Bo

What We Owe Our 16-Year-Olds: 2 Phone Calls

Dear friends,

First, before you read the rest of my letter to you, please click here and watch a 2-minute video of middle-school and high-school kids talking with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

https://twitter.com/sunrisemvmt/status/1099075460649107458?link_id=3&can_id=ec320de8eee4a92ec3d9eb18c7b84a60&source=email-middle-school-kids-vs-feinstein-3&email_referrer=email_500122&email_subject=middle-school-kids-vs-feinstein

Then please come back here.

Sen. Feinstein is not a bad person. But she is used to step-by-step slow improvement of America. There was no deadline for civil rights, no deadline for women’s rights. One step at a time made things better. But the planet doesn’t work that way. Already the ice is melting faster and the oceans are warming faster than the scientists expected. There IS a deadline.

So the kids are right and Senator Feinstein is wrong.

The Green New Deal proposal sets a TRULY REALISTIC goal because it demands shifting from a carbon economy to a renewable economy by 2030. That will be BARELY in time to prevent utter climate chaos. And the Green  New Deal moves RIGHT AWAY to create and fund the jobs that will make the Green Shift possible.

Here too there is a deadline, because already we are seeing Americans who are feeling forgotten, frightened by a flat future and shortened life-spans, releasing old impulses to racist rage as a way of feeling better. That will grow worse if we do not meet the need.  The crisis in democracy and the crisis in planetary survival join. Feinstein’s “responsible” resolution is irresponsible because it will not save our planet, our democracy, or our lives.  The lives of those kids.

Because of her life-long habit of step-by-step, Sen. Feinstein fell for a trick, a trap, set by Sen. McConnell, the Senate (Republican) majority leader. Senator Markey of Massachusetts and Congresswoman AOC of New York have introduced a resolution to set the will of the Senate and the House to embody the Green New Deal. (I will explain in a moment why I think it is far better in both ethical-moral terms and in sheer practical politics than any other approach to securing either domestic US social justice or planetary survival.)

Congresswoman AOC's resolution can pass the House. But Senator Markey's resolution will not pass the Senate – and neither will Sen. Feinstein’s watered-down substitute, because the Republican majority in the Senate will oppose both of them.

But if neither the Green New Deal resolution nor Watery Feinstein can pass the Senate,  why bother? Because we need to build a movement in the country behind the goal that will actually save us, not the one that won’t. By 2021 we need a President and both houses of Congress ready to pass the Green New Deal. And we can have them – IF we build the movement.

Sen. McConnell set the trap that Sen. Feinstein fell into. McConnell could hear and taste the rising tide of a great Green Wave of public support for the Green New Deal resolution. (So could practically every declared Democratic candidate for President, who have all endorsed the Green New Deal.)  So McConnell brought up the Green New Deal resolution for a vote before the movement all across American could crystallize strong support in the Senate. He hoped that the Democrats in the Senate would split.  And Feinstein fell for it.

Now it’s up to us. Unless you live in the District of Columbia or outside the US, you have two Senators. This week is a crucial time to call them. I urge you to do so. I think we owe it to our kids, our grandkids.

Call 1202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator’s office.(Just tell the operator what State or what zip code you are in; she will know who your Senators are.) Then ask your Senator’s office to speak to her/ his climate policy expert. They may shift you to voice mail. OK. Give your name, your phone number, what town you live in, and say that it is VERY important to you –at every level – for the sake of all the 16-year-olds in your own family and in the world --  that your Senator supports the Markey Resolution for a Green New Deal.

When you are finished, call back to 1202-224-3121 and ask for your other Senator. Do it all over again  

If you do live in DC and don’t have a Senator, or if you have the time to make three calls, please call in and ask for Senator Schumer of New York, the Minority (Democratic) Leader. Urge him to line up all the Democratic Senators behind the Markey resolution for the Green New Deal.  

One more action, right after your phone calls:

Many many young people organized by the Sunrise Movement are converging on Capitol Hill today, meeting Senators and Congressmembers to support the Green New Deal. Please support them by clicking here to sign a petition:

https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-congress-support-sen-markey-rep-ocasio-cortezs-resolution-for-a-green-new-deal

Finally, why do I think the Green New Deal is crucial? Because it connects into one unified goal meeting (a) the needs of the Earth and all human communities to stop the runaway climate crisis by ending the burning of fossil fuels, and (b) the needs of large sectionsof American society for decent jobs at good pay. The Green New Deal insists we can create the Green Community only by putting millions to work on green infrastructure, and it insists we can meet the pent-up desperate hunger for jobs and justice only by creating the Green Community. Each empowers the other.

If you think coal miners or oil-refinery workers or people who are building huge pipelines to carry fracked unnatural gas will willingly lose their jobs just because their work is wrecking the planet and creating epidemics of cancer and asthma, think again. They need jobs NOW, just as the Earth needs wind and solar power NOW. The Green New Deal meets both needs, NOW.

