Featured

8 Nights of Hanukkah, my True Love sang to me: "Please heal My Earth!”

Beforehand: Start Now. If you don’t have Seasons of Our Joy and/ or want the newly updated 4th edition, published by the Jewish Publication Society, plan NOW before Hanukkah to go on-line at https://jps.org/books/seasons-of-our-joy/ to order it,  or call Longleaf Services at 800-848-6224 or 919-966-7449, or Email customerservice@longleafservices.org

Prepare for Learning Early --  Right Now!: The next Jewish festival will be Tu B’Shvat, the ReBirthDay of Trees and of the Sacred Tree of Life. It will come on Sunday evening January 20 and daytime Monday January 21, which this year is also Martin Luther King’s Birthday and comes right after the Women’s March on January 19. How do we connect the Earth-oriented Tu B’Shvat with the activist-oriented MLK Day? Maybe by focusing on defeating environmental racism?

You can do early learning for your way into Tu B’Shvat in two ways:  

       Click to  https://jps.org/books/trees-earth-and-torah/    Explore the book after Hanukkah. It will help you think, and plan.

The book  and the Webinar will help you gather friends for a Tu B’Shvat Seder with four courses of fruit and nuts, four cups of wine, and a commitment to heal earth, water, air, and fire (energy).

NOW FOR HANUKKAH  ITSELF:

Overview: These suggestions are not intended to be commands or strictures. They are intended as pointers toward a way of making Hanukkah both serious and joyful, a grown-up time to bring people together using a Jewish festival to help heal the Earth from the climate crisis. Add or substitute your own ideas as you feel moved.

Sunday Evening Dec 2. Candle 1:  Learn and Build Community: Invite friends over. From my book Seasons of Our Joy, read aloud together the chapter on Hanukkah.  Each person around the circle can read a paragraph, and pause to discuss whenever anyone has a question or a suggestion.  Sing some Hanukkah songs, share latkes and doughnuts fried in olive oil.

Monday daytime, Dec 3, first day Hanukkah: Call your electric-power utility to switch your own home to wind-powered or solar-powered electricity. (For each home, 100% renewable power reduces CO2 emissions the same as not driving 20,000 miles in one year.)  Call your friends and suggest they also call your local utility.

Mon eve Dec 3, Candle 2:Click to https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/  for background information on what it means to organize a solar energy co-op,  

Daytime,  Tuesday Day 2, Dec 4.  Invite about five friends or neighbors, to gather on Tuesday evening for a conversation about organizing a neighborhood Solar Co-op.  Maybe include your rabbi or leaders of your congregation.

Tues evening Dec 4: Candle 3: Gather with the people you invited.  Click again to https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/  for background information, and spend the first hour reading and discussing what’s there. Then spend an hour talking about how to call a larger meeting of 20 to 50 people, with perhaps a speaker or panel. Set a date and each one of you jot down whom you will call.

Daytime Wednesday, Dec 5, Day 3. Start listing whom you want to call for the larger gathering, and make a few calls to speakers you agreed on.

Weds eve Dec 5, Candle 4: Play dreidl with kids, your partner, and/or close friends. Relax and have fun.  

Daytime Thurs, Day 4, Dec. 6. Write a letter to your own State Senator  and/or Delegate urging them to reduce subsidies for highways, increase them for mass transit. In states (like PA, NY) where high-profit oil/ gas companies are trying to “frack” Oil Shale deposits,

Linda Sarsour writes on the Women's March & Facing Anti-Semitism

Dear Shalom Center members,  friends, and readers,

In recent days there have been some calls from some people in the Jewish community to boycott the planned Women’s March on January 19. This call has been explained on the ground that some of the March leaders have been unwilling to specifically denounce Minister Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam for his many blatantly anti-Semitic views and speeches.

One of the March leaders cited in this call has been Linda Sarsour, an important leader of the Women’s March movement that became powerful the day after Mr. Trump’s inauguration as President, and onward from then.  I know that Ms. Sarsour has not only spoken words but also taken action strongly condemning anti-Semitism.  She has, for example, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help repair desecrated Jewish cemeteries and to assist the survivors of the “Tree of Life” synagogue mass murders in Pittsburgh.

[In this photo, Linda Sarsour is at the far right, next to Gloria Steinem along with other leaders of the Women's March in 2017]

So I was very surprised by these attacks, and very open to hearing Ms. Sarsour’s views on them. When I received a privately circulated letter from Linda Sarsour explaining her views on these matters, I was and am deepy moved by it, and asked her permission to share it with The Shalom Center‘s community.  She wrote back, “Please share as you see fit. Hope it brings some healing to broken hearts.  – Linda”

Here is her letter: Shalom, Arthur Waskow

I am requesting for all who read my email to approach it with an open mind and an open heart with the understanding that you may not agree with what I will put forth and that is okay with me. This is not an email to persuade or to convince, it is an email with my voice and my experience and my truth - one that may not be comfortable for some.

I know and recognize that our Jewish family is experiencing real pain, hurt and trauma. I know this stems from generational trauma and history of genocide and that these past few weeks have triggered insecurity, fear and anxiety. This is a difficult time and it requires us to be clear-eyed and also recognize the real threats so we can protect each other. We are all we got and this movement is all we got. 

Background

The Farrakhan controversy began 8 months ago when Jake Tapper and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL "exposed/ promoted" a video of the Minister Farrakhan at an annual gathering for the Nation of Islam called Saviour's Day where Tamika D. Mallory was present along with 15,000 other people including many Black celebrities, business people, dignitaries and pastors. She was not a speaker.

Tamika has already discussed in length her longstanding relationship with the NOI after the brutal murder of her son's father 17 years ago and the positive role NOI played in this Black single teen mother's life. I won't rehash this but note it here for context. We heard painful and yet loving critiques from our Jewish friends, we had conference calls, meetings, we put out a statement that came out a few days late BECAUSE we have Jewish women on our staff who were impacted personally and working through a statement that was going to speak to all the concerns was not something that could happen overnight. Since then conversations continued and our important work continued.

Then the horrific Tree of Life shooting happened that took the life of 11 innocent Jewish Americans and all of a sudden Women's March was being asked to condemn the Minister Farrakhan. There was nothing new that happened between Women's March and the Minister. Folks decided to rehash 8 months ago. A white supremacist walked into a synagogue and killed 11 innocent people and the focus became the Minister Farrakhan and the NOI.

