Reb Arthur's Latest Thoughts

627 votes, 17 minutes, 1,000,000+ kids

These numbers – 627, 17, 1,000,000+– ring out how people who have been inspired to organize themselves can begin to change the world. And they represent two currents of change under way in the USA, one electoral and one in the streets. Both currents are crucial, if we are to save ourselves, our democracy, and the Earth that mothers us.

 I want to share with you my thoughts about these numbers. First, what happened this week and how “inside-the-system” and “outside-the-system” efforts for change connect with each other.  Second, the “deep history” of top-down subjugation and uprising new community.

 I. This past week saw two remarkable and quite different expressions of Resistance. On Tuesday, a candidate for Congress who is a progressive on economic issues and a centrist on social issues defeated a pro-Trumpery right-winger by 627 votes.   The Trumpist ploy failed -- the ploy of enriching the UltraWealthy and the Corporate Pharaohs, impoverishing the middle class, and subjugating the poor by inciting racist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-free-press, anti-woman energies in the country in order to win support from struggling workers, farmers, and rural businessfolk.

This week, in one more Congressional District, that ploy failed.  Even pouring unheard-of millions into the pro-Hyperwealth campaign –- money to prime the pump so that hugely more money would come out the other end of the policy pump – even that failed.

 This is important. To build any bulwark against floods of would-be anti-democratic, anti-Earth policy for the years ahead, at least one house of Congress needs to be in bold defense of The People, Yes.

I think those who dismiss Tuesday’s election as a merely symbolic victory are mistaken: Members of the House of Representatives who were slavering at the chance to damage and destroy Social Security and Medicare are far less likely to do it, as of today, than they were on Monday.  Why? Because the danger of being defeated is all too clear. (On other issues, like Wall Street & the Dreamers, they don’t feel endangered. Yet.) If the right-winger had won, even by a sliver, those right-wing Congressmembers would have been likely to say, “See? Floods of money can pull me through even if it’s just by a hair.”

 Electoral victories are necessary, but they are not enough. Energies that are rooted “outside” electoral politics are crucial to making change happen. Even in this electoral case, it took labor-union organizers spending thousands of hours knocking on thousands of doors in Pennsylvania to energize those 641 more voters than the Corporate Pharaohs with all their millions could turn out.

 That’s the power of 641. What is the power of 17?   All across America yesterday, high-school students left their classes for 17 minutes, in grief for the 17 students and teachers murdered in Parkland, Florida, and in angry determination to make a difference about guns. Many left school for much longer – t least 1,000,000 of them across the country. Maybe many more: Who can count a demonstration that takes off from thousands of school buildings?


 It has taken smart, creative, and gutsy high-school students to break through the fog of despair and apathy about gun violence. I am proud to report that all four of my high-school-age grandchildren took part in (indeed, helped organize) walk-outs where they are.  “Five generations of activists,” my father would have joyfully said, starting with his father the “shoshalist” Amalgamated Clothing Workers organizer.

The multifaceted Resistance didn’t start yesterday. Looking back a year, It took 3,000,000 women on the streets -- now there’s a number! – to awaken candidates for office, the #MeToo movement, and much more. It took tens of thousands of people streaming into airports to break the back of the Trumpist ban on Muslim immigrants and refugees.

 And we have seen great strides of Resistance to anti- immigrant and anti-Black racism. Not yet anywhere near enough.

 The Shalom Center has put most of our energy into protection of the Earth. In that arena it has been harder and slower to build an effective opposition to Trumpery. I will be writing separately about how to deal with that.

 II. I think we are in the midst of one of the great swings of history, when there is a great shift toward tighter control and subjugation from the top, and in response a great effort to create a new, richer, broader, fuller community at the grass roots. (Or maybe the power-grab for tight control is sparked by  growing, sprouting communal grass-roots energy. Or both.) That is a deeper reason for synergy, not hostility or competition, between “in-the-system” and “out-of-the-system” activism.

 Think about the “big past.” Squeezed between two ravenous Empires, Egypt and Babylonia, some of the Western Semitic tribes responded by creating the Godwrestling People, Shabbat, and Torah. A new kind of community.

Millennia later, subjugated by the Roman Empire, that same community found what we call “Biblical Judaism” collapsing. They responded by creating two new forms of spiritual community – Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.  Half a millennium later, rigid authoritarianism and oppression in Mecca led to a new prophecy and the spread of Islam.

And now, Techno-Imperial Modernity is destroying all the old forms of society, economies, cultures: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Nationalist, Communist, Liberal-Democratic.

More and more of the youth cannot abide these old forms. They do respond to moments of unofficial or marginal spiritual depth, like the Occupy movement and the Standing Rock encounter.  “Interfaith” and “transnational” and “intersectional” efforts would have been defined and punished as heresy by almost all the older religious, political, and national communities just 150 years ago. Now they are flourishing. No way to know in advance what form this energy will take.

Our Resistance in this hour is part of one of the great Upwellings in human history, like the emergence of the great religions. The only question is whether we can carry the day into a new kind of Beloved Community before Imperial Modernity can shatter all our civilizations and the Earth beyond renewal.

 

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New "MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder"

Friends and comrades in the struggle for spiritually-rooted justice, peace, and healing of our wounded planet   -–

This year, April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, comes just a few days after Easter and is itself the fourth night of Passover.  We honor these festivals and draw on them to renew and re-invigorate  Dr. King's wisdom, linked to the struggles and wisdom of our own generation.

We are doing that with the “MLK + 50 Interfaith Freedom Seder.”

You can read and print out the PDF file of the "MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder" by clicking on the title of this article and then on the link that says "pdf," just below the bold "Attachment" line that appears. This brief note gives an overview of our intention.

The MLK + 50 Interfaith Freedom Seder

Woven by The Shalom Center

To Reawaken and Renew

The Prophetic Wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During Holy Week and Passover in this 50th Year

The new Seder stands in a great tradition. On April 4, 1969, the first anniversary of Dr. King’s death, about 800 people – Jews and Christians, Black and white -– gathered in a Black church in Washington DC to celebrate the original Freedom Seder in his honor and for the sake of strengthening the work he had begun. The next year, a Freedom Seder held at Cornell Universty actually liberated Father Dan Berrigan for several hours of freedom from his underground resistance to arrest by the FBI.

