120-plus sign Rabbinic call: "Step by Step toward Shalom with Iran"

By January 8, 2014, as Congress approached a vote on whether to threaten  even more draconian sanctions against Iran, 121 Jewish clergy (Rabbis, Cantors, Maggidim, Kohanot) — — twelve minyanim —  have signed  the Rabbinic Statement  Step by Step toward Shalom with Iran.”

Luminaries of the Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, and Humanist streams of Judaism have signed.  Among them are Rabbis Leonard Beerman, Aryeh Cohen, Amy Eilberg, Sue Levi Elwell, Everett Gendler, Dan Goldblatt, Marc Gopin, David Gordis, Sharon Kleinbaum, Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Mordechai Liebling, Ellen Lippmann, Andrea London, Gerry Serotta, David Shneyer, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Jonathan Slater, Susan Talve, Arthur Waskow, and Sheila Weinberg, Cantor Steven Puzarne, and Rabbi/Kohenet Jill Hammer.

Please see below the full list of signers up to now.  

The statement sets forth a balanced path of shalom that protects the peace and security of Israel, the US, and Iran —  and is concerned with both immediate practical steps and the deepest of spiritual hopes.

Why do we think it important for Rabbis, Cantors, etc., to make public a statement along these lines?

For the deep past and the deep future — and for the fierce urgency of Now.

First, for the sake of publicly reaffirming, honoring, and embodying the powerful prophetic and rabbinic voice, now millennia-long, that has called on us all to “seek peace and pursue it.” One of the sacred Names of God is “Shalom.” To advance it is one form of making holy the Name – a nonlethal form of Kiddush HaShem.

Second, because in this moment the rabbinic voice can actually matter in the broader world. There is a real question whether the forward momentum of  diplomacy so far can be maintained in the face of hostility from ultranationalist elements in Iran and demands for more draconic sanctions against Iran coming from some elements in Israeli and American politics.

The agreement calls for suspension of Iranian nuclear enrichment and reductions of the enrichment level of some nuclear materials, along with a partial easing of some sanctions. That would seem to be the first step – only the first step, but a necessary one – in seeking shalom and pursuing it for all the parties involved – Israel, Iran,  the whole region, and the US.

Security for each people to live under its own vine and fig-tree with none to make them afraid.

As the debate intensifies between worsening threats and calming steps, we think the Rabbinic voice can make a difference.

 Step by Step toward Shalom with Iran

 As Rabbis, Cantors, and other Clergy serving the American Jewish community, we are deeply committed, as Jewish tradition teaches –

§  to the shalom –-  peace, social justice, functioning democratic process, and ecological sanity –of the country where we live  – all of which would be damaged by still another unnecessary war;

§  to the shalom, peace and security, of the State of Israel, to its democratic character, and to its special relationship with the Jewish people;

§  to unequivocal action by all the Arab-majority and Muslim-majority states to make peace with Israel, and to Israel’s unequivocal action to make peace with all its neighbors, including an emergent Palestine;

§  to our respect and our prayers for salaam, peace and justice, among our cousins in the Abrahamic tradition, Arab and Muslim civilizations;

§  to the peace and prosperity of all the “70 nations” of the world;

§  and to the healing of our wounded planet.

For all these reasons, we welcome warmly the greatly increased possibility of a peaceful resolution of the conflicts among the US, Iran, Israel, and other nations.
  
 We especially welcome the new attitudes toward the Jewish people and toward the nuclear issue set forth by the new President of Iran, and his assertion that Iran will never hold nuclear weapons. We also recall the fatwa and repeated assertions by Grand Ayatollah Khamenei that for Iran to possess nuclear weapons would violate Islam.
  
 We urge the US and Iran to move swiftly to agree on a step-by-step process of reducing and ultimately ending sanctions against Iran in accord with steps by Iran to make its nuclear research transparent and to allow verification that its research is directed wholly toward civilian uses of nuclear energy. We believe that such a step-by-step process is the best way to guarantee that both parties are fulfilling their commitments.
  
 We urge Iran to make clear its full acceptance of Israel as a legitimate state in the fabric of international relations, protected like all other states from aggression and attack.
  
 We urge the Government of Israel to welcome steps by Iran to make clear and verifiable its commitment to use nuclear energy and research for peaceful purposes only, not for pursuit of nuclear weaponry, and while this process is under way, we urge Israel to end hostile acts and statements toward Iran.  
  
 We urge the peoples of the United States, Iran, and Israel to reject and oppose all statements and actions from whatever source that undermine the swift and thorough achievement of agreements to ensure the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to end sanctions against Iran.  
  
 We urge the American people to recognize and do tshuvah (“turning” or “repentance”) for the ethical errors of our own government toward Iran – particularly, the US Government’s intervention in 1953 to overthrow the democratically elected reform government of Iran; US actions to support the tyrannical regime of the Shah until the Iranian people overthrew it in 1979; and US support for Iraq’s wars of aggression against Iran in the 1980s, including US support for Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons to kill 100,000 Iranians.
  
 We urge the Iranian people to do tshuvah for their government’s demonization of the United States and Israel, for its holding US diplomats hostage for more than a year in 1979-1980, and for the support it seems to have covertly given for attacks on Israeli citizens.
  
 We believe that this combination of governmental acts and public rethinking and re-feeling can move American society, the entire Middle East, and the world toward the shalom that Judaism yearns for.

