12 WAYS TO SAVE THE LIVES
OF ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN
(Provided by The Shalom Center http://www.theshalomcenter.org)
(Please circulate this list to all who might respond.)
We have received many requests for ideas on how to do tzedakah for people damaged by war in Lebanon, Palestine / Gaza, and Israel.
"Tzedakah" is a Hebrew word that means something similar to charity, but more obligatory -- rooted in "tzedek" – justice. We might say: "acts of social responsibility" to help those who are suffering.
The first three items below make some suggestions for direct aid in each country.
Item 4 is an action to move public policy by going beyond cease-fire to calling an Emerghency International Conference on Middle East Peace.
Item 5 is about praying for peace.
Items 6 through 9 focus on peace-oriented Jewish and Israeli organizations and information sources. We have given special attention to these because many in the Jewish community and MANY IN THE AMERICAN PEACE COMMUNITY know little about them, thinking Jewish and Israeli opinion are monolithic in support of Israeli government policy. THEY ARE NOT.
For example, on August 10, two important mainstream peace groups – Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) and the Meretz political party – and three major Israeli writers – Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua - joined in protests against the government's decision to expand the war.
Items 10-12 are about multireligious and Abrahamic initiatives to build peace, not just to end a war.
There's an Item 13 too—baker's dozen – that you can see when you get there.
1. Since the war in Lebanon began, eclipsing news from Gaza and the Palestinian West Bank, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed – according to B'Tselem, a noted Israeli human-rights organization, about half of them not involved in hostilities. The crisis in Palestinian hospitals continues. Send money to support Physicians for Human Rights in Israel in their work to take medical supplies to Palestinian hospitals in crisis. You can click to --
Then click on the blue Donate Now button and be sure to write "Hospitals" in the "On behalf of" box.
2. The Shalom Center has done what it can to investigate what may be the most trustworthy Lebanese relief organizations struggling to deal with the disaster. One, the perennial Red Cross, is a fully national Lebanese organization with no exclusive ties to any ethnic group. Another, the Hariri Foundation, honors the Lebanese statesman who opposed Syrian domination and was assassinated. Neither seems likely to have special ties to Hezbollah.
It should be clear, however, that the community most deeply affected by the war, with at least one thousand dead, between half a million and a million refugees, and many homes destroyed, are Shia Muslims. Many of them (not all) have close ties to Hezbollah, which intertwines the functions of political party, social-service organization, social movement, and armed force. It will probably be very hard to find any Lebanese relief organization that is meeting real needs of those in greatest pain in this moment but has no involvement whatsoever with any aspect of Hezbollah.
The two outfits we think have broadest outreach and least likelihood to be involved in violence:
A -- Beneficiary: Lebanese Red Cross (Lebanon)
Bank name: Audi Bank, Bab Idriss
Account number: 841500
B -- Beneficiary: Hariri Foundation Lebanon Relief Fund (the money will be wired from the US to Lebanon; the foundation.)
Bank Name: Citibank, 8001 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814
Account #: 240 70249 ABA#: 254070116
3. In Israel, about 500,000 people have been forced by rocket attacks on their cities and homes into becoming refugees elsewhere in the country. Many Israeli citizens of Palestinian culture live near the Lebanon border and some have been killed or wounded in attacks. To help heal those wounded, donate to Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross. Go to --- www.magendavidadom.org/
4. Ask your US Senator to urge the convening of an Emergency International Conference on Middle East Peace. For convenient letter-writing, go to --
5. Pray for peace, making explicit that you mean not only peace in general but also specifically peace among the families of Abraham. For example: In the Jewish prayer of the kaddish, the last sentence traditionally asks for peace "among us and all the people of Israel." Some communities have been adding also "for all the children of Ishmael and all those who live upon this planet," thus – Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom alenu --- v'al kol Yisrael, V'al kol Yishmael, V'al kol yoshvei tevel – v'imru Ameyn!
For our full MOURNERS KADDISH IN TIME OF WAR, in both Hebrew and an interpretive English rendering suitable for all spiritual communities, see on our Website:
For peace prayers and texts from many religious and spiritual traditions, see a Website posted by the National Council of Churches:
6. Start receiving information from at least one of the American Jewish organizations dedicated to seeking peace through achieving a secure Israel, a viable Palestine, and an independent Lebanon. This list represents a wide spectrum of approaches within that understanding. Even if one disagrees with some aspects of their policy positions (and The Shalom Center often does), they carry valuable information.
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice & Peace) http://www.btvshalom.org/
Tikkun Community / Network of Spiritual Activists
Americans for Peace Now (loosely affiliated with an Israeli peace organization, Shalom Achshav)
Meretz USA (affiliated with a peace-oriented Israeli political party, Meretz).
The Shalom Center -- subscribe to the free on-line SHALOM REPORT: click to --
Israel Policy Forum
Jewish Peace News. On-line reports sent by Jewish Voice for Peace, more critical of Israel than those groups listed above, but conduit for useful news reports.
7. Read two quite different Israeli news sources: One is the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on-line in English. It has a mildly dovish view of Israeli policy, and often carries reports of life in the occupied Palestinian territories. Check it out on –
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/ . Second: Subscribe (free) to Uri Avnery's vigorous English-language on-line commentary on Israeli-Palestinian relationships.
www.gush-shalom.org and email@example.com
8. Subscribe (free) to the on-line news service of Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research & Information (IPCRI), a Jerusalem-based source for a wide variety of news, analysis, and ideas. IPCRI is rooted in concern for both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
Go to --
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IPCRI-News-Service/ And click on "sign up."
9. Donate to support independent Israeli grass-roots organizations through the New Israel Fund. http://www.nif.org/
10. For a collection of some (only some) of the comments reporting or analyzing the Israel-Lebanon war that we find especially helpful, see a section of our Website. There is a considerable spectrum in the views we have included. We are trying to keep this section up-to-date.
11. Use the book The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Muslims, and Christians (Beacon Press, 2006) as a guidebook to bringing American Jews, Christians, & Muslims together for discussion and after deep connection, possible action for peace. You can buy the book at 10% discount and free shipping by clicking to http://www.beacon.org/tentofabraham/ and writing in "tent" as the buying code.
12. Begin planting seeds now for the shared sacred seasons in the fall of 2006 and 2007 that include the Jewish sacred month of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, & Sukkot); the Muslim sacred month of Ramadan; the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi ; and Worldwide Communion Sunday for Protestant and Orthodox Christians. –
Bring the three Abrahamic communities together in prayer, learning, conversation, and if possible shared action. Look at --
13. [We said 12? It's a baker's dozen!] THE SHALOM CENTER NEEDS YOUR HELP to deal with this. We did not budget for responding to an explosive Middle East war, and our resources are being stretched by responding as we have been doing. We deliberately did not put this item first or even 12th, because we want you first to consider the wounded, the refugees, the need for policy change. But we DO ask for your help.
Please click to --
and then click on the big blue DONATE NOW button. This time do NOT enter anything in the "on behalf of" box.
Many many thanks. May the time, energy, thought, and gifts you are giving for the sake of life and peace echo in your own life as healing and shalom for you and those you love.