On October 2, there will be a huge gathering at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC called "One America, Working Together," focused on creating jobs for all. Many groups that are taklng part will also urge transferring the present war budgets to civilian needs in the US, and focusing on green job creation -- renewable energy sources, public transport, etc.
Jewish organizations have to deal with the fact that October 2 is Shabbat. In part to address that question and to lift up the profound religious and spiritual need for a reawakening in America that serves the people, not corporations, a number of religious organizations are planning for an Interfaith Shabbat service at the Lincoln Memorial at 11 a.m.
The rally, which is intended to keep on as a campaign after 10/2/10, was initiated by the AFL-CIO & NAACP. Many other groups, including The Shalom Center, have joined in sponsoring the rally.
That Shabbat, Jews will be reading the Torah portion about the Creation of the world and the birth of the human race. It is clear we are in a crisis in which the old America – indeed, the world as we have known it -- is passing away and a new one is being born.
Will the new America be a society of the VERY VERY Rich ruling over the desperate poor and the distraught former middle class, while the earth itself falls to plagues of oil, coal, fire, flood?
Or will it be an America newly committed to jobs for all at living incomes, with livable hours to assure free time for family, neighborliness, civic participation, grass-roots politics, and the Spirit, with healing for our deeply wounded earth and with restrictions on the power of corporations so that they must serve the public good, not their own aggrandizement?
We hope that where possible, whole congregations will decide to come to Washington, take part in the interfaith service, and then in the rally. Where that is not possible, we hope rabbis and social action committees will announce the event, encourage individuals to come if their understanding of Shabbat accords with that, and give sermons about the issues.
Jobs are not just an economic necessity; they are a spiritual practice.
A rhythm of rest and reflection is not just a psychological or physical need; it is a deep spiritual value.
Toppling Pharaohs of top-down, irresponsible power is not just a political act; it is at the heart of the struggle against idolatry; it is a spiritual commitment.
Healing the earth is not just a matter of preserving the future of humankind; it is a spiritual undertaking for the sake of the One, the Breath of Life.
With blessings of the wholeness that comes only when we "pray with our legs" (as Heschel taught) -- joining our hearts, minds, spirits, and bodies in the deepest, fullest action –