A few days before that a white supremacist sent dozens of pipe bombs to notable figures and a day before that a white supremacist killed two Black people at Kroger's (my Muslim American community also raised funds for these two innocent souls as well) after he could not get in to a locked Black church but here we were three women of color who are leading a powerful effective movement with millions of members being demanded to denounce Minister Farrakhan who had no relation to these white supremacists or these acts of violence.

Instead of coming together as a country to call out white supremacy and the violence being inspired by this Administration --- the deflection went to a Black man who has no institutional power. ---  This is a feature of white supremacy. 

This is not an email in defense of Minister Farrakhan. He can do that for himself. We have been CRYSTAL CLEAR in BOTH of our statements that we REJECT antisemitism and all forms of racism. We have been CLEAR that Minister Farrakhan has said hateful and hurtful things and that he does not align with our Unity Principles of the Women's March that were created by Women of Color. Minister Farrakhan will tell you himself that he does not belong to nor adhere to our progressive movement or yours. 

We are trained in Kingian nonviolence, the ideology of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that at its core calls us to attack the forces of evil not those doing evil. We believe in redemption for people of color who have been discarded, denounced and condemned for centuries in this country. People who engage in acts or behaviors or hold beliefs based on their own historical trauma. It's why we are not ashamed to work with formerly incarcerated individuals who have committed crimes that for some in society would have determined and decided to give them death. We have been slandered for working with criminals - but we are committed to a movement that leaves no one behind.

Some folks who claim to be in the resistance or represent the resistance have no ideology or theory of change and have no understanding of the nuance that comes with organizing with communities of color because they have not done the work - and I pray that they do meet, build and learn because it will transform how they show up so they can help and not harm. 

Last year when a St. Louis Jewish cemetery was desecrated, with no hesitation I raised close to $165K for its restoration and because of the generosity of many in my community it allowed for the restoration of another Jewish cemetery in Colorado that was neglected for years. Immediately after the Tree of Life shooting, my colleague Tarek and I (through MPower Change) raised $206K to pay for ALL the funerals of the 11 innocent Jews that were killed. My role as a movement leader is not just to say profound words it is to set an example of what meaningful allyship looks like that is beyond thoughts and prayers. This was all erased.  oped after oped after oped after quotes from people who want to see their names in print and barely any mention of our contributions when they decided to tear us down. 

The labels of antisemitism were here before the Minister Farrakhan controversy 8 months ago. Who remembers when a campaign was started by the alt-right and right-wing Zionists to get me disinvited from a CUNY commencement speech last June? Who remembers the campaign against me last fall around my participation in a New School panel about the importance of combatting antisemitism in this moment with Jewish Voice for Peace and Jacobin Magazine? Minister Farrakhan was not even a factor yet in the conversation. I was already being labeled an antisemite and by extension the Women's March.

It's very clear to me what the underlying issue is - I am a bold, outspoken BDS -supporting Palestinian Muslim American woman and the opposition's worst nightmare. They have tried every tactic at their disposal to undermine me, discredit me, vilify me but my roots are too deep and my work is too clear and they have not succeeded so by proxy they began attacking my sister Tamika Mallory - knowing all too well that in this country the most discardable woman is a Black woman.

Tamika has been disinvited from some things, and her twitter account that I have access to is full of hate that is unfathomable, saturated with the N-words and worst things said to Black women. I will NEVER throw Tamika away. My loyalty to Black women who have risked their lives for all of us is and will be unshaken. I will continue to hold Tamika up because she has done that for too many people that society has written off. 

Tamika and I are women with our own agency. We speak for ourselves and ourselves alone. We are being stripped of our agency when every few months we are asked to condemn the Minister about words that we did not say, nonetheless the words of a man who did not consult us on his words. We are being held to standards that no one would hold themselves to.

I can share numerous examples of times when movement leaders could have said more and done more for various communities or in response to hateful things that have come from their communities and their "leaders"- blatant anti-blackness,  Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian rhetoric -  yet that is UNFAIR which is why I don't expect it nor demand it. As a Muslim, I know all too well that I am expected to answer for other Muslims’ actions when white folks never have a second thought about having to do that. ---  This is a feature of white supremacy. 

Let's also recognize who the majority is that leads the attacks against women of color leaders - not people of color led institutions or activists.  Wonder why. Who benefits when a powerful, effective and proven organization is attacked? Who benefits when the movement is divided? Who benefits from the confusion and the fractures? Not us. Not marginalized people. Not those who are counting on us to win.

Let us not fall for the longstanding tactics of white supremacy of divide and conquer. Unity is NOT uniformity. I am not building a unified movement where we will all agree on every single point and issue. I am building a complex, intersectional movement with the clear understanding that it will be messy and uncomfortable because if it was going to be easy someone would have done it a long time ago and we would all have our rights and be enjoying our lives in a free democratic country that treats us all with dignity and respect. But here we are.

We have seen UGLY. I pray that none of you have to experience what we have. A litany of death threats, unsolicited hate mail some with threats of violence. FBI visits to notify me of credible threats to my life that I had not even seen, the need for security detail, surveillance systems for my home - I don't say this for any pity or sympathy because I am NOT a victim, I am a survivor of a white supremacist system that wants to ban and rid itself of people like me and Tamika, I say this to say that these public toxic conversations invite these things to happen to us and we all have a responsibility to want us to be safe and out of harm's way. Tamika and I did not choose to be activists, this work chose us.

This is not a side job, or a labor of love - this is a matter of life and death for the communities we love and come from. 

I ask you all to model how we approach each other in the movement. Have conversations, reach out, ask questions, give benefit of the doubt, contextualize moments outside of your own personal feelings, remind yourself of the good this person or persons or organization has done. Use critical thinking skills.

Be honest with your feelings, speak from the I, propose solutions and not demands. Challenge people in your circles, engage people. Tearing down, threatening movement leaders with "say this or else we won't do this or if you don't say this then its meaningless" is not the way. 

