Looking hatred in the eye, and beating it.

Well, This Is What I Think

fear

One of the effects of events such as the hideous massacre of innocents in Orlando is the repeated assault on the mood and feelings of people who are only distantly connected to the actual event.

At times like this, it is all to easy for our imaginations, driven by empathy for those hurt, driven by our simple understanding of what they went through, driven by the awareness that that could have been us, to be completely overwhelmed by the horror.

The news is inescapable. Media coverage is wall-to-wall. It regularly beats in on all of us, even those who seek to shut it out by avoiding the endlessly repeated 24 hour newscasts. An intrusive internet headline here. A radio soundbite there. A comment from a co-worker. A cride coeur from someone standing next to you in a queue for coffee.

The global psychic effect of the accumulated evil in the…

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On Passover, Israel and Demographic Threats

This post tells it like it really is.

Shalom Rav

2016_0427rrisr_ (Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Crossposted with Truthout

The weeklong Jewish festival of Passover is coming to a close, but like many Jews around the world I’m still digesting the myriad questions, answers and discussions that ensued as we retold the biblical story of the Exodus at our seder. While it’s a story our community returns to over and over again, I’m continually astonished at the ways it provides a frame for understanding struggles for liberation past and present.

This year, I’ve been contemplating one aspect of the story in particular: when a new pharaoh arises over Egypt “who did not know Joseph.” We immediately learn in no uncertain terms that this new ruler was considerably more xenophobic than his predecessor:

And (Pharaoh) said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise…

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New for Passover: “Your Child Will Ask”

Shalom Rav

europe-migrants-hungary Photo:Marko Djurica/Reuters

Your child will ask
why do we observe this festival?

And you will answer
it is because of what God did for us
when we were set free from the land of Egypt.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
that we might hold tightly
to the pain of our enslavement
with a mighty hand?

And you will answer
we were set free from Egypt
that we might release our pain
by reaching with an outstretched arm
to all who struggle for freedom.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of Egypt
because we are God’s chosen people?

And you will answer
we were set free from the land of Egypt
so that we will finally come to learn
all who are oppressed
are God’s chosen.

Your child will ask
were we set free from the land of…

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Not to be an American Indian – a poem to ponder

This is more than a poem, it is a poem with a message about marginalizing people then shoving them aside because of their race, nationality, or just plain prejudice. The author, Jack Brighton, a good man, was my friend. I’ve kept it in my archives, and now I’m sharing it.

What I write

sitting-bull

It is best not to be an American Indian
I will give it up
I have examined that kind of life an discovered
it is not worth living.
I will not ask to know the name of my ancestors’
tribe, or what I must do.
I will pluck the inner eyes of emotion
I will sleep with white sex goddesses,
and never get involved.
I will never use the word love and care
for no one.
I will ask no one to care for me, so I will
never be homesick because I will have no home.
I will avoid solitude and never think of
death.
When I die, I don’t want to know what’s happening.
Who wants to root among burial grounds and
taste the bitter roots of the human heart,
only to find that autobiography is tragedy
and that you are only one alone among many,
an inconsolable…

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Yes, Zionism is Settler Colonialism

I couldn’t agree more with what Rabbi Rosen says here a settler colonial state.

Shalom Rav

20090927

Is Zionism “settler colonialism?” It’s an important question that is increasingly invoked in public debates over Israel/Palestine – and BDS in particular.

While I personally do believe Israel to be a settler colonial state, I think it’s critical to understand what we mean when we use this term, what it means in the context of Israel/Palestine, and its implications for the wider struggle against systems of oppression in the US and throughout the world.

Let’s start with the definition itself. Many people use the term “settler colonialism” and “colonialism” interchangeably, but they are not in fact the same thing. Colonialism is defined by the Collins Dictionary as “the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas.” Historically speaking, it generally refers to specific European imperial powers during a period that lasted from the 16th to mid-20th centuries.