The Freedom Seder was unique and unprecedented because it wove the ongoing and still unfinished story of the struggle for Black liberation in America together with the ancient story of Israelite liberation from slavery to Pharaoh. It was published, radio’d, and televised nationally.

Exactly one year before Dr. King was killed, on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City, in his speech “Beyond Vietnam,” he warned that the “triplets” of racism, materialism, and militarism were endangering America. He called for a “radical revolution of values.”

The "MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder" is shaped by devoting three of the traditional Four Cups of the Seder to opposing and transcending one of those triplets, and devoting the fourth cup to opposing and transcending their "quadruplet" --  Sexism & the Subjugation of women.

And we devote the traditional Cup of Elijah as a Fifth Cup of commitment to activism toward creating the Beloved Community that Dr. King envisioned. 

You can read and print out the PDF file of the "MLK+50 Interfaith Freedom Seder" by clicking on the title of this article and then on the link that says "pdf," just below the bold "Attachment" line that appears 

We look forward to hearing your plans to use the Seder. Please share them by writing <Seder@theshalomcenter.org>

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April of Resist: MLK+50, Holy Week, & Passover

This coming spring, three powerful Prophetic moments will arise in American society. We need to – and we can! -- bring them  together to face the threat of despotic leaders ready to poison justice, peace, our democracy, and Mother Earth herself.

All three of these moments of the Spirit Rising have their roots in powerful grass-roots movements against despotic power:  against Imperial Pharaoh, against Imperial Rome, against an Imperial US Government that Dr. Martin  Luther King insisted had become “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”

  • The Christian Holy Week will begin on March 25 with Palm Sunday, ending on April 1 with Easter.
  • Passover will begin with the First Seder on Friday evening, March 30, and continue through April 7.
  • And the deepest questions of American society – – past, present, and future – – will clang together on April 4, the 50th anniversary of the murder of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee.

Exactly one year before he was killed, on April 4, 1967, Dr. King had spoken with deep concern about the American future – – not only condemning the US War Against Vietnam, but also warning that the deadly "triplets" of racism, materialism, and militarism were corrupting and endangering our country.

[Dr King at Riverside Church in NYC for his most prophetic speech, "Beyond Vietnam," with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel & historian Henry Steele Commager at his side.]

Why did King use the word “triplets” rather than “trio” or simply “three”? Triplets have one distinctive characteristic: they share a large amount of their DNA. What DNA do these triplets share? Subjugation. Exploitation. Contempt for “the other.”  Increasing their own unaccountable, irresponsible power by trampling others in the mud.

Half a century later, have we weakened these “triplets” in our midst? Our President waves the bloody flag of racism, threatens to annihilate in nuclear “fire and fury” millions of helpless human beings controlled by a despotic leader, and plans to spend a trillion dollars “modernizing” nuclear weapons that can already empty our planet of all life. 

And three aspects of materialism are far worse than fifty years ago:  gross economic inequality, grinding poverty for more people, and destruction of the Earth that is our common home.  All these aspects of the third triplet bear down upon us from the power, greed, and cruelty of Hyper Wealthy corporations. Modern Pharaohs, modern Caesars.

And we have realized that we need to name beyond King’s triplets another form of oppression: sexist contempt and hostility toward women. So now we must face deadly quadruplets. 

Can we draw on Dr. King’s prophetic wisdom and the spiritual power of Passover and Holy Week  to heal us from these woundings and move toward what King called the Beloved Community?

One year after King’s death, on April 4, 1969, the third night of Passover, in the basement of a Black church in Washington DC, about  800 of us  --- Jews and Christians, Black and many shades of “white” --   joined in an unprecedented "Freedom Seder." 

What made it unprecedented was that for the first time, the "Telling" of the ancient story of Exodus from slavery under Pharaoh was intertwined with other tales of liberation –-- especially the ongoing, unfinished story of the Black community’s struggle for liberation in America.

I wrote the text of that Telling, and a group called “Jews for Urban Justice,” far outside the established Jewish organizational structure, organized the actual celebratory Seder.  The night was filled with eloquence, song, laughter, comraderie,  tears..

The Telling was published by Ramparts magazine. The actual Seder was broadcast live by WBAI radio in New York City, and major excerpts were broadcast on television by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Seder itself, and what it inspired, pointed toward the “Beloved Community” and the “moral revolution of values” that King envisioned. Tens of thousands of Jews and Christians across America responded with joyful recognition. And not imitation but emulation: a flowering of Seders that were feminist, antiwar, ecologically responsive. The Freedom Seder turned out to free Passover itself, opening it to new energies and visions. And not just Passover, but many other aspects of ritual and ceremony were reread into new life, new meaning. The Freedom Seder became a tiny crystal of change tossed into a super-saturated solution of people who were thirsty for change. The "super-saturated solution" became a light-filled, light-refracting  crystal.

Can we do this again, this year?  Can the Spirit rise in the face of tyranny as it rose in the Exodus, in the week from Palm Sunday to Easter, in the Hegira from Mecca to Medina?

Already, all across America, a multi-state nation-wide Call for Moral Revival, led by Rev. William Barber, intends to include vigils and civil disobedience in affirming a new Poor Peoples Campaign  --  renewing and enriching what Dr. King was doing in  the last year of his life. See <https://poorpeoplescampaign.org>

Already the National Council of Churches has called for a massive gathering on the National Mall in Washington on the morning of April 4 to begin a great campaign for “Truth and Racial Reconciliation.”  See --

<https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/national-council-of-churches-endorse-sweeping-initiative-to-end-racism/>

<http://disciples.org/event/unite-end-racism-2018/>

Already, The Shalom Center has organized and posted a remarkable collection of prophetic teachings by and about Dr. King.  See <MLK50.org>

What more? All across America, religious communities and congregations and multireligious alliances could sponsor Interfaith Freedom Seders during Holy Week and/or Passover (especially April 3 or 4) as a way to challenge the Pharaohs and Caesars and Bull Connors and Trumps of our own day. 

For example, New Freedom Seders could dedicate the Four Cups of wine or grape juice in the Seder to  “Healing Us from the Deadly Quadruplets”  -- the triplets named by Dr. King and the fourth, sexism, added by the realities of our day.

The Shalom Center is at work on creating the text for that Seder. We welcome your suggestions.