The Women's March is an important institution in this resistance. We have organized the largest single day demonstration in American history, we have been the catalyst for 20,000 women to run for office, we have trained thousands of women in civil disobedience and direct action, organized the largest women led civil disobedience back in June around family separation, co-led close to 30 days of organizing around Kavanaugh and shifted the entire narrative, worked diligently with many of you on elections in key states winning back the House and NOW we are in the midst of organizing another HISTORIC mobilization to remind the Administration that we are still here as a resistance and send a message to Congress and yes to our friends in Congress that we will create the political will for them to be brave and hold them accountable to the platforms they ran on. 

Thank you for reading this far. I know for some this may not have been easy and may have triggered you and I see you. Sit with this. Absorb it from a place of love and commitment to making this movement work. I pray that our Jewish family recognizes that this resistance is for you too and that you embrace the solidarity we have shown because we have a lot more to give. I am available for one-on -ne conversations and am committed to making the time. 

Stay focused. The real threat is white nationalism and white supremacy. They want to destroy us all. We are all we got and you know that you can count on me and the Women's March leaders to continue to be bold and put it all on the line. We hope to see you on January 19th, 2019. We promise you that we have remarkable things in store and you will leave inspired once again. 

I will leave you with a quote that guides the way I show up in this work and I hope that it speaks to all of you. It is by an aboriginal woman by the name of Lila Watson and she said:

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you have come here because you believe that your liberation is bound up with mine, let us work together."

My liberation is bound up with all of yours. 

In solidarity, 

Linda Sarsour 

 

*** *** ***

(Arthur back again:) As I said, I am deeply moved by this letter. Yet I do not agree with all of Ms. Sarsour’s views. I have, for example, publicly disagreed with the call of the “official” BDS [“Boycott Divest Sanction”] movement for total boycotts of all Israeli institutions, and I have publicly debated with its Palestinian leaders. (At the same time, I have supported boycotts of companies that are directly supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories on the West Bank.)  

My own opposition to a total BDS directed against all of Israeli society, along with my strong opposition to the Israeli government and the Occupation, comes from my own ties to the decent elements in Israeli society. So from my own rresponses I learn to respect the responses of a Palestinian-American with strong ties to the Palestinian community under Occupation in its homeland, and to understand why such a person would feel drawn to BDS. In this way I honor our disagreement  --  both sides of it – even while I hold strongly to my own view.

Should my disagreement on this question push me toward boycotting a movement that I strongly support – the Women’s March -- in which Ms. Sarsour is a leader? God forbid!

Indeed, just the opposite.  Contempt for women and their subjugation is an aspect of the white nationalism that also encourages fear and hatred of immigrants and refugees, Muslims, Blacks, Latinx, Native Americans, and the free press; that emboldens anti-Semitism; and that through the Trump-Netanyahoo alliance subjugates Palestinians. Resistance to white nationalism connects the fuller liberation of American women from sexism with the fuller liberation of the Jewish community from anti-Semitism.

In our very diversity, our different cultures, our disagreements, we are the rainbow refractions of ONE light. The Quran teaches that humanity was created in many different cultures precisely so that we can learn to understand each other. Jews affirm in the Sh’ma that the Divine Interbreath of Life is ONE. The Torah’s call that we pursue “justice, justice” – in its different voices --  is ONE. The love we owe each other is ONE.

To Lila Watson's and Linda Sarsour's challenge, I respond: We have indeed come together because we do believe that "your" liberation is bound up with "mine."  So let us work together!

Ashes, Stones, & Flowers: A Litany For Armistice Day or Memorial Day

In Memory of All Victims of War and Terrorism

[The litany requires either actually standing at a running river or a lake, or if that is not feasible bringing a large basin of water into the center of a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple. If the basin, change "river" to "water" in the litany. At best, it includes having a list of names of people of various countries who have died and are dying as victims of war and terrorism. If these are not yet available for a particular act of violence, drop the recitation of names.]


Ashes, Stones, and Flowers:

For vibrant lives suddenly and shamelessly sacrificed, we lift up the ashes of our loss,

O Source of Life.


For the lives that continue, haunted forever by the pain of absence,

we lift up the ashes of our remorse, O Wellspring of Compassion.


For the conflagration of flames and nightmare images

forever seared into our memories,

we lift up the ashes of our pain, O Breathing Spirit of the World.


For the charred visions of peace and the dry taste of fear,

we lift up the ashes of our grief, O Infinite.

For all the deaths that have been justified

by turning the love of God or country into fanatical arrogance,

we lift up the ashes of our shame, O God.

 

As we cast these ashes into the troubled water of our times, Transforming One,

hear our plea that by your power they will make fertile the soil of our future

and by your mercy nourish the seeds of peace.

 

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

 

In silence, the people cast the ashes into the river

[or a bowl of water].

 

***

For the ways humanity pursues violence rather than understanding,

we lift up the stones of our anger, O Breathing Spirit of the World.

 

For the ways we allow national, religious and ethnic boundaries

to circumscribe our compassion, we lift up the stones of our hardness, O Wellspring of Compassion.

 

For our addiction to weapons and the ways of militarism we lift up the stones of our fear, O Source of Life.

 

For the ways we cast blame and create enemies we lift up the stones of our self-righteousness, O God

 

As we cast these stones into this ancient river, Transforming One, hear our plea:

 

Just as water wears away the hardest of stones,

so too may the power of your compassion soften the hardness of our hearts

and draw us into a future of justice and peace.

 

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

 

In silence, the people cast the stones into the river

[or a bowl of water].

 

***

For sowing seeds of justice to blossom into harmony,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Source of Peace.

 

For seeing clearly the many rainbow colors of humanity and earth,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Infinite.

 

For calling us to life beyond our grieving,

we cast these flowers into the river, O Breathing Spirit of the World.

 

As we cast these flowers into this ancient river,

Transforming One, hear our plea:

 

Just as water births life in a desert and gives hope to the wounded,

so too may the power of your nurturing renew our commitment to peace.

 

[The people recite the names of the dead.]

 

In silence, the people cast the flowers into the river

[or a bowl of water].

 

 

Litany by Rev. Patricia Pearce, former pastor of Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia,

and Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of The Shalom Center.

Pittsburgh: Grieve, Heal, VOTE!

There are many disastrous levels to the murderous massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

There is the immediate personal disaster of eleven lives destroyed, others wounded, families and friends bereft, a neighborhood traumatized. To all these, The Shalom Center as a body and I individually send blessings of swift refuah (healing) for the wounded,  deep respect and grief for the dead, and loving care for those bereaved.