When Pharaoh brought slavery upon workers, eco-disaster plagues on the food crops of his country, and death on the first-born, the Breath of Life, the Wind of Change, said “NOW! --  There is no time to let the dough rise when you bake your bread! NOW -- bake matzah, bake unleavened bread, and go NOW.” Dr. Martin Luther King said it more than 50 years ago:  “The fierce urgency of NOW!” Even truer now that it was then.

Please act. And when you have, please click to “Reply” and just drop us a line --  “Done!” if you don’t have time to say more.

Thanks, and blessings of passionate empowerment for healing! --  Arthur

Passover When Earth Really Matters

Avi Katz: Matzah / Globe

 An Interfaith Healing Seder for the Earth: Ten Plagues, Ten Healings

Today, April 4, 2016, we are presenting a revised version of this Seder, originally published in 2013. Today is the 48th anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King in  1968. It is also the 49th anniversary of his most profound and troubling speech: “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence,” a speech he delivered in 1967 at Riverside Church in New York City to the assembled “Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam.”  In it he called on all Americans to struggle against the “deadly triplets” that he said afflict our lives: racism, militarism, and materialism.

And today is the 47th anniversary of the original Freedom Seder, which in 1969 radically altered the Seder’s focus by weaving the liberation struggles of Black America together with the ancient story of the Israelite liberation struggle out of slavery to Pharaoh.

The original Freedom Seder addressed the most urgent crisis of that day, and drew together Jews and Christians, black and white.  And in the decades since, for many many thousands of people it liberated the Passover Seder itself to address other deep issues: liberating us from immoral and self-destructive wars, affirming the rights of immigrants and of  people trafficked into the slave trade and of exploited workers, liberating us from fear and hatred among Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

To honor the memory and wisdom of Dr. King and to renew the life-giving energy of the Freedom Seder, today we are sharing with you a new Passover Seder. It challenges the Corporate Carbon Pharaohs of today that are bringing a new Ten Plagues upon our planet. And it celebrates the Ten Healings of our wounded Mother Earth that we should undertake. 

The Seder begins with a journey into the streets to challenge today’s Pyramids of Power.  Some may want to organize such a journey; others may simply want to use the Haggadah, the Telling, that we present below, in their family or community Seder. 

This year, on Friday, April 22, the first Seder begins in the evening of Earth Day. As befits a Seder for the whole Earth, this Telling is rooted in the Jewish tradition and includes in its flowering passages from other traditions.

Let me call your special attention to new approaches to the meaning of charoset and the welcoming of Elijah,  to the Ten Plagues and Ten Healings,  to a whole new song and a new verse in “Go Down Moses,” to a new translation and a new melody of an old psalm.

With blessings of freedom and community, of shalom, salaam, peace, Earth! —  Rabbi Arthur Waskow

WISDOM FOR THE JOURNEY
“I felt as if my legs were praying.”

— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, coming back home from the voting-rights March in Selma, Alabama, 1965
“Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods.”  — Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, 1970

CHALLENGING THE PYRAMIDS OF POWER

The people gather at a central point, perhaps a synagogue.

The people move into the streets. Chanting and singing as they go, carrying a portable large-sized globe of Planet Earth,  they walk toward a Pyramid of Power of our own day: perhaps an office of Exxon or BP, or a coal-fired power station, or a bank that invests

1st-Borns, ReBirth, & Passing Over: My Own & All of Us

This year I am feeling haunted by one of the lesser-known aspects of Passover: On the morning before the First Seder –- which means this very morning –— First-born sons (or in this generation, first-born children) are supposed to fast from daybreak till the Seder.  

We first-borns are released from this obligation if we study Torah and then conclude with a “seudat mitzvah” – a meal celebrating the fulfillment of a mitzvah, which means a commandment or a connection-making between ourselves and the Holy One of Being, the Breathing-Spirit of the world.

Why should we first-borns fast as we approach Passover? Presumably in grief, relief, and gratitude – grief for all the first-borns of Egypt, Mitzrayyim, the Tight and Narrow Place, who according to the Exodus story died that night, and in relief and gratitude that our families of the Godwrestling folk were spared the disaster.

So from 1971 or ’72 on, as I found my way through the Freedom Seder deeper and deeper into Passover and Torah, I have fasted –— or studied Torah – during this day, in honor of the ancient story.

But this year I am feeling a more personal grief. In some strange way I am no longer a “first-born” — because my younger brother died two years ago. Indeed, on his deathbed I said to him that he had become for me the older brother that he wished I had been for him. He nodded, using the little breath left to him: “It’s true.”

Will Shale-Oil Trains Incinerate YOUR city? Phila Derailment Warning

In Philadelphia on Monday, January 20, 2014, seven tanker cars from a mile-long oil train derailed, carrying highly flammable & explosive Bakkan shale oil.

That type  of “oil bomb” train  has exploded and burned in five previous derailments just since last June, often in rural areas, killing 47 people.

There were no casualties in this derailment — but listen to a railroad exec:

E. Hunter Harrison, CEO of Canadian Pacific, said on January 15th, 2014, “The 111 tank cars that you hear so much about, if I was calling the shots would be stopped tomorrow,” Harrison said, speaking with Tyler Matheson on CNBC’s Nightly Business Report. “They’re not ready, they’re not equipped for that commodity [Bakken Shale crude] as I see it, they’ve been controversial for two decades now, so that needs to change.”
 