And meanwhile, we invite you to explore these versions we have already created of a Seder for the Earth:

“The Interfaith Freedom Seder for the Earth” at <https://theshalomcenter.org/haggadah-for-the-earth>

“The Seder that Makes Clear the Earth Really Matters” at

<https://theshalomcenter.org/content/passover-when-earth-really-matters>

Please write us with your suggestions for a New Freedom Seder and/or with requests for our help and suggestions in creating and organizing your own.

 

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A Jewish State Must Not Send Refugees to Death

Torah vs. the Present Government of Israel

One of the greatest betrayals the present Government of Israel is visiting upon the Jewish people is poisoning the bloodstream, the very birth-moment, of Torah and Jewish history.

How? By deporting to tyranny and death African refugees in Israel who have with great and painful effort made their way to israel and are seeking asylum from threats of death in several of their home countries.

The Jewish commitment to give refuge to those fleeing tyranny is rooted deep in Jewish history – at the very birthing of Jewish peoplehood. Three thousand years ago, according to our story of our origin, we ourselves were a band of runaway slaves. And so the Jewish people encoded its own “Refugee Convention” in Torah:

“You are not to hand over to his master a serf who has sought rescue by you from his master. Beside you let him dwell among you, in whatever place he chooses, within one of your gates that seems good to him. You are not to maltreat him!” (Deut 23: 16-17, modified transl. by Everett Fox, Five Books of Moses)

How could we NOT have affirmed this, insisted on it? Every year we gather at the Passover Seder to repeat that we were a band of runaway slaves. Without that, we are nothing.

Recent history makes clear once again that the expulsion of these refugees is a poisonous betrayal of ourselves. After World War II and the Holocaust, during which Jews were denied refuge in many countries and died as a result, the world insisted on adopting the Refugee Convention, with the State of Israel among its leading supporters.

So it is not surprising that already thousands of Israelis and hundreds of American rabbis have protested. Already pleas to Israeli pilots to refuse to fly these asylum-seekers to their deaths have brought some pilots to announce they would indeed refuse.

Facing the US government last week, hundreds of American Jews joined as a body in Resisting its actions to ruin the lives of the Dreamers, of immigrants, and of refugees.  Eighty-two were arrested. They were motivated by the same deep values as those protesting about the similar actions of the Israeli government. Thanks be to God!

Now we need more voices, many thousands of voices, to stop this betrayal of Jewish peoplehood and biblical teaching by the Government of Israel.  Americans —  Jews, Christians, and others moved by the best of biblical wisdom  --  can make a difference by joining with the Israelis who have already spoken out..

We invite you to join in this resistance by signing the Call at

<https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=23&reset=1>

We call for all Israelis to join those who already oppose these deportations of despairing refugees, and refuse to cooperate with the deportations.

We call upon the Government of Israel to reverse its plan and obey the Torah’s command to offer aid and asylum to the runaway serfs of our day.

 And we call upon all Americans to join in these demands.

We invite you to share this letter with your friends and colleagues, and ask them to join as well. You can do that by clicking here:

<https://theshalomcenter.org/jewish-state-must-not-send-refugees-death>


Let us be clear about what is already under way at the behest of the Government of Israel: 

As reported by Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, January 4, 2018:

The operation of deporting African asylum seekers from Israel has been officially launched. Yesterday, the Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA) announced that, from February 1st onward, it would no longer extend the temporary visas held by asylum seekers and demand that they leave to a third country. 

The official procedure does not exclude the chronically and severely ill, people with disabilities and victims of torture. All are now subject to the threat of deportation. The PIBA is already calling upon Eritrean and Sudanese citizens, urging them to leave Israel within three months. Asylum seekers who do not leave within that period will face indefinite detention and their employers will be fined. 

But that decree is not the end of the story, thanks to God and history and the survival in our kishkes of the values embedded in Torah and our lives.

We can stop the cruel plan, but in order to do so we need thousands more with us.

Please join in the Call for offering aid and asylum to the African refugees now under threat of deportation in  Israel by clicking here:

<https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=23&reset=1>

And please help The Shalom Center keep renewing the wellsprings of our spiritual wisdom and healing the deep wounds of our society, by making a contribution through the maroon "Contribute" button in the left-hand margin of this page.

With blessings for all who seek justice and pursue peace --  Arthur

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Gloria Steinem: "When Americans Leave an Abusive Household"

The Moment of Greatest Danger;

The Moment of Greatest Freedom

By Gloria Steinem

[More than four years ago, in the fall of 2013, The Shalom Center celebrated the approaching 80th birthdays of Gloria Steinem and myself with a gathering titled "This is what 80 Looks Like: Activists as Elders, Elders as Activists." I certainly do not need to tell you who Gloria Steinem is. On that evening, Gloria said something that has echoed in my mind and heart ever since. It is the quote with which she begins this comment on where we stand today. --  AW, editor]

Dear Friends:
 
            “American society is living now at the moment when an abused wife walks out of the household. It is the moment of greatest possibility for freedom, and the moment of greatest danger that the abusive husband will try to kill her. Freedom depends on her having a community to protect and nurture her. Right now, many abused communities are walking out of their abusive households. Almost certainly, there will be attempts by those in power to choke these energies to death.   Together, we can nurture them and all of us to greater freedom, greater justice.”
 
        Those were words I said to you-all at The Shalom Center when we were last together in the fall of 2013. That they were written down at all, I owe to the generosity of Arthur Waskow. Since the 2017 Presidential election -- and all that has flowed from it -- they have turned out to be more of a truth and warning than I could have known or guessed at the time. 
 
        It has taken a voter turnout rate lower than that in India, an outdated Electoral College, and a name popularized in TV “reality” shows to empower the third of the country that is in backlash against social justice movements. Yet that third of voters did elect to the top of our hierarchy a President who represents powers that are indeed trying to “choke those energies to death.” 
 
      This is happening even though – and also because -- the issues of social justice movements are now supported by the majority of Americans in public opinion polls.        
     
       Yet two big things also happened the day after the election. First, we learned that Donald Trump was the second man in modern history to win the Presidency despite losing the popular vote   -- and the one who lost it with by far the largest margin.  Second, we probably didn’t learn that Rebecca Shook, a retired lawyer living in Hawaii, posted on Facebook her idea that women should march on Washington in response to the first thing.
 