There is the broader disaster of shock to the American Jewish community, until now so profoundly joyful to have found full acceptance in America these last several generations, after millennia of persecution elsewhere and elsewhen. 

Some of us took from that safety acceptance in becoming affluent, even wealthy, even powerful. Some of us took from that safety acceptance in becoming social critics, progressives, even radicals.

Less comfort as critics than as powerful, of course – but comfortable that all the clauses of the First Amendment affirmed our worth as Jews, as sacred fringes on conventional assumptions, as challengers who could wrestle not only with God (as our name “Yisrael” describes us) but with the rigidified habits of ourselves and others.  

And even worse, the broader disaster of facing an American government that our immigrant forebears who came here for freedom’s sake could not have fathomed:

 A government honeycombed with white supremacism, moving into neofascism,  calling forth from the shadows into boastful visibility those who concoct bombs to enforce their racism, who can openly revel in their contempt for women, who can turn hatred of foreigners into willingness to rip babies from their mothers’ breasts,  who can turn their greed for hyperwealth into willingness to torch the Earth that is our common home, our only home  -- and who can turn their latent anti-Semitism into mass murder.

How do we respond to these layered levels of disaster?

There is a time to wail and a time to pray.

There is a time to sing in sadness, and a time to sing in solidarity, and a time to sing in both:   --

Sing along with Holly Near, “It could have been me but instead it was you”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CadP4dRemYk

 There is a time to learn, and a time to act.

 There is a time to act by marching bold, and a time to act by sitting-in.

 There is a time to VOTE.

 Yes, we still have time – but not very much – to change this government controlled by hate-mongers and their toadies.

 Already millions have been casting early votes. Nine days from today, the Congress will be reshaped – or not. Or partly.

Either for the first time this corruptly rotten government will face a check upon its power – or its power will be authorized, unchecked.

Either we prepare for more tears as our goverrnment encourages more bombers, more bullies, more killers --

OR we change our government, by voting in great numbers:

We have but eight days to Grow the Vote – Grow it numerically, and Grow it in wisdom.

Long ago, the story tells us, at the edge of the Red Sea, the People paused in terror of the choices that they faced. Moses lifted his staff and prayed to God, the Breath of Life.

And God said, “Moses! My people are caught between Pharaoh’s Army behind and the tumultuous Sea ahead – and you stand there, piling prayer on prayer?  Tell My People to move forward!”

The People moved -- became truly a movement into freedom. The future opened, and the Breath of Life became a Hurricane of Change.

So may it be for us.

Four months ago, The Shalom Center began preparing teachings and symbols for "Share Sukkot: Grow the Vote!" We bumped into several unexpected concerns: "As a nonprofit, we can't do that." (Yes we can, as long as we don't name a specific candidate or party to support.) "There's a wide spectrum in our congregation; some people might get mad." (Maybe the agreement is broader after Pittsburgh. And who can oppose encouraging people to vote?)  "Blacks and Hispanics may have a stake in this election, but we don't. We're fine, regardless."(Gulp. Yeah, right.)

In the Jewish community, after Pittsburgh there should be no synagogue, no havurah, no Hillel, no organization of any sort that holds back from Getting Out The Vote and teaching the issues that grow from millennia of Torah.

And in the other communities of ethics and of Spirit, the same. We stand together -- Black churches, Muslim mosques, Sikh temples, Jewish synagogues have all been desecrated, violated. In all of them, blood has poured into the sacred vessels.

Our Grow the Vote resources are still useful. Click to  https://theshalomcenter.org/ShareSukkotResources

On  Saturday night,  I spoke for and to a vigil / action rally of about 300 Jews and other people in a Philadelphia park, allies in this moment of disaster and beyond.  We persevere. We mourn. We organize. We speak the truths we are able to discern.

We need your help to do that.

Please help The Shalom Center continue our work to heal our society’s deep wounds by clicking on the maroon “Contribute” button on he left-hand margin of this page.

Please help The Shalom Center continue our work to heal our society’s deep wounds by clicking on the maroon “Contribute” button on he left-hand margin of this page. On three pillars stand the future: Truth, Justice, and Peace. May each of us reach out to make them strong, and so win also for ourselves the blessings that they bring for all the world --  Arthur

 

Murder Inc., A Saudi-US Rhapsody in Blood:

Saudi Prince, US President, $$$, & Yemen

All the accumulating evidence indicates that Saudi Crown Prince and actual dictator Mohammed bin Salman almost certainly ordered the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critical independent-minded Saudi journalist who had been writing for the Washington Post.

The immediate response of the US president and his “princely” son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was to try to explain away Prince MbS’s role and then as the evidence of murder piled up, to make clear: No matter what he did, Saudi money was too valuable to break relations or even embargo US weapons.

This is literally Murder Incorporated. Murder for Money. 

(Photo by Felix Josephat)

What was Saudi money buying? High-tech US weaponry. And what were these weapons for? A war against the people and especially the children of Yemen. A war that uses not only US-made weapons but the US armed forces themselves to seek targets for Saudi bombers to shatter food shipments into Yemen, to bomb a bus full of schoolchildren.

If the US-Saudi war against Yemen continues, 13 million Yemenites are in danger of starvation. A genocidal war.

This is a symphonic Rhapsody in Blood.   

For scenes of that bloody war, click on these videos compiled by MoveOn. Be warned: The violence is graphic:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moveon/videos/1966419506752782/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoveOn/status/1038052552212996097

What is this war about? A majority of Yemenites are Shia Muslims, most of them desperately poor. They were being oppressed by a government dominated by Sunnis. They rebelled against their tyrannical government, and forced it into exile.

But the Saudis are fanatically hostile to Shia Islam, they are furious at the regional importance of Shia Iran, and they entered into a three-cornered alliance against the Shia, aimed ultimately not only at Yemen but Iran.

This Triple Alliance brought together the hyper-dictatorial Saudi government, the would-be anti-democratic Trumpian US government, and the increasingly repressive Netanyahu Israeli government, not only bent on smashing the possibility of a self-governing and peaceful Palestine alongside Israel but more and more attacking Israeli Jewish critics and American Jewish opponents.

This Triple Anti-Iranian Alliance faced a problem. The Obama Administration, worried by the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran, had put together an extraordinary diplomatic process in which Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the US achieved a unique agreement for total nuclear disarmament for Iran, total surveillance of Iran’s internal society and geography to prevent nuclear rearmament, and an end to US and other international sanctions against Iran.