What can we do to end this danger and heal our society from the Plagues that are being brought upon us by the Pharaohs of today?

The Shalom Center joins with the Philadelphia chapter of Interfaith Power & Light, Protecting Our Waters, Clean Air Council, the Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, in calling for a halt to these dangerous trains — here and everywhere —  carrying fracked oil and gas.

Philadelphia Interfaith Power & Light, with strong involvement of The Shalom Center, has decided to organize a vigorous nonviolent challenge to the Bakken Oil transports  during the week before Passover/ Holy Week, in April 2014. The action will draw on the meaning of those festivals in  challenging the ancient Pharaohs and Caesars who brought plagues upon the earth and their own societies, by challenging the Carbon Pharaohs of Big Coal, Big Oil, & Big Gas that are causing similar plagues today.

But this is not just a Philadelphia concern. Bakken shale oil trains run thrpugh many major cities, and they have derailed in Canada and the Western US.  Other Carbon Plagues include droughts in the US corn belt, super-storms, and other extreme weather events that owe their intensity to Global Scorching.

 The week just before Palm Sunday and Passover offers an extraordinary moment for people all over America to challenge these plagues and the Pharaohs that put profits before people or the earth that sustains us all.

To stand against the Ten Plagues of today, we must set Ten Healings —  sacred action by all our communities. We must move our bodies to stop these dangerous trains from  moving;   we must Move Our Money to Protect Our Planet — moving our bank accounts, our investments, our covenant with God  away from supporting the Carbon Pharaohs and instead supporting the Healing Power of the sun and wind.”

If you are interested in working to plan and organize a pre-Passover/ Holy Week action in your community, please click here:  <
https://theshalomcenter.org/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=5&reset=1>

 The derailment last week occurred in a densely populated neighborhood, over a major highway, near several large universities, Children’s Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania medical complex. Rapid evacuation of a five-mile radius from any future oil train explosion and fire in the Philadelphia area, or any urban area, would be impossible. When a similar train exploded

Occupy Holy Week, Occupy Passover: Dancing in the World-wide Earthquake

Flyer  for Philadelphia event: Occupy Holy  Week & Passover, April 1

[Click on the graphic to expand it.]

Can Religion be Transformative?

Can we Empower the 99%, Democratize the 1% ?

Plans are under way in Philadelphia & New York City for an action to “Join with Occupy: Celebrate  Holy Week & Passover.”   People of faith could undertake actions like it all across the country.

Netanyahu, Obama, & the Addictions of Pharaoh

Why choose right now to urge putting half the present US military aid to Israel in escrow, to be paid out starting after the Israeli government ends the blockade of civilian goods from entering Gaza , and to be paid for resettling settlers in decent homes and neighborhoods inside Israel proper?

The proposal also calls for strong insistence by the US for a full peace treaty between Israel and Arab states, guaranteeing Israel's security.

(See the proposal in the "Bold Action" essay on our Home Page.)

Challenge Carbon Pharaohs: Interfaith Prayer Service in the Spirit of Passover & Palm Sunday:

We Challenge the Carbon Pharaohs of Our Generation

And We Seek to Create the Beloved Community.

May Every Land and all of Earth become a Land of Promise!

March 22, 2015

[ This service could be used in future years

as a framework for Earth-honoring prayerful actions

in many seasons , not only at Passover-time.]

 


[On translations from Hebrew: We translate “YHWH” in light of its “pronunciation” with no vowels as simply a Breath – the Breath of all life, rather than “Lord.” We translate “Yisrael” as “Godwrestlers.”  Mitzrayyim,” a double “Narrowness,” is the Hebrew word for “Egypt.” We translate it as “Tight & Narrow Space” or π“Narrowness.”  “Hallelu-Yah” is in Hebrew two words, meaning “Let us praise YAH/ God’s aspect as the life-breath.”  [Translations from Exodus are by Everett Fox in The Five Books of Moses (Schocken,1995), with some changes by Rabbi Arthur Waskow.]

The shofar sounds: “Sleepers, Awake!”      

T’ruah!  --- Shevarim!  --- Tekiah gedolah! ---- ”

 

[The assembly sings from Psalm 148, to the melody of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”:]

 Praise God, sun and moon, Hallelu-YAH.

Praise Yah, you stars of light, Hallelu-YAH.

 Praise God, you high heavens, Hallelu-YAH.

 All that flows in all the world, Hallelu-YAH.

 

Let them all praise God's Name, Hallelu-YAH.

 For God spoke and they appeared, Hallelu-YAH.

 
With God they take their stand, Hallelu-YAH.

 God's rhythm none must break, Hallelu-YAH.

 

Praise Yah from the Earth, Hallelu-YAH.

You sea-monsters and all deeps, Hallelu-YAH.

 Fire, hail, snow, and steam, Hallelu-YAH.

 
Stormy wind to do God's word, Hallelu-YAH.

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