        Now a year later, the energy released by that obscure woman –-- and by everyone who has ever stood up and said, “It’s not fair!” -- is beginning to rival the power that is choking us from the top.


      Not only was that Washington March with its sister marches all across America the biggest demonstration in the history of the nation –- not only national but global –-- it was a reminder of all the marches of past and present against racial and economic injustice. 
 
      It set off a wave of protests against anyone in elected office who wasn’t following or listening to the majority will. It also initiated candidacies by Americans who had never run for office before -- or perhaps even voted. We cannot minimize the danger we are in, from war talk with North Korea to judicial appointments we will be facing for years to come.
 
      But in my long life, I have never seen such a populist, spontaneous, long-lasting, and self-willed rebellion. Planes have been stopped on the tarmac to warn those aboard that exclusionary immigration policies might not let them back in. Candidacies have been launched by Americans who are supposed to be outsiders by race, sex, class, gender, and/or sexuality, yet they have beaten longtime representatives at the polls.  
        
     Donald Trump himself has helped galvanize the March and the rebellions that have been happening ever since. By his fact-free Tweets, narcissistic lashing out at the smallest criticism, seduction by any praise, even from his country’s enemies, and appointment of a fox to head every chicken coop in Washington, he has depressed his Gallup poll ratings to a level way below that of any previous President.

Also, because he rose to office as the unpunished Harasser-in-Chief, he has turned a Me, Too movement into a coast-to-coast It’s About Time! Movement. This has just turned the Golden Globes into the first ever mainstream television event that belonged to women as much as men; to an organizer of household workers as much as a movie star.
 
     Though we always knew that Trump would be richer if he had just invested what he inherited from his father, now we know he would be more popular if he just disappeared.
 
        So in recognition that we, too, need Twitter-length versions of why we are in this struggle together – why we need a deep democracy of human beings who are linked, not ranked -- let me just remind us that sexism, racism and class systems are all intertwined. That’s because controlling reproduction, and therefore female bodies, is the only way to maintain differences of race and class in the long run.

       Of course, racism often affects women differently. White women have been more likely to be sexually restricted in order to maintain racial “purity,” while black women have been more likely to be sexually exploited in order to produce cheap labor. For both women and men, class negates our equal status at birth inn all kinds of ways from inheritance to health and education. Altogether, there is no such thing as freedom for anyone as long as racism, sexism and economic class decide our fates. 
 
          The bad news is that we are in maximum danger. Like the woman escaping from a violent household, we are at the moment when our captor is most fearful and likely to strike. 
 
     The good news is that we are now Woke! Like that escaping woman, we see the maximum danger, and yet know we also could be free.
 
      We must work hard, organize every minute, and take care of each other. Yet I think there is no turning back. We are escaping old divisions. 
 
    We just might be on the way to new freedom.  

     --  Gloria

 

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MLK + 50: Remembering & Relearning from April 4, 1968

Beyond the Deadly Triplets of "Racism, Militarism, & Materialism" toward the Beloved Community

As we move into the weekend of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, I want to flag the fact that this year, April 4 will be the 50th anniversary of his death.

It will also be the 51st anniversary of his most profound teaching, his speech at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, entitled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence.” In that speech he warned America against the deadly "triplets" of racism, militarism, and materialism, and called us to face "the fierce urgency of Now." (This photo is from a demonstration against the US War in Vitenam, led by Dr. King and Dr. Benjamin Spock.)

And this April 4 will be the 49th anniversary of the original Freedom Seder, using the first multireligious/ multiracial Passover Haggadah –- held during Passover in 1969, deliberately on Dr. King’s first yohrzeit to honor and continue and renew his prophetic vision. .

Both this weekend and as we approach April 4, we can lift up what we have learned from Dr. King’s life and work, and what we need to reconfigure for our own generation.  For example, his warning about "materialism" in our lives evokes both the worsening economic inequality in our country, a new Oligarchy of the Hyper-Wealthy, and the worsening danger of climate chaos brought on by the  homicidal greed of the Carbon Pharaohs.

This very weekend, we could add a reading of excerpts from Dr. King’s prophetic vision to prayer services  of Jumah, Shabbat. and the Sunday  Sabbath.  Key excerpts are posted on our Home Page at <https://theshalomcenter.org/content/fierce-urgency-now-excerpts-mlks-beyond-vietnam-april-4-1967>

Plans and actions are already afoot around the country for recognizing this  dark and bloody moment in American history, and turning it toward the transformation of America –-  taking steps toward the birth of the Beloved Community that Dr. King envisioned.

Among these efforts:  Rev. Dr. William Barber is leading the New Poor People’s Campaign, a multi-city echo of the work Dr. King was doing in his last days. On April 4 itself, he will be leading activist commemorations in Memphis, where Dr. King was killed. The National Council of Churches is planning a major gathering on the National Mall that day, focusing on “Truth and Racial Justice.”

What can we ourselves do in taking this time as a Season of Truth and Transformation?

The assassination of Dr. King crystallizes into one moment a great many of the bloody streaks in US history --  violence by the powerful against the disempowered:

  • Genocide of the Native communities;
  • Slavery, “post“-slavery racism in segregation, the Klan, lynchings, and  “the new Jim Crow” of mass incarceration;
  • The long history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of violence against labor unions;
  • A long history of imperial wars, from the war to annex large parts of Mexico to the war to subjugate the Philippines through many violent interventions in Latin America to the Wars against Vietnam and Iraq and the endless invasion of Afghanistan; 
  • The imprisonment of Japanese-Americans in 1942;
  • The gun violence that is uniquely horrific here as compared with every other industrial country;
  • The violence done other life-forms on this continent, this planet, and now the deep and near-mortal wounding of our Mother Earth through global scorching.

Americans have never collectively and at a spiritual level faced this part of our history, seen it as a continuing self-inflicted wound, done penance for it, and committed ourselves to heal ourselves from its hurt.

Could we make April 4, 2018,  a National Day of Atonement and At-One-ment, perhaps a fast day from sunrise to sunset?   In Jewish life there has grown up a profoundly serious word-play rooted in Yom Kippur as, in English, the Day of Atonement — also the Day of At-One-ment. The day when we not only atone for our misdeeds but turn toward The One — the Source of Life, the Unity of all.  Both Atonement and At-One-ment are what a National Fast Day on April 4, 2018, would aim at. 