That diplomacy was a brilliant fulfillment of the profound Jewish spiritual wisdom of the prayer: “Spread over us the sukkah of shalom”  -–-  the fragile, vulnerable hut that welcomes peace. How can such fragility bring peace? Because when conflicting nations see how vulnerable they both are, they can choose to make peace. The US and four other powerful nations felt vulnerable to the possibility of Iranian nuclear weapons. Iran felt vulnerable to the reality of damaging sanctions. So the two sides built a sukkah of shalom..

The Trumpists decided to destroy that sukkah of shalom, even though all the US allies wanted to preserve it. The Trumpists are instead obsessed with their desire to destroy the present Iranian governmental system. 

The next act in this Symphony in Blood is intended by the Trump-MbS-Kushner Murder Inc to mount intense pressures against Iran so as to overturn its government. Pressures that can easily turn into war when Iran resists.

Such a war would be far more damaging to the US than its self-destructive war against Iraq. Iran is far bigger, far more united against foreign enemies, and far more able to mount a strategic challenge to the US than was Iraq.

Of course, now that Obama diplomacy has ended Iranian nuclear-weapons research, Iran would be vulnerable to nuclear attack. And the Trumpian impulse to dominate and destroy has turned into  ending a key nuclear arms-control treaty with Russia, planning a trillion-dollar “modernization” of the US H-Bomb arsenal that can already bring on “nuclear winter” and wipe out life on earth, and redefining H-Bombs into “conventional” weapons.

The torture, murder, and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi was simply the unleashing of cruelty by those who see their power not as an instrument for compassion and healing but as a weapon for domination. Torture and murder of a critic are necessary to back up a genocidal war and the obsessive need for total domination.

It is no accident that when the President lied about  George Soros, an independent-minded pro-democracy billionaire (and Jewish at that!) -- by tweeting or vomiting the lie that Soros had "paid" for a caravan of Central Americans fleeing violent gangs --  within days a bomb is found in the Soros family mailbox.

What should happen now? The US Congress should forbid arms sales to Saudi Arabia, should forbid the use of US armed forces to assist in any way the Saudi war against Yemen, should call for UN sanctions until the Saudis stop attacking Yemen, and should require the reestablishment of the agreement to prevent an Iranian nuclear arsenal.

And if not?

 Let us not pretend to be surprised when the flood of blood that comes from killers who fly a national flag and wear a nation’s uniform calls forth more killers who fly no flag and wear no uniform.

Murder Inc. will buy us Murder Unlimited.

Grow the Vote! -- In Numbers and in Wisdom

Grow the Vote!

Why vote? Why try to encourage other folks to vote? With permission from the comedian Nato Green, here are his answers.  Always good to engage in laughter about subjects that make us morose! Please take 20 seconds to watch and listen:

“Hi there,” said Nato, ---

“My label put up this video of one of my jokes about politics and voting from my new standup album.  Hopefully this will afford you twenty seconds of laughter in a sea of unrelenting horror. People seem to find it useful.”

“WHAT DO POLITICS HAVE TO DO WITH ME?”

https://www.facebook.com/NatoGreenComedy/posts/1944132528987999


As this graphic makes clear, the next generation is always peering over your shoulder or under your voting-booth curtain as you vote. Are you voting in their best interests – for a world of justice and compassion, for food, air, and water that are pure, for an Earth that is livable and joyful? Are you voting at all?

I would add (this is Arthur again, not Nato, and I am not pretending this is comedy) that the election on November 6 is the most important, the most consequential, in American history since the Civil War. This election will be a referendum between two profoundly different choices for the future of America and Planet Earth.  The choice is now much clearer than it was in 2016.

So I would urge all our organizations and individuals committed to faith or ethics to pause for just a moment from other praiseworthy campaigns, protests, and creative work to heal the world, and to focus for just the next 18 days on Growing the Vote.

What do I mean when I say, “Grow the Vote”? I mean two things:  Growing Numbers of voters, and Growing Understanding and Wisdom about the issues:

  1. Growing Numbers: Not only be absolutely sure to vote yourself, but also urge and help people to actually vote on November 6. Especially people who may tend not to vote in so-called “off-year” elections: College students. Millennials. Black folks. Latinx folks. Not only individuals but congregations, colleges, and all sorts of other groups are totally free to do GOTV work.

One way to Grow the Vote requires just a computer, a phone, and your time. You simply make phone calls to a computerized list of registered voters, reminding them to vote and asking them to urge their friends to vote.

Phyllis and I and other members of our congregations did this last night for two hours and will again on more evenings before the election. We reached dozens of households from a list of registered voters compiled by “POWER,” a network of Philadelphia-area churches, synagogues, and mosques committed to social justice. And we enjoyed the conversations!

In addition to the “Vote!” encouragement, we mentioned two issues: the need for more state-government money for impoverished local school systems in Pennsylvania, and the need to expand Medicaid for low-income workers and their families.

There may very well be similar Grow the Vote operations in your own community. The Philadelphia “POWER” organization is one member of a national network called “Faith in Action.” Check at https://faithinaction.org/ for your own local affiliate. If your own congregation is not a member, you might urge them to join.

One Jewish activist organization, Bend the Arc, has developed an easy, helpful program to help people from all around the country to Grow the Vote in two specific Congressional election campaigns where polls show the campaigns are neck-and-neck. (If you consider doing this, take into account that Bend the Arc's action affiliate has an explicit partisan stance.) You can check this out here: https://www.bendthearc.us/action

 

and a Bend the Arc staff member will support you. (You just need a computer and a phone).

2. Growing Understanding and Wisdom. Connecting the deep wisdom of the great religious traditions to the issues we face in this election. From my own perspective, these are Torah passages that point me in a direction about one or another of the issues we face: 

  • For behavior toward people fleeing oppressive violence and seeking asylum in the US, see Deut. 23:15-16, the most pointed passage in the entire Torah about refugees from oppression.  And read the whole Book of Ruth. It’s not long, and it’s fun to read.
  • For how to deal with the children of an “immigrant” people who follow a minority religion, see Exod. 1: 15-22; 2: 5-10.
  • For a teaching on the relationship between the Earth (adamah) and human earthlings (adam) , see Gen. 2: 4-7.
  • For how human communities should act to enhance and heal that relationship, see Lev. 25: 1-7 and 17-24. For the dangerous consequences that follow if we fail to carry out that practice, see Lev.  26: 3-6, 14-20, 34-35, and 43.
  • For the way a “king” or any other powerful official should act, see Deut.17: 14-20.

