Join Fast for Gaza -- Ta'anit Tzedek

From Rabbi Arthur Waskow

I am writing to invite you to join in observing a one-Thurday-a-month daylight-hours Fast for Gaza, beginning Thursday July 16. This Taanit Tzedek has already been affirmed by more than 40 rabbis and cantors plus rabbinical students and clergy of other traditions — and is open to all people of all communities who are prepared to undertake the fast. (Those who cannot fast but want to be involved can undertake some related activity on the fast Thursdays.) The number of signers continues to grow as I write. I hope you will join in this sacred endeavor. To be listed as a supporter of the fast, please fill out the form at (Your email address will not be displayed on the list of supporters.)

Project Coordinators:
Rabbi Brant Rosen (Evanston, IL)
Rabbi Brian Walt (West Tisbury, MA)

Web Developer:
Rabbi Shai Gluskin (Philadelphia, PA)

Rabbinical Minyan:
1. Rabbi Rebecca Alpert (Philadelphia, PA)
2. Rabbi Leonard Beerman (Los Angeles, CA)
3. Rabbi Haim Beliak (Los Angeles, CA)
4. Rabbi Tirzah Firestone (Boulder, CO)
5. Rabbi Everett Gendler (Great Barrington, MA)
6. Rabbi Linda Holtzman (Philadelphia, PA)
7. Rabbi Steven Jacobs (Los Angeles, CA)
8. Rabbi Ellen Lippmann (Brooklyn, NY)
9. Rabbi Arthur Waskow (Philadelphia, PA)
10. Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman (Madison, WI)

Rabbinical Supporters
(list in development):
11. Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer (Philadelphia, PA)
12. Rabbi Lew Weiss (Indianapolis, IN)
13. Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom (Berlin/Jerusalem)
14. Rabbi Howard Cohen (Greensboro, NC)
15. Rabbi Alissa Wise (Brooklyn, NY)
16. Rabbi David Brusin (Whitefish Bay, WI)
17. Rabbi Jarah Greenfield (Philadelphia, PA)
18. Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton (Baltimore, MD)
19. Rabbi Zalman Hiyya Schachter-Shalomi (Boulder CO)
20. Rabbi Devra Noily (Oakland, CA)
21. Rabbi Arthur Segal (Hilton Head, SC)
22. Rabbi Michael Feinberg (New York, NY)
23. Rabbi Benjamin Barnett (Corvallis, OR)
24. Rabbi Leila Gal Berner (Rockville, MD)
25. Rabbi Art Donsky (Pittsburgh, PA)
26. Rabbi Mordechai Liebling (Philadelphia, PA)
27. Rabbi David Shneyer (Rockville, MD)
28. Rabbi Karen Landy (Brookline, MA)
29. Rabbi Mark Hurvitz (New York, NY)
30. Rabbi Gerald Serrota (Chevy Chase, MD)
31. Rabbi Tzipi Radonsky (West Palm Beach, FLA)
32. Rabbi Lev Baesh (Lexington, MA)
33. Rabbi Paula Marcus (Santa Cruz, CA)
34. Rabbi David J. Cooper (Piedmont, CA)
35. Rabbi Naomi Steinberg (Carlotta, CA)
36. Rabbi Margaret Holub (Albion, CA)
37. Rabbi Marjorie Berman (Philadelphia, PA)
38. Rabbi Pamela Baugh Frydman (CA)
39. Rabbi Nina Mandel (Sunbury, PA)
40. Rabbi Phyllis Berman (Philadelphia PA)

Rabbinical Student Supporters
(list in development):
1.Rachel Barenblat (Lanesboro, MA)
2. Ari Lev Fornari (Boston, MA)
3. Joseph Berman (Jamaica Plain, MA)
4. Michael Ross (Phoenixville, PA)

Christian Clergy Supporters
(list in formation):
1. Reverend Robert Thompson (Evanston, IL)
2. Reverend Emilie Townes (New Haven, CT)
3. Reverend John Raines (Philadelphia, PA)
4. Reverend Kipp Gilmore-Clough (Philadelphia, PA)
5. Reverend Cotton Fite (Wilmette, IL)
6. Reverend Robert Montgomery (Pulaski TN)

Web Developer:
Rabbi Shai Gluskin (Philadelphia, PA)

With blessings of shalom, Arthur

Ta'anit Tzedek --- Jewish Fast for Gaza


We, a minyan of rabbis, joined by other Jews and people of other religious, spiritual, and ethical communities have committed to undertake a monthly communal fast in support of the following goals:

1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;
2. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;
3. To call upon Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties -- including Hamas -- in order to end the blockade;
4. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.


The Torah teaches,

"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.

Since Hamas' electoral victory in January 2006, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly intolerable blockade that restricts Gaza's ability to import food, fuel and other essential materials, and to export finished products. As a result, the Gazan economy has completely collapsed. Most of Gaza's industrial plants have been forced to close, further contributing to already high levels of unemployment and poverty and rising levels of childhood malnutrition.

The Talmud teaches,

"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 this military campaign, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza has grown all the more dire.

The Fast:

"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)

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 every third Thursday of the month, from sunrise to sunset. Participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to humanitarian relief in Gaza and to sign a collective statement calling for a lifting of the blockade. 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 all people of conscience to join in the fast. To be listed as a supporter of the fast, please fill out the form at Your email address will not be displayed on the list of supporters.