On the website <MLK50.org> you can find the full text of “Beyond Vietnam” and several others of Dr. King’s speeches — both in writing, and by voice —  and some powerful writings about him and the effects of his work even into our own generation. These materials could assist you in organizing an all-day or all-night teach-in on applying the wisdom of Dr. King today. 

In addition, this year the 6th night of Passover begins the evening of April 4. This could be a powerful moment for a Freedom Seder. (The photo below is from the original Freedom Seder in 1969.) If any of you, our readers and members, wants to organize such a Freedom Seder, please let us know. Write us at <MLK50@theshalomcenter.org>.

You will find helpful materials  on The Shalom Center ’s website at 

<https://theshalomcenter.org/content/new-freedom-seder-against-pharaohs-our-generation>

<https://theshalomcenter.org/haggadah-for-the-earth>

 

<https://theshalomcenter.org/songs-passover-earth>

<https://theshalomcenter.org/content/four-new-questions-passover-seder>

<https://theshalomcenter.org/narrow-pharaoh-and-midwives>

We will write more about these possibilities as we move closer to April 4. We invite you to write us at <MLK50@theshalomcenter.org>what you are planning, so that we can share and enrich our separate efforts into a network of Truth and Transformation..

 

 

 

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Truth and Transformation: A Vision for the New Year

This could become a year of Truth and Transformation. Truth about the painful past, the promising past. Transformation of the future toward making real the Beloved Community.

Just as I sat down to write you-all a letter on my sense of what we face and how we can take action in 2018, I received an oddly, ironically  relevant link to an article in the New Yorker, just appearing.

In it I am quoted from a recent interview for the New Yorker story --  about a conference I took part in 50 years ago. The Foreign Policy Association, which sponsored the conference, aimed at predicting what life would be like 50 years afterward –-  that is, this year.  Then they published a book of predictive essays --  with not a single woman author, nothing on race  relations,  and no author under 35 years old. 

Were their predictions on target? One participant warned that “large-scale climate modification will be effected inadvertently” from rising levels of carbon dioxide. A few others foresaw the rise of complex “big data” computers.

Otherwise, no worthwhile predictions. No one foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage , or the election of a fascist President of the United States.

The article, by Paul Collins, quotes me:

For Waskow, such omissions were no accident. “That’s what I ended up feeling about this whole cluster of people,” he remembers today:

 “They were trying to figure out how to describe the future, and mostly in ways that would have them still in charge of it. Their technology was all stuff that would fit within the basic framework of corporate capitalism of the sixties and seventies.”

 “I was interested in changing the world—not trying to predict the future, but to create the future.”

I still am.  The prophetic voice does not predict the future, it “possidicts” the future with a strong ethical dimension to the vision. If you do x, you will get x-squared. If you do y, you will get y-cubed. What you sow is what you will reap. All the prophetic voice can do is warn of danger if we do x and offer transformation if we do y.     If is the word of truth.

If you want to read the whole article, click to -- 

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-1968-book-that-tried-to-predict-the-world-of-2018

If you want to hear a prophetic voice, not predictions, keep tuned here:

  1. 1.     Oligarchy

There are three crucial aspects to the present effort to turn a precariously democratic society into an Oligarchy of the Hyper-Wealthy:

a. Personal egomania and paranoia, well positioned to evoke the same responses in fear and disgust toward  Blacks, Browns, immigrants, the poor, students and teachers,  elders, women, LGBTQ people, Muslims, maybe Jews, the Earth itself and those who  try to protect water, air, food, land, national parks, from poisoning and corporate take-over. The desired result: emotional distress and economic misery among these folks, enough to keep them so busy surviving and so suspicious of each other that they cannot take time to organize an insurgent politics

b. Shifting enormous amounts of wealth and power to those already Hyper-Wealthy.

 

 c. Preparing to choke off debate and dissent. The goals: –- taking over the FBI and “re-Hooverizing” it as a politically repressive force; ending Net Neutrality; bashing and ultimately limiting independent judges and the critical press; defining networks like Black Lives Matter as proto-terrorist, etc. This part of the process is so far mostly at the “shouting” rather than the “choking” stage

2.     Resistance

We have seen the emergence of larger and broader grass-roots opposition. Much of it has been single-issue from different sectors of American society, each responding to the pressure on itself. But there has been an increasing recognition that “we are all in this together,” that subjugation is the DNA that all the different pressures share, that democracy itself is in serious danger.

a. Many thousands of women have been moved into action beyond anything before, even in the movement to win the right to vote. Many women have seen the links between political threats to the right to choose birth control and abortion,  with individual, personal, and intimate attacks on their bodies and dignity.

b. From a seed planted in North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” movement has grown the organizing of a new Poor People’s Campaign, drawing on memories of Dr. Martin Luther King, reaching across racial and regional boundaries as King was hoping to do when he was murdered, and enlivened now by the prophetic intelligence and eloquence of Rev. Dr.  William Barber.

Barber has called for a “fusion politics” that brings together  not only economic issues and resistance to racism but also the threats to newly won freedom for women and varied sexual and gender minorities, exploitation of the Earth, the extreme weather events caused by global scorching and the climate crisis.

 c. There are three dates that will arise this year that will test the strength and courage of the movements to renew American democracy. One of these dates we do not yet know. It will come if the present powers in control of the US government respond to growing opposition with a crack-down. That might take the form of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It might take the form of a war unleashed –- the classic resort of a frightened politician. It might take the form of a violent attack on civil liberties in response to a terrorist attack.  These possible events may not arise, but IF they do, widespread rapid-response grass-roots resistance will be crucial.

d. This coming April 4 is the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. It is also the 51st anniversary of his most profound speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” in which he named “racism, militarism, and materialism” as the deadly “triplets” afflicting America, and warned of the “fierce urgency of Now.”  (See the website <MLK50.org> for a wealth of wisdom from him and about him for our generation.) 
The National Council of Churches is planning a large gathering on April 4 on the National Mall in Washington DC;  Dr. Barber will be in Memphis where Dr. King was killed as he worked to support the rights of garbage workers. This day comes shortly after Easter (April 1) and in the midst of Passover (the 5th day).