It’s perfectly legal for your congregation or other tax-exempt organization to do this, so long as the organization as a whole or its official leadership in their role as leaders don’t support or oppose any candidate or any political party.

Individual members can say what they like.  You can post your thoughts in congregational bulletins and listserves, write letters to the communal or metropolitan newspaper, send emails and post FaceBook pages and Instagrams and Tweets from, to, and in an organizational milieu.

Since you are probably hoping to persuade people, be polite. Use language like “It seems to me …” not “It’s obvious …” And keep repeating, “I welcome  dialogue on these questions; what do you think?” and “Whether you agree with me or not, please be sure to vote.”

I want to practice what I preach. So I invite you to share your responses to this Shalom Report letter.

Antidotes to the Poison of Political Despair

"Democracy is Coming to  the USA.”

We will transform and heal America! Despite and even Because Of what happened this past Saturday, scarring the Shabbat of Beginning, of Creation --  

Two antidotes to the Poison of Despair: Prophecy to warm our hearts and souls, Action to strengthen our arms and legs.  Each is empty without the other. 

As our Prophet Leonard Cohen cries out --

    "Democracy is Coming to  the USA.”  IS COMING, God knows, not here yet. In the White House, Congress, & Supreme Court  -- all monuments to the past -- Democracy is even further off than it was the week before. But in the streets and kitchens and elevators that are shaping the future of America, Democracy is coming even closer than before.  

Before you read Leonard Cohen’s words (below), please click here to hear him sing the words while you can see them below at the same time :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU-RuR-qO4Y

"Democracy is Coming to  the USA.” 

It's coming through a hole in the air, 
from those nights in Tiananmen Square. 
It's coming from thefeel 
that this ain't exactly real, 
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there. 
From the wars against disorder, 
from the sirens night and day, 
from the fires of the homeless, 
from the ashes of the gay: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming through a crack in the wall; 
on a visionary flood of alcohol; 
from the staggering account 
of the Sermon on the Mount 
which I don't pretend to understand at all. 
It's coming from the silence 
on the dock of the bay, 
from the brave, the bold, the battered 
heart of Chevrolet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the sorrow in the street, 
the holy places where the races meet; 
from the homicidal bitchin' 
that goes down in every kitchen 
to determine who will serve and who will eat. 
From the wells of disappointment 
where the women kneel to pray 
for the grace of God in the desert here 
and the desert far away: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on. 


It's coming to America first, 
the cradle of the best and of the worst. 
It's here they got therange 
and the machinery for change 
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. 
It's here the family's broken 
and it's here the lonely say 
that the heart has got to open 
in a fundamental way: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the women and the men. 
O baby, we'll be making love again. 
We'll be going down sodeep 
the river's going to weep, 
and the mountain's going to shout Amen! 
It's coming like the tidal flood 
beneath the lunar sway, 
imperial, mysterious, 
inamorous array: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.!

Sail on, sail on ... 

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean 
I love the country but I can't stand the scene. 
And I'm neither left or right 
I'm just staying home tonight, 
getting lost in that hopeless little screen. 
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags 
that Time cannot decay, 
I'm junk but I'm still holding up 
this little wild bouquet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.!

 And then click to

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wRYjtvIYK0 

to hear another prophetic song --   “Anthem”:

“I can’t run no more with that lawless crowd –
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud;  
But they’ve summoned up a thunder cloud,
And they’re going to hear from me! [from Me!]”

As the Voice spoke to --  or within --  Moses at the Burning Bush, "Ehyeh asher Ehyeh.  I Wil Be Who I Will Be, I Am Becoming Who I Am Becoming. " And by growing into that Name of the universe, Moses and Aaron and Miriam were able to lead a movement to resist and overthrow Pharaoh and to shape a new kind of community: flawed then, flawed now, but always open to Becoming. 

There were many setbacks -- and at each one, the human community and the Earth itself took a deep breath and went forward.

Today, we in the USA are facing not just "conservative" but  neofascist control of the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court.  It is not only Americans who are in danger  but humans and other life forms throughout the world that is burning because our government cares more for Corporate Carbon Pharaohs than for our grandchildren. It is a government that seeks to subjugate women, Blacks, Muslims, Latinx, GLBTQ folks, the poor, the hardworking middle class, dissenters and the independent press, Mother Earth herself. 

 How do I distinguish between "conservative" and "neofascist"? The markers are these items: Deliberately destroying families of one ethnic group and imprisoning their children in tent cities with contaminated water, to deter legitimate requests to be assessed for refugee asylum. Supreme Court nominee charging legitimate questions put by US Senators to him to be the result of a left-wing conspiracy.  President and Congressional leaders calling hundreds of women and men visiting and talking with Senators  and then doing nonviolent sit-downs as "mob action" carried out by actors hired by George Soros (using his name as an antti-Semitic dog-whistle). President tweeting: "You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob. Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern."  

Lifting up such "outlandish" thoughts makes them thinkable, and then it becomes do-able to enforce them. (Like ripping young children away from their mothers and fathers.) . Yet the power to speak and act in neofascist ways is held by only bare majorities. There is a Resistance, and we can see ourselves growing in numbers and in awareness of what we share with each other and in commitment to the ONE whose Name is "I Am Becoming."

Turning this into action: Every house of prayer in America should be reaching out these next four weeks to Grow the Vote. To Grow in numbers the voters -- often the Millennials, the Blacks, the Latinx --  who historically have tended to vote less in "mid-term" elections. To Grow in awareness that our religious traditions themselves keep growing to empower the previously excluded.  To oppose subjugation. To light up the Spark of God in every human being and every life-form. 

 One helpful on-line resource on how non-profits like synagogues or Truah can Grow the Vote for a broad constituency (e.g. college students of all backgrounds) is at https://www.nonprofitvote.org/ 

Another, created by the JCPA and aimed at specifically Jewish audiences, is at 

http://www.jewishpublicaffairs.org/jcpa-publishes-2018-candidate-and-voter-engagement-guide/

This year, Voting is a sacred act. As sacred as a wedding, a baptism, a Ramadan fast, a Yom Kippur confessional, a Mourners' Kaddish, a silent Meditation.  