“Settler colonialism,” is a different concept…

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Catholic Mother Has Disabled Child, Questions Faith, and Gets Abused by Believers

AwayPoint

Why so mean.Sonia Guizar used to attend mass regularly and teach at a Catholic school. But her Catholic employer’s refusal to cover birth control brought her an ill-timed pregnancy and a child with developmental challenges that stretch her family thin. When she publically shared her experience and questioned Church teachings in a Washington Post story,  what she got was a heap of abuse from fellow Catholics whose urge to defend religious dogma and authority trumped their kindness and compassion.

Guizar’s story may be a very distant echo of the horrendous slaughter being perpetrated by Jihadis shouting “Allahu akbar!”—but it is an echo nonetheless. One of religion’s most heinous characteristics is that it elevates defense of faith above compassion, inspiring mean and aggressive behavior in the names of gods.

The American Supreme Court is considering a “religious freedom” claim by a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, that wants to deny contraception…

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Confession to Montgomery, Asleep on the Church Steps

This is a poem that tells a huge story, and does it in only thirty short lines. As poet Kenneth White once observed, a poem is the shortest form of story, and this is a powerful one.

O at the Edges

bagels and cream cheese MGD©Confession to Montgomery, Asleep on the Church Steps

If I walk quietly by
it is not to avoid disturbing you,

but rather myself. What
could I give you

but another bagel, the
boiled dough of nothingness

rising in cloudy water,
delaying, perhaps, another

guilty twinge. You have no
answers but when you

speak to the air, sometimes
a smile creaks through

the broken words, and I
think even in this cloistered

darkness we may close
the circle between halves

and might-have-beens,
an understanding, if only

in the language of bread
and coffee and the

disregarded. But today I stride
on, without pause, counting

on nothing that can’t be
pocketed or spoken aloud,

my steps echoing down
the alley and its secrets,

along the crosswalk’s painted
guides, under the sagging

power lines and through
your streetlight’s dim halo.

Homeless

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Young Muslim Americans Speak Out

A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice:

During his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama carved out around two minutes from his 58-minute speech to touch on the rise of Islamophobic rhetoric that’s been sweeping the nation.

As Obama spoke optimistically about America’s future, he also took clear aim at the Republican party and its leading presidential front-runner Donald Trump for inciting fear and anti-Muslim sentiment.

“When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad, or fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it what—telling it like it is, it’s just wrong,” Obama said on Tuesday. “It betrays who we are as a country.”

Just three days before Obama’s address, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Trump’s campaign rally in South Carolina after she stood up in silent protest when the GOP candidate suggested that Syrian refugees…

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Which Voice Shall I Heed?

I could not resist this one from my friend Rabbi Brant Rosen, who so eloquently expresses the dilemma we must all face.

Yedid Nefesh

2

venturing beyond the wilderness
he came to the mountain and
saw the sounds bursting from the flames
a blazing fire that burned insatiably
but was not consumed
voices calling to him over and
over again until he finally
opened his eyes and cried out
hineini here i am

one voice said i am the god of history
another said i am the one that is ever yet to be
another said i will keep you safe another said
i will teach you how to fear

another said i cannot bear the pain
of so many oppressed
will you free me from this suffering
another said go to them and tell them
they are mine all mine

another said won’t you bring
my message of liberation to all
who are oppressed another said
you will never be free until you destroy
the people of the land i am giving you
as…

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Don’t look away.

This shouldn’t need saying; sad to say, it does, and needs saying over and over and over again until someone in power gets it.

Well, This Is What I Think

… this is what bombing children looks like …

Whoever is doing the bombing. And certainly the first piece of film is of a Syrian Army barrel bomb being dropped on a school or hospital. And the genesis of this piece of film is uncertain. It could be IS. It could be the FSA. It could be independent. It could be propaganda by one side or the other, or it could simply be a desperate plea for sanity.

But it doesn’t really matter. This is about the children. Whichever side they’re on. The pictures aren’t fake.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Let’s make it stop.

Let’s stop supplying the combatants with arms, while we try and “pick winners”. Let us make our effort to create peace dialogues not war victories. And above all, let’s stop dropping bombs on civilians.Whoever we are.
And the civilians are everywhere.

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