The week or so preceding it and April 4 itself could be the occasion for a myriad “MLK50” actions all across the country –--  teach-ins and prayer vigils, marches and sit-ins, voter-registration  campaigns and strikes for a $15 minimum wage and a four-day work week with no cuts in take-home pay, blockages of oil and gas pipelines that threaten both local towns and neighborhoods and the planet as a whole -- and many other forms of united resistance.


Those days could also be the moment to begin work on democratic alternatives --  neighborhood food co-ops, neighborhood and congregational solar and wind energy co-ops, “B Corporations” legally committed to the common good, “freedom schools” to teach about participatory democracy in the past and future, newspaper-sponsored  dialogues on American democracy open to all, with the grass-roots conversations then published by the papers, and many more.


e. The next crucial date for the renewal of American democracy will be the November elections for Congress and many state and local offices. Voter turn-out of Black and Latino communities, of women and GLBTQ folk, of labor-union members and un-unionized workers, of students and young people, of elders alert to attacks on Social Security and Medicare –- all these will be crucial. It is not that a renewed and vigorously progressive Congress and city councils will be enough –- but without them, the task of resisting the Oligarchy will be much harder.


f. The values and authenticity of America’s myriad religious traditions are in question. Are they – we! -- ready to act on the values we claim of compassion and community, of love for our neighbors and for our Mother Earth? Are we willing to see the varied strands of religious practice as evidence of God’s Infinity to be cherished, rather than as evidence of bad faith and wickedness?

Prophetic activism: Truth and Transformation

In a time of crisis 50 years ago, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that ““Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood.” Do our religious communities affirm that vision?

The subjugation of human beings and the destruction of our increasingly fragile planet go hand in hand. We cannot return to the rapacious past and still survive. The threats to our hope of creating the Beloved Community are rooted in greed and in fear. Can our churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples both call for and in themselves live out a loving world?

These are the worst of times, these are the best of times. For all of us, in the worlds where we have lived in comfort or discomfort, that world is coming to an end. What world we shape instead is up to us. What we sow is what we then will reap.  As was true in 1968, still true is it today: Our task is not to predict but to create.  IF is the word of truth.  Truth and Transformation? It is up to us.

Blessings to each of you and all of us that we can shape this newest year for shalom, salaam, paz, peace, for Earth and all her myriad earthlings --  Arthur

 

 

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2018: Is the Spirit Rising? -- Part 2

Dear friends,

Today we face a concerted effort to overturn American democracy and to substitute an oligarchy of the Hyper-Wealthy.

This New American Oligarchy even tries to choke to death our Mother Earth –- the home that makes possible all human life -- by strangling the renewable-energy business while subsidizing Big Oil and Big Coal and removing the anti-pollution regulations that protect the purity of our water, food, and breathable air.  All for its own enormous profit.

You would expect the people who will suffer from this Oligarchy of the Hyper-Wealthy to rise up and throw these murderous rascals out of office. How do those who attack democracy make themselves electable? By calling forth the latent fears and bigotries that, once given new energy and visibility, begin to deny the human rights of Black folk, of immigrants and refugees, of Muslims and perhaps of Jews, of independent-minded women who are no longer cowed by sexual harassment and violence.

Denying human rights is the goal of Oligarchy. And it also becomes the means by which to achieve that goal. 

What do we do?

Already we have seen the emergence of a movement that calls itself Resistance. To tell the truth, so far it is more Remonstrance than Resistance. When civil-rights organizations begged Congress to pass a law, that was Remonstrance. When four college kids sat down at a lunch counter, that was Resistance. It took both to change America.

One of the most astonishing and important aspects of this movement is that the largest demonstration in US history, three million people scattered all across the country on last January 21, was imagined by women, led by women, and made up mostly, by far, of women.  And they didn’t just march and go home. Thousands of them decided to run for political office for the first time.

That is a systemic breakthrough. It has already had an effect on our culture – on the ubiquitous, iniquitous  sexual harassment, violation, and rape that more and more women are coming out of the closet of shame and impotence to challenge.

What is the role of the Spirit and of religious and spiritual communities in this struggle? The attacks on racial and religious minorities, on women and the GLBTQ community, on immigrants, on the Earth, are all attacks on different limbs and organs of the ONE. These attacks deny the interwoven interbreathing that suffuses all life. These attacks wound and threaten to kill the life that scientists call an ecosystem, in which every species is crucial to all the others. 

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If you harm  even the least of these, you are harming me.” It is what the Sh’ma says: “Hush’sh’sh and listen, you Godwrestlers who live amongst all peoples, hush’sh’sh and listen to the Breath of Life, the still small voice that is our sacred truth: That Voice is One!” It is what the Holy Quran is saying: “God created us from a single pair of human beings in order to evolve into varied tribes and nations, not to despise each other but to know and love each other, bringing our diversities into our single family.”

It is democracy, not Oligarchy, that carries that truth into the world of action. And if our religious and spiritual communities can revive that message, can turn it into liturgies of light and passion, can make festivals like Hanukkah and Advent and Eid into moments when our legs are[raying as we nonviolently confront the Oligarchy, then it will fall and the Spirit will arise.

There will be an election in November that may serve as a referendum on Trumpery –-- not just an “advisory” referendum but more -- either a reconfirmation or a serious reduction in its power. But there is a long way to walk before anyone runs in November, and  I want to lift up what may be the two most dangerous moments we may face this coming year.

One is that Mr. Trump may decide he is in such legal and political danger from the investigation headed by Robert Mueller that he fires Mueller and/or pardons his own family and close advisers. That would be a break in the rule of law in America and a threat to all our spiritual truths. 

If this usurpation of ultimate power were left unchallenged, few of our human rights and little of our democracy would survive.

On the other hand, our traditions teach that when the tyrannies of Pharaoh and Caesar and the power elite of Mecca became unbearable, the Spirit broke through and new communities were born.

The second possible moment of great danger is perhaps a month or two before the November elections, if polls show the Democrats are about to carry the Congress and Mr. Trump decides to pull out of the hat the oldest trick of a politician in trouble: He goes to war and invokes war powers to control the political situation at home.

In regard to the second possibility, I know of no planning or even brainstorming  -- yet. In regard to the first possibility, the on-line progressive stalwart Move On and dozens of other strong progressive groups have joined to set up a Rapid Response network to go into action if Mr. Trump tries to fire Special Counsel Mueller. Within hours, that network intends to mobilize millions of Americans into public demonstrations.