Our legs must pray by marching, marching for Bread and Roses, too. Our hands must pray by marking, marking the ballots of Empowerment.   Our voices must pray by lifting up new prayers: "The heart has got to open in a fundamental way."

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on! 

Please share this Prophetic outcry and action steps with your friends, colleagues, congregants.

And ---  --  we need your help to keep undertaking action, prayer, prophetic outcry, even arrest  as we have in these last weeks. Not just "want" your help but need it. Please click on the maroon “Contribute” button in the left margin on this page, and then please make as much of a contribution as you can. 

Blessings to you and yours of Shalom, salaam, sohl, paz – not only “Peace” but the struggle, the justice, and the healing that are enwrapped in peace--  Arthur

3,000 Years => Kavanagh. Time’s Up!

Carrying the Spirit  from Prayer Houses into Public Space

For the past 3,000 years, all the Abrahamic religious communities have celebrated Biblical and Quranic, rabbinic and “church father” traditions that have treated as normal the subordination of women.

Even when the traditional texts (e.g. the Song of Songs) have pointed in a different direction as the goal of a grown-up human race that has yet to emerge, the day-to-day behaviors of most of those communities have treated that subordination as normal life.

And then, beginning little more than a century ago, wave after wave of women’s energy, with support from some men, has moved toward equality. But the assumption of inequality was and is so deeply ingrained that a backlash was and is inevitable.

And right now, in American society, we are seeing the backlash in all its entitled and affronted fury. Talk about “the personal is political!” We face a nominee for the Supreme Court who would be well positioned to control its 5-4 votes and carry into deeply engraved public policy his own deeply ingrained assumptions about sex and gender.

And we have seen that, faced with the possibility of a No from the Senate, he reacted with verbal violence, wild charges of conspiracy --   an attempt to shut the mouths of his critics and accusers  (especially those who were women).  A verbal analog of the physical violence he is accused of using in an attempt at rape.

He is not alone in this, and the liberation of women is not the only uprising that is facing attempts at subjugation.  Today the New York Times reports in deep detail how Donald Trump and his father Fred cheated on billions of dollars of taxes they owed the federal government.  Just as Kavanaugh resorted to rape when he wanted sex, so the Trump family resorted to fraud and theft when they wanted Money and more Money and couldn't get "enough" honestly. How many poverty-stricken women died of breast cancer because their govenment was starved of the money to provide medical care by Trump family thievery? How many children drank leaded water that ruined their brains because no government agency could or would do the tests?  How many men were maimed or killed by an unsafe worksite because the "enforcers" of health and safety regulations had not enough agents to check? How many Americans were sickened by food poisoning because of the Trumps' theft of taxes they owed? (And now, holding the White House, they destroy whatever remaining regulations survive their tax frauds.)

As the women’s labor-union song “Bread and Roses” said a century ago,

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing, bread and roses, bread and roses.

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men,
For they are in the struggle and together we shall win.
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes,
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us roses.

As we come marching, marching, un-numbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread,
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew
Yes, it is bread we. fight for, but we fight for roses, too.

As we go marching, marching, we're standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories, bread and roses, bread and roses.

To hear Joan Baez sing it, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWkVcaAGCi0

Five years ago this very month, Gloria Steinem said to a Shalom Center assemblage celebrating her 80th birthday, that American society as a whole was at the moment when an abused wife walks out of the house. It is the most promising and the most dangerous moment. If she is welcomed by a community of love and safety, she may be freed. If not, her infuriated husband may kill her.

 Gloria thought she was teaching metaphor. But the metaphor itself has come to life with the bared teeth of an insulted, infuriated male tiger.

More even than when she spoke, abused Blacks, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, women, union workers, Jews, Arab-Americans, GLBTQ folk, the tormented, choking, trembling, quaking, burning Earth itself, have walked out of the abusive households where they had lived for centuries or decades.

And the abusive, ultra-wealthy, self-entitled,  powerful men, faced with challenges to their prestige, their wealth, and above all their power – even the power  to have sex whenever they want with whomever they want --  are brandishing at these rebels the threat of rape or disemployment when  it’s sex, death when it’s hurricanes,  prison when it’s a critical press and whistleblowers, fraud and theft with impunity when it's money, torture when it’s a war --

But in the airports, in the Capitol corridors and elevators, in the voting booths, in the “detention camps” of refugee children, in the frigid offices of ICE, in a million homes and offices and dormitory rooms, in the jails where they take us if we refuse to leave, they can be stopped.

If we build the communities to welcome and to shelter the resisters of abuse.

If we “spread over all of us the shelter of shalom.”

Right now, the most urgent task is to keep Trump and a gaggle of self-entitled arrogant Senators from poisoning the Supreme Court for the next thirty years for the sake of  increasing their own wealth and power.

Today and tomorrow, this Wednesday and Thursday, we belong in our bodies or our phone calls in every Senatorial office, in Washington or in their home states. After 3,000 years, Time’s Up: Stop Kavanaugh!

If you can get to Washington DC tomorrow (Thursday) — that is THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY to be in DC to #CancelKavanaugh. Sign up here, now: bit.ly/WECANWIN

If you are too far away and prefer to  take part in a vigil near you --

Go on-line HERE and NOW to find an event near you today, this evening! – among the dozens that MoveOn has listed on its website:    https://act.moveon.org/event/stop_kavanaugh_vigils/search/

If you don’t find one nearby and are moved to create one, click here and ask for MoveOn’s help to plan it and recruit people to join with you::

https://act.moveon.org/event/stop_kavanaugh_vigils/create/?ak_proof=1&akid=.31241616.Eb2jJx&rd=1&s=&source=&t=15

And whatever the Senate does on Friday, the next step is the November election. At every house of worship in America, we should be working these next five weeks to “Grow the Vote.” Grow it in numbers, grow it in awareness of the issues and the values. And we should be calling together congregational meetings, community meetings—to talk about the religious values of according dignity, justice, healing --  accord and community itself --  to everyone.  Every one.

If millions of new voters do vote, the next Congress can investigate perjuries by even a Supreme Court Justice. The next Congress can investtogate the hidden tax returns and frauds of even a President.  IF we vote and also stay in the streets.

