The Crash 3: A Personal Appeal

Dear chevra,

My heart and soul have been lifted high by the wonderful blessings hundreds of you have sent me, and my mind lifted as well by dozens of thoughtful comments on the different kinds of healing I've been learning. Never have I felt so warmed and comforted by so many.

Now I need to ask your help at the body-level, too.

As I've written, everything I do takes longer than it did a month ago. Even writing, let alone walking.

But the need we have to heal and transform the Jewish people, all our religious and ethical communities, and America—has not slowed down.

It would be a great help to me at this moment to have an intern/ research assistant to do some of the things that take me longer.

To bring us an intern who is religiously and politically knowledgeable, can deftly find her /his way around the Web, and can – this is important to me – learn and grow from the creative approach I take to Judaism and the Spirit, we need to come up with about $20,000.

How does that fit into The Shalom Center's over-all budget and plan?

We work truly on a shoestring. We have a staff of two: myself and Nick Alpers, our Program Coordinator, who carries out everything from our bookkeeping to our events organizing, like our Prophetic Voices and similar programs, and who has done some video-filming for The Shalom Center's YouTube videos.

BOTH our salaries together add up to less than $70,000.

Our offices are donated space – no rent.

We are small -- and efficient, the way a tugboat is small and efficient as it nudges and noodges a great ocean liner in a new direction. We are small -- and efficient, the way a seed is small and efficient, as it sprouts into a great oak tree.

Small, efficient, so that your gifts go further and get more done. We have been able to do so much on so little—our program budget is less than $100,000—because we are willing to work hard and forgo extras.

What are our plans for the year ahead?

1. Following through on Climate Healing Shabbat , October 23-24, which we initiated – and persuaded a very wide spectrum of the Jewish world to join. So "Shabbat Noah" will focus on the danger our planet faces from global scorching and what we can do to heal our world. Following up with Green Menorah Covenant for Hanukkah, and aiming to get past the stranglehold of Big Coal and Big Oil at home and recalcitrant governments around the world.

2. Exploring the point I made in my recent letter to you on dealing with extreme levels of job loss by seeding a campaign for a 30-hour work week. Sharing the work and sharing time for renewal –-- so that Americans are not suffering from a perverse combination of disemployment and overwork. Healing from the Great Recession not by going backward to the old status quo but by going forward.

3. Completing a book I am writing called Freedom Journeys, which looks afresh at the biblical story of the Exodus and the Wilderness as an archetypal tale of liberation, teaching us new truths today. Unfolding the new implications of the story not only for Jews but for everyone facing planetary "plagues," facing global corporate "phaeaohs," facing transformations in the relationships of women and men, facing new kinds of foods and old kinds of starvation, new and old hatreds for "the other," the pariah, facing new questions about "church and state," about ritual and social justice.

4. Holding intensive training sessions for the next generation of activists for tikkun teyvel, "healing the planet," teaching them how to draw on the resources of ritual, meditation, political skill, and sacred text to move people into action.

For us to do this work in the service of the Jewish people, humanity, the earth, and God, and for me to be able to go forward with the same vigor as before, the help of an intern would be immeasurably valuable.

That's the plan. AND -- I have a lot stronger sense than I did four weeks ago of the need for the unplanned, unexpected. I have been learning a lot from my healing, and healing a lot from new learning. Just as I didn't plan to draw on my own personal life-experience of the profiteering of the health-insurance companies -- I expect the car crash to keep unfolding in my work and our clarity.

Please give life to our seed, strength to our tugboat, by making a tax-exempt contribution.

Many many thanks –-- from my own heart, mind, body, and soul –-- and from all of us who share The Shalom Center's vision.

And blessings for a peaceful, fruitful year in your own life!

n Shalom, salaam, shantih – Peace!
n Arthur

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