You can access the plans at  <https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/>

What would be the demand of such demonstrations?

One proposal I have seen on line is that in such a crucial moment, we demand new general elections in November. For President and Vice-President and for the whole Senate as well as the whole House of Representatives. 

That would be Resistance, not only Remonstrance. It would break the conventional rules, but in a way that affirms the rules.

[Last Sunday, when I raised this possibility at a Human Rights Day gathering in South Jersey sponsored by Amnesty International, the gathering startled me by breaking into applause and cheers. That moment was noted by two local newspapers that covered the event.]

Now a harder question: How could such a demand be carried out, with or without acquiescence by the election apparatus in most states?

To begin with, by insisting, by refusing to leave public squares and streets and even Federal office buildings until the election apparatus agrees.

And where it does not, by holding our own elections in or near the regular precincts, in churches and synagogues and mosques, in schools and community centers. And then sending our own newly elected representatives to Washington –- the White House, the Senate –-  to challenge the credentials and occupy the seats  of those who were voted out.

This is what the Black and white pro-civil-rights community of Mississippi did in 1964, when Black folk couldn’t vote anywhere in the state. They organized the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and voted in churches and community centers for an independent-minded delegation to the Democratic National Convention that summer.

The delegation, led by Fannie Lou Hamer, demanded that the Convention seat them instead of the all-white pro-segregation, and racist delegation that had long held those Mississippi seats

This suggestion of new elections next November goes even deeper into what we think the rules are, and broader across the whole country. Would it be easy now? Of course not. But if the time were ever ripe for a deep reexamination of our political system, now is when.

What about later in the year?  Say it is September, polls show the Democrats poised for a big win in Congress, and Mr. Trump decides to change the conversation by bombing Iran or North Korea. No declaration of war or authorization by Congress.  

What do we do?

What could our spiritual and religious communities do in such a crisis? 

Let me end by inviting you-all to do three things:

1)  Either click to <https://www.facebook.com/events/881082792061621/> and register to head to Washington DC early tomorrow to join another wave of sit-ins on Capitol Hill to stop the Tax Deform bill, or call 1202-244-3121, ask for Senator Collins and then Senator McCain, and urge them both to announce now they will vote No on final passage of the bill..

2) Click to <https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/> and check out the plans for Rapid Response if Speciaal Counsel Mueller is fired.

3)  Join in the brainstorming about what to do if Mr. Trump tries to fire Special Counsel Mueller, or if he goes to war later in 2018.  Write me your thoughts, for publication with your name unless you say not.

Celebrate the festivals of Light in times of Darkness! Kindle the candles of Hanukkah (beginning tonght) and Advent.

 

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2018: Is the Spirit Rising?

Last night I began to write a review of where the Spirit has led us in American culture, politics, and society this year, and what we may face next year. But right now, an urgent outcry:

 As I write, the Tax Deform hovers on the edge of passage, but the wave of resistance and remonstrance  is rising. More sit-ins are on the way, like the one Rabbi Phyllis Berman and I took part in last week, warning Congressmembers they would get a pink slip” in November if they vote for the bill on final passage.

One Senator who voted to Deform our country ---  Susan Collins of Maine –--  is so shaken by her constituents’ anger and by her party leadership’s betrayal of its promises to her about the bill, that she has said she might reverse her vote.

There is still time to act: Call her, Senator McCain, and Pennsylvania Congressmen Meehan and Costello,  at 1202-224-3121. Come to Capitol Hill if you can on Wednesday morning December 13, to honor the first day of Hanukkah as a nonviolent Maccabee resisting Oligarchy. For more information and to register, click to --  

<https://www.facebook.com/events/881082792061621/

And in the Philadelphia region, plans are under way for a faith-based action (both risking & not risking arrest) at the home offices of three Members of the House. Call -- Melissa Byrne at 609.364.4267 if you would like to take part.

 Why do all this? Because the Tax Deform bill  strangles Obamacare and deeply wounds Medicare and Medicaid and even cancels tax deductions for medical expenses; it heavily burdens the lives of college students and grad students with higher taxes; it tries to choke to death the renewable-energy business while subsidizing Big Oil and Big Coal, thus burning our planet and ourselves.

And while impoverishing the middle class, the Tax Deform bill cuts a trillion dollars from the taxes of the Hyper-wealthy, setting the scene for an Oligarchy to replace American democracy and preparing the way to slash Social Security and Medicare to make up for the staggering deficit created by its radical reduction of money  the Federal government can spend for human needs --  because it has delvered all this extra money to the Hyper-wealthy.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is burning, Puerto Ricans are still dying because they have been deprived of electric power, and the arsonists who caused both disasters are sitting in cushy Corporate offices, Capitol Hill, and the White House.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 This past Sunday was Human Rights Day, commemorating the original adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.  I was invited to speak to the Amnesty International chapter of South Jersey. 

The “Press of Ocean City” covered the event, and its report is at –--

<http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/rabbi-social-activist-discusses-politics-and-resistance-in-ocean-city/article_8ddbddb9-b391-5672-8c0d-82ed54c83371.html>.  

In this letter to you I will divide what I said in two parts: Naming the truth of where we Americans are as 2017 ends, and then looking forward into 2018. This is the first part of what I said; the second, I will send to you tomorrow. 

When we talk about attacks on human rights, usually we have in mind a specific arena: attacks on racial equality, or religious freedom, or freedom of the press, or the rights of women and the GLBTQ community, or the right to vote. 

 When such attacks come in American society, usually they seem like a bad case of the flu or a broken arm in the body of a basically healthy person –--  a momentary break in the over-all context of a healthy functioning democratic society.  Attacks on racial equality are different: They began at the beginning and continue to this day, sometimes more virulent, sometimes less. Right now,  a lot more, with a white-supremacist in the White House.

Most other attacks on human rights in America arise in moments of economic crisis or foreign war, and then they subside. We end up being ashamed of them, and to make sure that we can keep upholding human rights, we support organizations like Amnesty.

But all that is in the context of a healthy functioning democracy (again, except for racism), only occasionally wounded as a healthy person might be.

Today we face something different. We face a concerted effort to overturn American democracy and to substitute  an oligarchy of the Hyper-Wealthy. At the core of this effort are attacks on every human right, all the human rights, that together make democracy possible – – in fact, are democracy.

