You’re so high I can’t get over You;
So wide, I can’t get around You;
So low, I can’t get under You;
Great God Almighty —
Watch me coming at Your door!
I’ve attached a photo of me, trying hard to get arrested yesterday by rolling under a police barricade at the Federal Building in Philadelphia, as part of a protest against plans for the Tar Sands KXL Pipeline. (Click on the photo to expand it.)
Thirty protesters were arrested, some because they were able to leap over the barricade. (Physically beyond me, but I saw a space where rolling under it was possible.) After I made it through, the police essentially gave up trying to keep that doorway open. Maybe I was the last straw? If they couldn’t keep an 80-year-old rabbi at arms’ length ——-? Anyway, they pulled back into the building & locked the door.
Those arrested included Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, a member of The Shalom Center’s board and a member of the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College: an RRC student, Michael Pollack ; and Susan Saxe, a long-time member of The Shalom Center. They were among a ten-person Jewish contingent — a minyan! — who were prepared for arrest, including Spritual Directos Barbara Breitman, Rabbi Julie Greenberg and her daughter Zoey, Noah Winer, and Maynard Seider.
These are excerpts is how the Philadelphia Inquirer described it, this morning:
“On Monday, about 40 protesters linked arms and sat down in front of three entrances to the federal building at Sixth and Arch Streets.
“Thirty were eventually arrested by Federal Protective Service officers, some after they climbed over police barriers erected around one entrance. One protester, 80-year-old Rabbi Arthur Waskow, unable to climb over a barrier, slid under instead. He was not arrested.
“Attendees sang hymns and wielded brooms (to “sweep away corruption”), cheering, “Another climate hero,” as demonstrators were led away by police. Barring a few minor confrontations at the building’s entrances, organizers said, they were pleased with the event.
“The activists selected the site, they said, because the State Department has a domestic office inside, and the public comment session for the department’s environmental impact report on the pipeline has just come to an end.”
Among our songs and chants:
We have the whole world in our hands —
Rivers and oceans in our hands;
The police and their grandbabies in our hands;
We have the whole world in our hands!
Hey hey President Obama,
We don’t want no Tar Sands drama
President Obama, hey hey —
Wind and solar are the way!
The Shalom Center is the only national Jewish organization that has the climate crisis as Priority 1. We will be meeting with people in Boston on Sunday March 30 and Washington DC on Sunday April 6 to help spark local and regional Jewish action on climate, and on April 10 we will be taking part in a multireligious re-Passover/ Holy Week action in Philadelphia. From August 11 to 15, I will be co-teaching with Nili Simhai, founder of Teva Learning Alliance, a course in Jewish action to heal the earth. It will take place at Isabella Freedman retreat center in Connecticut.
For more information on these, see <https://theshalomcenter.org/meet-ups-around-usa-organize-jewish-action-climate>
We would be glad to meet with other such groups, Jewish or multireligious, in cities around the country. If you are interested, please twrite me at <Awaskow@theshalomcenter.org> and explain what city, etc.
And to make this organizing possible, we urgently need your help – your (tax-deductible) gifts. Please click here to make a donation and, if you like, receive a thank-you gift from us to strengthen your own spiritually rooted action to heal the world: <https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=1>
Many many thanks, and blessings to you of shalom, salaam, paz, peace in your own life and in the world — for as you sow, so shall you reap.