures, has endorsed this Fast for Gaza.)

On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth, and on peace (Mishnah Avot 1:18).

From this we learn that justice, truth and peace are interdependent and irrevocably intertwined. Thus we cannot separate our call for justice in Gaza from the painful truth of this conflict and the ongoing tragedy of war in this tortured region. We condemn Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. Out of the same ethical commitments we also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government, causing many more deaths of Palestinian civilians. Since the end of Israel's recent military campaign, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza has grown all the more dire.

The Fast:

In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance. In this spirit, Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

This water-only fast will take place on the third Thursday of the month, beginning on July 16, 2009, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to signing on to the statement above, participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near Eastern Refugee Aid (ANERA). This important relief campaign combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children through daily provisions of fortified milk and high energy biscuits.

Upcoming Fast Days:
Thursday May 27th
Thursday June 17th

Those who are unable to fast for the entire day are encouraged to engage in a partial fast or to find their own meaningful ways to observe the day. Participants may also initiate public events in different communities that will further the goals of the fast.

We invite additional rabbis to join our minyan and ALL people of conscience to join in the fast. To be listed as a supporter of the fast, please fill out the form below. Your email address will not be displayed on the list of supporters. Join this collective act of conscience initiated by... people of faith.

SIGN ON here


The larger one shows:
Rabbi David Brodman and Sheikh Al-Zorba, Imam of Dome of the Rock

These two photos are from World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace
A special greeting and expression of gratitude to Rabbi Phillip Bentley who signed here below. Rabbi Bentley once came to Brevard, NC and showed a peace film on a trip he took into the occupied territories. His congregation has been one of the few religious gatherings in North Carolina, USA (1/2 hour from where I live) to have displayed a strong anti-torture banner. Shalom, Rabbi!

Rabbis Condemn Israel for War Crimes Committed in Gaza: Open Letter to Judge Goldstone (Personal Note Added)

Judge Goldstone, South African Judge -- Photo credit to Wikipedia

Richard J. Goldstone (born October 26, 1938) is a former South African Constitutional Court judge[1]. He served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda from 15 August 1994 to September 1996,[1] and in 2009 led an independent fact-finding mission created by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate international human rights and humanitarian law violations related to the Gaza War.

Dear Judge Goldstone,

As rabbis from diverse traditions and locations, we want to extend our warmest mazel tov to you as an elder in our community upon the Bar Mitzvah of your grandson. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a call to conscience, a call to be responsible for the welfare of others, a call to fulfill the covenant of peace and justice articulated in our tradition.

As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the Report you authored. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel’s quote, “The world stands on three things: justice, truth, and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgment of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates’ (Zaccariah 8:16).” We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.

We are deeply saddened by the controversy around the report. We affirm your findings and believe you set up an impeccable standard that presents strong evidence that during the war in Gaza Israel engaged in war crimes that revealed a pattern of continuous and systematic assault against Palestinian people and land that has very little to do with Israel’s claim of security. Your report made clear the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructures such as hospitals, schools, agricultural properties, water and sewage treatment centers and civilians themselves with deadly weapons that are illegal when used in civilian centers.

This is the ugly truth that is so hard for many Jewish people to face. Anyone who spends a day in Palestinian territories sees this truth immediately.

Judge Goldstone, we want to offer you our deepest thanks for upholding the principles of justice, compassion and truth that are the heart of Jewish religion and without which our claims to Jewishness are empty of meaning. We regret that your findings have led to controversy and caused you not to feel welcome at your own grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. We believe your report is a clarion call to Israel and the Jewish people to awaken from the slumber of denial and return to the path of peace.

This letter is endorsed by Taanit Tzedek - Jewish Fast for Gaza , Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence, Tikkun and the Shalom Center.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Taanit Tzedek –Jewish Fast for Gaza
Rabbi Brian Walt, Taanit Tzedek –Jewish Fast for Gaza
Rabbi Haim Beliak
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun Community
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert
Rabbi Phyllis Berman
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer
Rabbi Margaret Holub
Rabbi Shai Gluskin
Rabbi Douglas Krantz
Rabbi Eyal Levinson
Rabbi Mordecai Liebling
Rabbi David Mivasair
Rabbi David Shneyer
Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman
Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill
Rabbi Erin Hirsh
Rabbi Michael Rothbaum
Rabbi Benjamin Barnett
Rabbi Julie Greenberg
Rabbi Linda Holtzman
Rabbi Ayelet S.Cohen
Rabbi Jeffrey Marker
Rabbi Nina H.Mandel
Rabbi Victor Reinstein
Rabbi Everett Gendler
Rabbi Meryl M. Crean
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
Rabbi Pamela Frydman Baugh
Rabbi Lewis Weiss
Rabbi Shaul Magid
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav
Rabbi Phillip Bentley
Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy
Rabbi Chava Bahle

This letter is supported by Taanit Tzedek- Jewish Fast for Gaza , Shomer Shalom Institute for Jewish Nonviolence, Tikkun and the Shalom Center.

If you are a rabbi and would like to add your name to this statement, send an e-mail to Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb (rabbilynn at earthlink dot net).

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