And we ask you to join with us.
This past Tuesday, at the invitation of the American Federation of Teachers, Phyllis and I flew to El Paso, TX, on the very border of Mexico and the USA, to visit a children’s “detention” center (hear “prison”) and to deliver schoolbooks, teddy bears, etc etc as tools of keeping the kids sane and connected to loving care and learning.
Officials at the prison refused to let us even give them these items for the kids, let alone give them to the kids themselves. Why? Orders from above. Who would forbid giving gifts of love and learning to kids who have been yanked out of their parents’ arms?
We also held a vigil / press conference between the El Paso and federal courthouses, and then a prayer circle at the edge of the prison, at which each of the clergy shared a prayer. One participant, Harold Levine, videotaped my thoughts/prayers/ citations of American “Torah” & biblical Torah. You can hear me “sing it and say it” here:
<https://theshalomcenter.org/ElPasoJune2018> (Only 2 minutes, 40 seconds.)
Among us were Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, and Dolores Huerta, iconic organizer of Farm Workers and the Latinx community more broadly. (I had never met her face-to-face, but she greeted me with a big smile of recognition. Told me she had read and loved my emails among our comrades in the US Council of Elders, veterans of the last great upheaval -- of the ‘60s & ‘70s).
And also among us were several dozen national, international, and Texas-local union teachers; about a dozen Latinx organizers; and a number of multireligious clergy, including six rabbis -- Sharon Kleinbaum, Sharon Anisfeld, Mike Moskowitz, Stephanie Ruskay, Phyllis Berman, and me, and Sarah Brammer-Shlay, a rabbinical student who has an astonishing job as “Rabbinic Research Fellow” for the AFT.
Next, in order to “Reunite Separated Families NOW” and “Stop Imprisoning Refugees NOW,” will be nonviolent civil disobedience for some of us, including Phyllis and me. And for many thousands of us this Saturday, June 30, huge rallies in Everytown, USA.
Click <https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together_attend1/search/> to find your nearest.
As you already know from my email a few days ago, Phyllis & I spent last Shabbat in Washington DC, at the Erev Shabbat and Shabbat morning prayer-and-action services sponsored by the Religious Action Center, in close alliance with the Poor Peoples Campaign / National Call for Moral Renewal, and then at the multi-issue teach-in and the march sponsored by the Poor Peoples Campaign.
Next week at the ALEPH Kallah and a few weeks later at the National Havurah Institute and a week later, at New CAJE -- the Jewish teachers gathering -- I will be teaching on Eco-Judaism and the ways of bringing new life into Torah and drawing new life from her.
Now there are three moments in Jewish time we are exploring, to give them new vitality and us new strength to face the great crises of our generation :
- observances of Tisha B’Av as a Lament for Temple Earth;
- using an existing fast day or proclaiming a special Ta’anit Tzibbur, a Communal Fast in Time of Calamity, in recognition of the deep dangers to human lives, to American democracy and to world livability that we are now experiencing. The Constitutional walls against tyranny are falling, one by one, to the onslaughts of a mindset as destructive as the Babylonian Empire was when it broke down the walls of ancient Jerusalem;
- and “Share Sukkot: Grow the Vote.”
We are doing this on a staff of two and budget of less than $150,000. It is exhausting. It is also exhilarating. We work hard, out of commitment. Our outreach is amazing! But Money is frozen energy. It must be unfrozen in the service of healing, for change to come.
We cannot keep doing this without your help. Do you want us to keep planting the seeds that bear rich fruit in eco-social justice? If you do, I ask you to click on our maroon “Contribute” banner on the left-hand margin of this page, and reach deep for your tax-deductible gift. Can you aim at a minimum of $180?
Twelve thousand people have asked to receive the Shalom Report.
Let’s give them – all of us -- the gift they – all of us -- want to receive, the ideas, the emotion, the sacred wisdom old and new that strengthens us to work with compassion, for compassion. Against cruelty.
Thank you. As we bless the Source of Life, so we are blessed. -- Arthur