Signed: 

To add your name to ours, please click here –  <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=4&reset=1>  and be sure to list your prefix-title (Rabbi, Cantor, Hazan, Maggid, Kohenet) with your name and Email.   

Shalom, 

Initiating Signers:

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Everett Gendler

Rabbi Marc Gopin

Rabbi Dr. David Gordis

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Rabbi Gerry Serotta 

Rabbi David Shneyer

Rabbi Susan Talve 

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Rabbi Sheila Weinberg

  Rabbi Rebecca Alpert

  Rabbi Ethan Bair
 Kohenet Ellie Barbarash
 Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Rabbi Benjamin Barnett

Rabbi Eliot Baskin  
Rabbi Renee Bauer

Rabbi  Dennis Beck-Berman

Rabbi Leonard Beerman

Rabbi Marjorie Berman
 Rabbi  Phyllis Berman
 Rabbi Leila Gal Berner   
 Rabbi Binyamin Biber

  Kohenet Shoshana Bricklin

  Rabbi Jason Bright

  Rabbi Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus 

  Rabbi Joshua Chasan 

  Rabbi Aryeh Cohen

  Rabbi Andrea Cohen Kiener 

  Rabbi Hillel Cohn

  Rabbi David J. Cooper

  Rabbi Robert Dobrusin

  Rabbi Art Donsky

  Rabbi Doris Dyen

  Rabbi Renee Edelman 

  Rabbi Diane Elliot 

  Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell

  Kohenet Ahava Lilith EverShine

  Rabbi Ted Falcon 

  Rabbi Charles Feinberg

  Rabbi Michael Feinberg 

  Rabbi Fern Feldman 

  Rabbi Brian Field

  Rabbi Tirzah Firestone 

  Rabbi Nancy Flam 

  Rabbi Jeff Foust 

  Rabbi Ruth Gais

  Rabbi Hillel Gamoran 

  Maggid Andrew Gold 

  Rabbi Dan Goldblatt

  Rabbi Laurie Green 

  Rabbi Dr. David Gordis

  Rabbi Julie Greenberg

  Rabbi Moshe Halfon

  Rabbi/ Kohenet Jill Hammer

  Rabbi Edwin Harris

  Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann

  Kohenet Judith Hollander

  Rabbi Linda Holtzman

  Rabbi Shaya Isenberg

  Rabbi Burt Jacobson 

  Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde

  Kohenet Sharon Jaffe

  Rabbi Melissa Klein

  Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

  Rabbi David L Kline 

  Rabbi Debra Kolodny

  Rabbi Douglas Krantz 

  Rabbi Hannah Laner 

 Rabbi Daniel Lehrman

 Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen

  Rabbi Michael Lerner

  Kohenet Carly “Ketzirah” Lesser

  Rabbi Richard Levy 

  Rabbi Annie Lewis

 Rabbi Andrea London

 Cantor Abbe Lyons 

  Rabbi Jeffrey Marker 

  Rabbi Nathan Martin

  Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon 

  Maggid Melvin Metelits

  Rabbi Yocheved Mintz 

  Kohenet Tiana Mirapai

   Rabbi David Mivasair 

  Rabbi Lee Moore

  Hazan Judith Naimark 

  Rabbi Laura Owens

  Cantor Steven Puzarne

  Rabbi Victor Reinstein 

  Cantor Stephen Richards

  Rabbi/ Kohenet Margie Klein Ronkin

  Rabbi Moti Rieber

  Rabbi Brant Rosen 

  Cantor Aviva Rosenbloom

  Cantor Richard Rosenfield 

  Rabbi Jeff Roth

  Kohenet Mei Mei Sanford 

  Hazan Pamela Sawyer

  Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller

  Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi 

  Rabbi Chaim Schneider

  Rabbi Randy Schoch 

  Kohenet Alumah Schuster

  Rabbi Dr. Arthur Segal

  Rabbi Jonathan Slater 

  Rabbi Eric Solomon

  Cantor Robin Sparr

  Rabbi David Spitz

  Rabbi Toba Spitzer

  Rabbi Margot Stein

  Rabbi Naomi Steinberg 

  Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill

 Rabbi Danielle Stillman

 Rabbi Alana Suskin

  Rabbi Louis Sutker

 Rabbi Daniel Swartz

 Rabbi Renae Toben 

  Rabbi Brian Walt

  Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

  Hazan Gregory Yaroslow 

  Rabbi Barbara Zacky

  Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman

Universal: 

Jewish and Interfaith Topics: 

1 Comment

A welcome step that deserves another

I read this statement with great interest and expectation, and welcome the commitment of such a distinguished group of religious leaders to shalom between Iran, Israel and the US. It is important that religious leaders - above all others - take the moral high ground and publicly commit to and advocate the life affirming values of their faith traditions as does this statement.

It was with disappointment, however, that nowhere in this excellent statement is there any reference to Israel's own nuclear arsenal and a call upon the Israeli government to forsake the use of nuclear weapons and commit to the destruction of that arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction.

Similarly, while it is appropriate to ask of Iran for a clear declaration of its recognition of the state of Israel, there was no comparable call for the Israeli state to make an unequivocal commitment to the right of Palestinians to their own state. In that respect, referring to it as "emergent" fails to acknowledge that the single greatest barrier to its emergence is the government of Israel itself and its policy of illegal land seizure, settlement-building and the Apartheid-like treatment of Palestinians.

So this welcome statement begs another - one that truly claims the moral high ground without hypocrisy, obfuscation or omission.