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Rabbis ask support to urge Israel to investigate war-crimes charges

From Rabbis for Human Rights/ North America

[RHR/NA welcomes wide support for its letter to the Israeli government urging it to follow the recommendation of the Goldstone Report for an indeoendent judicially led and empowered commission to "investigate allegations made about abuses that might have occurred in the conduct of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza." The letter follows. You can sign it here: http://www.rhr-na.org/add-name#addname --AW, editor]

October 26, 2009 / 8 Heshvan 5770

Recession, Rabbis, & Rahm

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow

The Great Recession is eating away at many of our congregations: Lost jobs, failing businesses, collapsed retirement funds lead to congregational deficits, layoffs, endangered mortgages and building funds.

Clergy and religious leaders of all faiths are trying to grapple with this crisis. At this very moment, many rabbis are at work crafting the sermons they will give for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. What I am about to say to and about the rabbis could act as a model or a stimulus to those of other traditions.

Many think the "safest" thing to do in such stressful times is to focus on personal needs: compassion, forgiveness, repentance. But does this exhaust the possibilities? What if we were to take Rahm Emanuel's teaching seriously; : "Never let a serious crisis go to waste. It's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before."

Jewish Leaders call for "Climate Healing Shabbat" at Noah/Rainbow Torah-time, Oct 23-24

Initiated by The Shalom Center; endorsed by Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Hazon, Teva, COEJL (a JCPA project) , & Canfei Nesharim (*participating through the Parshat Noach Sustainability Project); Rabbis Steve Gutow (head of JCPA), David Saperstein, Nina Beth Cardin, Peter Knobel, & Michael Lerner; Nancy Ratzan, Nigel Savage, Richard Schwartz, Ellen Bernstein, Jo Ellen Green Kaiser; many others, listed below.)

Dancing Freedom in the Passover Seder

Please feel free ("feeling free" is what Pesach is all about!) to forward this post as you please. If you like any of these suggestions, please also note our request for your support and use the coupon at the end of the post to help out. And we'd welcome you to our Website. Thanks!!

We are sending seven different moments or practices for you to considering adding to your Pesach celebration.

Blessings for a sweet and liberating Pesach for you and for the world --

A. The Freedom Plate

Several years ago, Martha Hausman proposed that a special plate be set aside next to the traditional Seder plate, on which could be placed physical objects brought by every participant in the Seder as a symbol of her/ his liberation THIS YEAR from Mitzraiim.

The Eight Days of Hanukkah: Eight Actions to Heal the Earth through the Green Menorah Covenant

By Rabbis Arthur Waskow & Jeff Sultar*

There are three levels of wisdom through which Hanukkah invites us to address the planetary dangers of the global climate crisis – what some of us call "global scorching" because "warming" seems so pleasant, so comforting.

We can encode these teachings into actions we take to heal the earth, each of the eight days.

1. The Talmud's legend about using one day’s oil to meet eight days' needs: a reminder that if we have the courage to change our life-styles to conserve energy, it will sustain us.

2. The vision of Zechariah (whose prophetic passages we read on Shabbat Hanukkah) that the Temple Menorah was itself a living being, uniting the world of "nature" and "humanity" – for it was not only fashioned in the shape of a Tree of Light, as Torah teaches, but was flanked by two olive trees that fed olive oil directly into it.

11 Steps toward the October 8 Interfaith Fast


1. Read the Call at http://www.theshalomcenter.org/node/1269 and share it with others. You can use the brief version you will find at the end of this letter. If you are the clergyperson of a congregation, place a phone call to and arrange to meet with the clergypersons or leaders of religious communities other than your own -- to explore arrangements such as those below. (If you are not clergy yourself, you could place the calls anyway or ask your clergyperson to do so.) Those who agree to plan this could become an informal "planning committee" for the event.

Please support the "Tugboat Shalom"!

Dear Co-searcher, Co-builder, in our work for peace and healing for the world --

The Shalom Center acts like a tugboat nudging and noodging large ocean liners to move in a new direction. Three ocean liners –- the official American Jewish world, the multireligious world, and the (smaller) world of the Left and the antiwar movement. (Details below, in this message.)


Our tugboat has successfully "noodged" these ocean liners, in three "oceans" we have been navigating:

Communal Fast in a Time of Calamity: A Multireligious Call

Dear friends,

How do we announce a major religious event, such as the October 8 Fast to move America from conquest to community, from violence to reverence?

When the steering committee of the Fast began discussing this, our first response was the conventional one in American society –- a press conference.

But then we recalled that there are ancient traditions for making the announcement of such a religious act itself a religious act. In the Talmud, for example, there is described a way of Calling a Communal Fast in Time of Calamity. (The calamity might be a drought, a famine, a war.)

Through darkness into light: the Joy of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Eid

Dear Friends, The smoke of burning fossil fuels is darkening our planet, creating the climate crisis of global scorching. From that darkness we can grow the light of a broader and deeper world community.
We can all join in healing the earth by changing what we do in our own households, our own congregations, and through social action, our whole society.
Please join us in the Green Menorah Covenant and use the Donate button to help us with the (tax-deductible) money that it takes. With blessings of light and joy -- Arthur

Beyond Oil: Helping America Break the Oiloholic Addiction

Beyond Oil:
Helping America break the Oiloholic addiction

The President of the United States has acknowledged that America is addicted to oil.

His solution? More Oil – Drill offshore, drill in the Alaska reserve, -

But that is a lethal solution. It's like saying, "Yes, I'm addicted to nicotine. Pack a day. Gives me the shakes. Sell me a couple more packs to get me through the night, will ya?"

Like any addiction, oil is convenient. Comforting. Delicious. And it kills. It is choking children – in an epidemic of asthma. It is choking the planet -- through "global scorching."


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