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There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.

Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …

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By Rabbi Daniel Roth
Event – Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict (JDCC) FEBRUARY 19, 2013  
Join Us in Commemorating the 9th of Adar – Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict

Please join us in commemorating this pilot year of the Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict by reading and studying more about it and by attempting to truly approach conflicts in a more cooperative and constructive spirit.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) has joined in an international effort to mark the 9th of Adar as the annual Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict, dedicated to the study and practice of Jewish models of conflict resolution, particularly the model of “mahloket leshem shamayim/controversy for the sake of heaven.”  This year the 9th of Adar falls on February 19th. 
 
At this link, please find a page with a section from the Mishnah (Avot 5:17) with contemporary commentaries, arranged …

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Israelis Debate on the Web: Did Norway Get What It Deserved? – Forward Thinking – Forward.com.

 

There is increasing evidence of a broad gulf between the Jewish conscience of those outside of Israel and the character of a significant portion of the Israeli electorate in 2011. J.J Goldberg is right that you can’t just blame Netanyahu, but it is a fact that perpetual war, stubborn occupations, degrade the decency of any population.  A large portion of the Israeli population has continued to move in the direction of dehumanizing anyone, non-Jewish or Jewish, that opposes their Occupation of the Palestinian people. This is a political style and a paranoid style of politics that has gotten thirty five years of Israeli officials elected, and it is having its effects as a continuous deterioration of Israel’s social relationship with the rest of the world. Amazingly, due to the incredible intellectual talents …

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Not an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring

by mgopin on July 24, 2011 · 4 comments

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Maybe we are not in an Arab Spring, but a Human Spring. Maybe it is the flowering of nonviolent resistance, and it is time for Jews and Arabs to march as one in Israel/Palestine, and it is time for Americans to march as one to put the banks back into the controls that helped us flourish in the forties and fifties.

אולי אנחנו לא באביב ערבי, אבל האביב האדם. אולי זה הוא הפריחה של התנגדות לא אלימה, וזה הזמן עבור יהודים וערבים כאחד לצעוד בישראל / פלסטין, וזה הזמן עבור האמריקנים לצעוד כאחד לשים את הבנקים בחזרה את הפקדים עזרו לנו לפרוח שנות הארבעים והחמישים.

ربما نحن لسنا في الربيع العربي، ولكن فصل الربيع الإنسان. ربما هو ازدهار المقاومة اللاعنفية، وحان الوقت لليهود والعرب في مسيرة واحدة في إسرائيل / فلسطين ، وحان الوقت بالنسبة للأميركيين لمسيرة واحدة لوضع المصارف بالعودة الى الضوابط التي ساعدتنا في ازدهار الأربعينات والخمسينات.

 …

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It was three days before Rosh Hashanah, and I was predictably anxious about my identity, my life, about my family’s Jewish future. As a good and fractious Jew, I was somewhat ambivalent about which synagogue I would go to: The one I sometimes go to? The one I would never step foot in? The one that I really should create on my own, maybe?

This Rosh Hashanah was different for two reasons. My 87-year old mother, who lives alone 400 miles away in Boston, had pneumonia. So we were on our way to Boston, but I had to honor a commitment to my dear friend Yahya Hendi, who is an imam. He wanted the whole family, the whole world, it seems, but especially Jews and Christians, for an iftar, a very sacred celebration as a part of Ramadan. He wanted us all to share in every aspect of the evening, …

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Hello friends, I want to join Rabbi Arthur Waskow in calling on everyone to read from the Koran on September 11 as an act of solidarity with the Muslim community of the United States as they suffer the insult of the terrible act being committed on that day in Gainesville, Florida.

The best way to resist hatred is with love, humiliation with respect, ignorance with knowledge, alienation with friendship.

Reading from the books that some would burnBy Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 8/31/2010 Devoting Jewish Holidays to Peace Interreligious Relations Rosh HaShanah Yom KippurClick here to see a listing of all recent blog postsIn New York, speaking out for freedom and diversity might mean joining a vigil at 7:15 pm Friday evening September 10 at 51 Park Place [near the Park Place stop of the #2 or #3 subway], the location of the Muslim-rooted community/ cultural center that has been the

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Thanks to Rabbi Gershon Steinberg for alerting me to the amazing gesture of Jews led by rabbis (Velveteen Rabbi) to an abused mosque in Queens, New York. It is wonderful to feel proud of my fellow Jews.

Last week, a drunk man barged into the Al-Iman masjid in Astoria, Queens, and urinated on the prayer rugs. I tweeted about it, horrified at this display of Islamophobia (and also just plain atrocious behavior.) On Thursday, @stumark suggested that we raise money to replace the prayer rugs at the Al-Iman mosque in Queens. On Friday, I posted to this blog and to twitter asking for donations toward reimbursing the mosque for the costs of steam-cleaning their prayer rugs. My hope was to raise a few hundred bucks as a gesture of interfaith good will, a way of showing this one Muslim community that the actions of that drunk man do not represent

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To anyone who knows Jewish life, or Israeli life well, this is laughable in its ‘fringiness’. This is not a serious trend. That having been said, it raises many red flags for me. There is a consistent multi-decade trend for Orthodox Jewry, as well as Israeli Jewish life in general, to descend deeper and deeper into its own peculiar expression, in other words, to spurn universal values and to re-surface peculiar and unique, often extremely reactionary trends and customs.

This joins a global pattern of indigenous re-discovery of uniqueness in a post-colonial and post-Cold War Age. But not all that is indigenous is good, and in fact much is awful. In fact the entire reason that otherwise patriotic Europeans of all nationalities came up with transnational, or universal values, is because they were disgusted by just how low and racist societies can become if all they ever think about, if …

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Chaim Pearlman in court Wednesday.

via ‘Not enough evidence to convict suspected Jewish terrorist Pearlman’ – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

Helping Jews move beyond the Holocaust to the Rule of Law

You see this face? This is the face of an angel. I see the face of an angel. This is what I spent most of my life thinking of and dreaming of as the face of an angel. His name means ‘life’ and I grew up feeling that he was preserving the ‘life’ the soul of our people. That is what we were doing in Kollel, the learning halls of perpetual study. I grew up worshiping the Ben Toah, the student of Torah, a young person of study, humility, gentleness, that has  been a prototype of ideal Jewish life going back thousands of years. He has early ancestors in generations of youth going  back to the …

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I was reading this headline in Ha’aretz and by sheer accident, it was in the same column as another headline, “A superb day for the Jewish people': Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court judge”

And I was just struck by the paradox of pride and shame of being an identified Jew in 2010. On the one hand, another Jewish woman reaches the most honored position of legal wisdom in the United States, an achievement that in my youth I would have called a Kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of the Divine Name, a testimony to the hard work of centuries of her forebears who kept alive Talmud study and the search for knowledge and wisdom and now, thankfully, yielding the proper results with the honor of women as equals in achievement.

And then, and then….The same page, also an enormously distinguished good woman, my cousin as a Jew, someone of …

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