At https://theshalomcenter.org/ShareSukkotResources  are links to several handbooks for growing the vote. Registering new voters, helping them to vote ahead of time where state laws make that possible, helping them get to the polls on Election Day.

And it won’t stop there. This is a 400-year crisis when it comes to racism in America. It is a 3,000-year crisis when it comes to the subjugation of women in Abrahamic communities. It is a 200,000-year crisis when it comes to the relationship between human beings and the Earth. Crises that deep don’t get solved in one election.

We are the heirs of those ancient traditions -- the heirs of their glories and their failings. It rests on us to transform them. In each of the American religious communities, some of us have struggled valiantly to transform them -- to end racism, sexism, militarism, greedy Earth-destroying materialism. As we look around at the changes we have wrought in some churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, shall we congratulate ourselves and sing our victories? Or shall we look at the convulsions of this past week’s America and carry our prophetic voices beyond our prayer halls into public spaces?

Now’s the time and now’s the hour!

See approach proud Greedy Power;

Shall we merely whimper, cower –

Or act to set us free?

Please help The Shalom Center continue its work to speak Truth to the powerful AND to the disempowered, by clicking on the maroon "Contribute” button on the left-hand margin on this age.

Arrested! -- Berman, Waskow, Lulav, Etrog

Phyllis and I and about a dozen others whom we met on the scene took part in honoring the Sukkot festival Monday by bensching lulav at the Hart Senate Office Building as part of a demonstration against confirming Mr. Trump’s nomination of Mr. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. 

Bensching” [blessing] lulav means waving four species of plants -- a branch of palm, myrtle, and willow, plus the lemon-like etrog or citron -- in the seven directions of the world, to connect with the multi-species ecosystem that keeps humans and all life alive.

 “Seven directions”? Surely only six: East, West, North, South, Up, Down!  But the traditional pattern of waving is that we reach out in the different directions and then each time bring the Four Species close to our heart. As Rabbi Shefa Gold teaches, the seventh direction is inward.

Before we did the waving, I explained that Sukkot honors the fragile hut that was the first refuge of the runaway slaves of the Exodus. That hut becomes the symbol of protection for all those in our society who are vulnerable to attack – and that is the deepest root of the campaign to prevent Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. His stance in the world is subjugation of refugees, the poor, minority religions and races, and the concentration of power in the hands of the wealthy and mighty, beginning with his attempting rape and humiliating women when he was 17 and continuing into his adult politics.

The demonstration then moved to Sen. Collins’ office and chanted outside her office for about 30 minutes (e.g., over and over, “We believe Dr. Ford, we believe Deborah Ramirez, we believe Anita Hill”)  before police arrested about 50 of us (Phyllis and me included).

See very brief CNN video in the hallway outside Collins’ office. You can see Phyllis and me come walking across the scene as we look for a place to sit down. Our taleisim are light-colored enough to look as if we are wearing white clothing. 

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/09/24/protest-senator-collins-office-kavanaugh-vote-baldwin-cillizza-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/newsroom-video/

 

Another 100 or more demonstrators moved when ordered by police, continuing to chant but not risking arrest.  Other sit-downs at other Senatorial  spaces happened later in the day. Demonstrators were spirited, committed, about 85% women. 

 The Capitol Police were focused, calm, professional, kind to some in difficulties (including me; I need a cane to walk and without it have some balance difficulty).  Just before the arrest, I spoke directly to officers, reminding them that though we understood they needed to enforce the law as they understood it, it was a far worse crime to attempt to rape a 15-year-old girl and to order breast-feeding babies yanked away from their mothers at the border. 

We were bused to a holding building about 15 minutes away, held for about three hours for processing, submitted IDs and $50 collateral which we forfeited in lieu of standing trial.  

 As we move toward the climactic testimony by Kavanaugh and Dr. Blasey Ford on Thursday, what standards am I following in urging his rejection? Kavanaugh is not on trial for a felony, where conviction properly requires an assessment of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Rather, he is being examined about whether he merits appointment to one of the most powerful positions in the world, in which treatment of many vulnerable people and our vulnerable Earth are at stake.

 For that job, the level of judgment should be more like “Has he exhibited the highest ethical concerns for justice and compassion, including care for the reputations and bodies of women?”  Besides the accusations from Dr. Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez, we already know he sleazily pissed on the reputation of a teen-age girl named “Renate” in his prep-school yearbook page, and boasted of being a big drinker and often drunk.  His classmates remember him as often “stumbling drunk,” and as aggressive when he was drunk.

And as a grown-up judge, he tried to prevent a 17-year-old applicant for asylum in the US who was fleeing family sexual abuse from having an abortion when she discovered at the US border that she was pregnant, probably from incestuous rape. His attitude toward that 17-year-old – trying to take control of her body, raping her in a different way -- echoed his attitude toward Christine Ford when she was 15.

 His bent toward subjugation of the weak does not apply only to women. As a Department of Justice lawyer during the War Against Iraq and since, he never objected to the Bush Administration’s policy of using torture. He has shown strong biases in favor of corporate profits for the Carbon Pharaohs, over healing the Earth and human communities from climate-crisis droughts, wildfires, and floods.

Is that the guy we want deciding our futures? Our daughters’ futures? The fate of Roe v. Wade? The fate of the Earth?

The Senate’s decision may rest in the hands of two undecided women Senators. Please call 202-224-3121 and ask for Senators Collins of Maine and Murkowski of Alaska. Talk with their staff or leave recorded messages.

 Whatever the outcome of this confirmation fight, the November election will make decisions that affect the fate and future of American democracy. Even though we are already in Sukkot, it is still possible to act on The Shalom Center ‘s campaign to “ Share Sukkot  --  Grow the Vote.We have gathered three sets of resources for this work:  (a) Posters of ushpizin, sacred guests we invite into the sukkah as heroes of the struggle to broaden the right to vote;  (b) Brief essays that look at the values of Sukkot to inform people’s decisions as they choose whom to vote for; and (c) Handbooks for registering voters and making sure they can get to the polls. 

To draw on these resources, please click to  https://theshalomcenter.org/ShareSukkotResources

May you and all of us be blessed with the three pillars that the ancient Rabbis taught were necessary to uphold the world:  Truth, Justice, and Shalom

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Featured