In the Name of God: Seek Peace & Pursue It

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Dear Friends,

During the past weeks, I have been working out with Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Bob Edgar of the National Council of Churches, and several other Christian leaders, and with a number of rabbis and other teachers/ leaders in the Jewish community, an important statement calling for serious and sustained US action for peace in the Middle East. More than 40 Jewish leaders have now signed the statement, and Jim has urged the recipients of the Sojo Email newsletter to do so.

I very much hope you also will join. Please - it is CRUCIAL - that you BOTH write back by Email to me and, even more important, fill out the coupon at the end to add arms and legs as well as heart and mind and spirit to your support.

Shalom, Arthur

Dear Sojo Mail Readers,

In my Hearts & Minds column this week, I mentioned a religious statement our friend, Rabbi Arthur Waskow was initiating. That statement, and an initial list of 38 [now more] signers - primarily Rabbis - follows.

I support this statement, and encourage you to respond.

Jim Walli

Dear Friends, We are sending you an inter-religious call for US action to help make peace in the Middle East. It was drafted in close consultation among several Jewish and Christian leaders, and is being sent out with their endorsement to others in their communities. We seek to publish this statement in a leading American newspaper. So please use the coupon at the end of this post to add your name and support. Am Kolel Social Action Committee, the recipient, is a tax-exempt Jewish religious organization, so contributions are tax-deductible. Please remember to respond by using the coupon below, as well as to this Email.

Thanks, and blessings of shalom,

Rabbi Arthur Waskow


The destruction of lives and communities and human dignity now happening in the Middle East besmirches the very Name of God and endangers the peace of the world.

We condemn the deliberate targeting of civilians through suicide bombings.

We condemn the totally foreseeable and inevitable deaths of civilians through the shelling and bombing of their neighborhoods.

We condemn the use of violence to pursue political ends.

Whether these various acts of violence are "morally equivalent" or not means little to the dead, the maimed, and their suffering survivors. What matters is to end this violence.

The Israeli and Palestinian peoples seem unable to do so because they are caught up in the fear and rage that has spiraled out of control. For the sake of human decency and for the sake of the peace of the world as a whole, we call on the United States to act.

The immediate present and the future are intertwined so tightly that action by the United States must address both: On the one hand, the immediate violence cannot be ended without swift motion to achieve a solution in which a secure State of Israel and a viable State of Palestine live side by side in peace. On the other hand, that goal cannot be achieved without ending the present violence.

Both hands are necessary.

We therefore call on the United States to take two actions at once, and simultaneously:

1. Bring about the creation of an international force to protect both Israelis and Palestinians from violence.

2. Call a regional peace conference including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and all the Arab states, and peace-committed religious leaders and leaders of civil society in the region, to take up at once the Saudi proposals for regional peace endorsed by the Beirut Conference and the peace proposals that came close to agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at Taba late in 2000.

The United States should bend every effort to secure agreement on the emergence of a viable Palestine and a secure Israel, based on the 1967 boundaries with adjustments that the two parties mutually agree on, and on commitments to meet the moral and material needs of the region's refugees while preserving Israel's character as an expression of Jewish peoplehood and Palestine's ability to meet the deep needs of the Palestinian people wherever they live.

Today all the holy places in the Middle East are being desecrated by violence, whether they are under direct attack or not. Only in such a settlement can the holiness of those places be affirmed. Today the Image of God in every human being is being desecrated. Only through such a settlement can the greatness of God be affirmed.

In the Name of God Who is compassionate and just, in the Name of God Who suffers in the suffering of human beings, in the Name of God Who demands that we pursue justice through just means and seek peace by actively pursuing it, we call on the United States to act at once.

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert
*Associate Professor of Religion and
Women's Studies, Temple University

Rabbi Micah Becker-Klein
*Congregation Ahavas Achim, Keene, NH

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak
*Coalition for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem

Rabbi Philip Bentley
Jewish Peace Fellowship

Rabbi Lewis Bogage
*DePauw University, Greencastle, IN

Rabbi Stephen Booth
Denver, Colorado

Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein
*B'nai Jeshurun, NYC

Cherie Brown
Break the Silence

Rabbi Michael M. Cohen
Rabbi Emeritus, Israel Congregation, Manchester Center, VT

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener
West Hartford CT

Rabbi Hillel Cohn
San Bernardino, CA

Jeffrey Dekro
*The Shefa Fund

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Cong., Bethesda MD

Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Palo Alto, California

Rabbi Sue Fendrick

Rabbi Everett Gendler

Rabbi Jonathan H. Gerard

*Temple Covenant of Peace, Easton, PA

Rabbi Dan Goldblatt
* Beth Chaim Congregation, Danville, CA

Rabbi Roberto D. Graetz
*Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA

Professor Susannah Heschel
*Dartmouth College

Rabbi Margaret Holub
*Mendocino Coast Jewish Community

Rabbi Shaya Isenberg, Chair,
*Department of Religion, University of Florida

Rabbi Steven B. Jacob
*Kol Tikvah, California

Rabbi Douglas E. Krantz
*Congregation B'nai Yisrael, Armonk, NY

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Break the Silence

Rabbi Rebecca Lillian
Jewish Peace Forum
Brit Tzedek V'Shalom

Rabbi Jeffrey Marker
*St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center, NYC

Rabbi Rolando Matalon
*B'nai Jeshurun, NYC

Rabbi David Mivasair
(US citizen resident in Vancouver, BC)

Marge Piercy, poet, novelist, memoirist

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, writer

Rabbi Barry L. Schwartz
Cherry Hill, NJ
Rabbi Sid Schwarz
Rockville, MD

Mark Seal
Break the Silence

Evely Laser Shlensky
*U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East

Rabbi Gerry Serotta
Chevy Chase, MD

Rabbi Judy Shank
*Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, CA

Rabbi David Shneyer
*Am Kolel Social Action Committee.

Rabbi Toba Spitzer
*Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, Newton Ma

Rabbi Brian Walt
* Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia

Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Break the Silence

Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
*Jewish Community of Amherst

*Organization noted for identification only

With Christian and Muslim signers and those of other
spiritual paths as well, we seek to publish thi
statement in a leading American newspaper. Please PRINT
or copy this coupon to send as much money as you can. --
The recipient is a tax-exempt Jewish religiou
organization, so contributions are tax-deductible.
Please make out the check to "Break the Silence" and
send it to:

Am Kolel Social Action Committee
15 W. Montgomery Ave.
Rockville, MD 20850

____ Please add my name to the signers of the call for
US action for peace in the Middle East.

I enclose my (tax-deductible) peace-offering to support
publication of this statement:

__ $1,800; __ $720; __ $360; __ $180; __ $72; __ Other

Name/s ________________________________________________

Affiliation (optional; will be listed as "ID only")

Address _______________________________________________

Email address (very important) ________________________