Who would have thought that a "tax reform" bill could embody attacks on basic human rights? But the whole point of the bill we now see before Congress is to shift enormous wealth and power into the hands of those who are already enormously wealthy and powerful, and simultaneously to weaken at every turn the ability of 99% of our society to meet our own needs or to bring about public policy that meets our needs. (That ability is what we call "democracy.")

I call the bill not “tax reform” but “Tax Deform.” It twists and deforms America -- our shared religious and ethical values, our future, our hopes and plans for our children and grandchildren.

It tries to choke to death the renewable-energy business while subsidizing Big Oil and Big Coal, it strangles Obamacare and deeply wounds Medicare and Medicaid and even cancels tax deductions for medical expenses, it heavily burdens the lives of college students and grad students with higher taxes.

Details tomorrow! 

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Light & Delight for Hanukkah and Other Festivals

“It is the worst of times, it is the best of times … it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness,” to carry into our own generation a famous novel of the French Revolution.

This morning, as we face the danger that the “Tax Deform” may pass despite its cruelty, the world is growing darker than it was. Yet we can also see the growing glow of Light, like fireflies in the night,  in many hearts, minds, hands that are kindling the candles of commitment.

And many festivals of Light dispelling darkness are soon to come upon us.

The roots of Hanukkah are in a Tree.  A Tree of Light in a time of Dark. A Tree of Growth in a time that threatens death. 

 


Hanukkah begins the evening of December 12 with the lighting of one candle and continues till the evening of  December 20 -- including the lighting of one more candle each night till eight candles are lit on the evening of December 19. 

The festival begins on the 25th of the lunar “moonth” closest to the winter solstice, and watches over the disappearance  of the moon and its reappearance. It thus celebrates with light the darkest time of the moon and the sun in the Northern Hemisphere.

This pattern suggests that almost certainly its true origin was an earth-time festival. It has been overlaid in Jewish tradition as the celebration of the victory of a Jewish revolt against an oppressive and idolatrous empire –- ruled by a king known as Antiochus the Mad. Thus it translated the earthy and spiritual victory of light and hope over a time of darkness and despair into a political and religious level, as the victory of a ragtag guerrilla uprising against a powerful Empire. 

And the rabbinic tradition also defined Hanukkah as the celebration of a miraculous “conservation of energy” when oil capable of lighting the seven-branched Temple Menorah for just one day lasted for eight full days.

On the Shabbat of Hanukkah we will read the Prophetic and ecstatic envisioning by Zechariah of the rebuilding of that Temple after its destruction by another empire -- Babylonia. Zechariah proclaims that in the rebuilt Temple the Menorah will be lit up by two olive trees that will secrete their oil directly –--  without human intervention -- into the Menorah. (The Menorah itself was fashioned in imitation of a tree, with branches and buds and flowers.)

Thus what is made by human hands and what is earthy are intertwined,  just as  the Earth (adamah) and the human “earthling”  (adam) are in Hebrew intertwined, and as they are intertwined in the life-giving ecosystems of our planet.

So Hanukkah can be celebrated at many levels: 

  • As a time to renew active and activist hope and Light in a time –-- like the present! –-- when many of us feel darkness and near despair about the future of democracy, the future of human civilization, and the future of our planet’s web of life;
  • As a festival to celebrate and act on the conservation of energy and the reduction of our use of oil, coal, and other fossil fuels;
  • As a time of resistance to our modern Empires, both corporate and governmental, including one ruled by a Mad self-worshipping Emperor devoid of empathy and honor;
  • And as a time for celebrating the interwoven, interbreathing life we share with all living beings as part of Mother Earth.

Meanwhile, we are on the verge of other festivals  that also celebrate the emergence of Light in a time of darkness:

The Christian festival of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (December 2) and ends on Christmas Eve, December 24.

The Muslim festival of Mawlid un Nabi, Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, began last night for Sunni Muslims and continues till this coming evening, and for Shia Muslims will begin the evening of December 5.  

Bodhi Day, the Buddhist festival recalling the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama, occurs on December 8.

For those who want to celebrate any of these festivals not with tchotchkes but with gifts that bring Light  into our lives, two books and a CD  from The Shalom Center might meet your needs and fulfill your desires.

In one of these books, Godwrestling – Round 2: Ancient Wisdom, Future Paths, I share the new Torah that emerged from Torah as I read and reimagined it in the context of my own life in the midst of new Jewish communities (feminist, Earth-centered, peace-pursuing, Spirit-called).

In the second book, Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus and Wilderness across Millennia, Rabbi Phyllis Berman and I draw on our lives together to look at the bold, mournful, hilarious, heartbreaking stories of breaking free from slavery and seeking to birth a new society.

In the spirit of the Freedom Journey itself, we invited a radically spiritual white Christian American, a feminist Muslim scholar, and an activist  Black American teacher who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King each to write a chapter on the role of the  Exodus/ Wilderness stories in their own traditions and communities.


You can read these books, a chapter at a time,  to yourself, a teen-age child, a companion, a lover, a spouse. Taste the chapter, talk about it, savor the sparks of Light that rise when you strike the Rock of Torah with the Hammer of our own lives.  And have your companion read the next chapter to you. They will bring sparks of renewed Light into your conversations and your lives.

 

As for the CD named Sing Shalom!, it begins with an improvised jazz duet on flute and shofar by Paul Horn and Reb Zalman. It includes Pete Seeger singing for the first time in public his song Rainbow Race; Peter  Yarrow singing his poignant Hanukkah song Don’t Let the Light Go Out;  Debbie Freedman with  Not by Might, Not by Power;  Shefa Gold with Roni v'simchi;  Kim and Reggie Harris with Go Tell It on the Mountain and stories of the civil-rights movement; Margot Stein, David Shneyer, Linda Hirschhorn, Leila Gal Berner, Jack Kessler, Miraj, Juliet Spitzer, and a dozen others.

There is no other CD like it, weaving together  Jewish and other Songs of the Spirit Rising as our lives need to do.To order these or other Gifts of the Spirit Rising for the Festivals of Light, please click to <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=10>


Our lives have been, still are, a Time of Darkness; we are the glimmering fireflies that can gather to make ourselves a Menorah  of new Light. More light!

 

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