Signs of Hope from the American Jewish Community

Dear friends and loyal subscribers,I have not dropped off the earth! In fact, I have been spending a lot of time traveling across it, and that, along with the press of several writing projects, has kept me from posting. I see that I need to find a way to stay current with the blog even when my schedule is overloaded.  I have been resisting the impulse to use the blog to forward items that I think are important, but perhaps I should stop resisting -- every blog does not have to represent … [Read more...]

Challenging the Law of Return, and an important new book

In this week's posting I bring two items to your attention.1. Challenging the Law of ReturnThe first item is a powerful statement by American Jewish activists involving the State of Israel's "Law of Return."  This law, one of the very first enacted by the state, is the cornerstone of political Zionism and in a very real sense the state's raison d'etre. The law gives every Jew, no matter what his or her citizenship or country of birth, the instant and automatic right to Israeli … [Read more...]

“We must transfer our anger to the brutalities of our time.” Howard Zinn dies at age 87

I graduated from Columbia in 1970.  Students had closed down the campus that Spring over the U.S. bombing of Cambodia.  Two years earlier the campus was in turmoil when students and faculty occupied several buildings in protest over the University's plans to take over a chunk of the local neighborhood in upper Manhattan to build a gym. The President of Columbia had sent in NY riot police to break heads and drag out the protesters.  So when that President took the podium at our graduation, se … [Read more...]

Jerusalem 2009: The Light in the Tent

I sat in the tent and it was full of light.Fawzieh al-Kurd is the matriarch of one of the three families who were forcibly expelled from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem between November 2008 and October 2009. In all, close to 60 people, all 1948-era refugees from West Jerusalem and other parts of what is now Israel, were resettled in this neighborhood in the 1950s by international agreement. They have now been evicted by the Israeli government, their homes turned … [Read more...]

Rededicating the Temple – A Hanukah Homily

The Jewish festival of Hanukah is celebrated this year on December 11-19th. The Hebrew word refers to the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after driving out the Seleucid Greek occupiers in 165 BCE. It’s one of the most joyful holidays in the Jewish calendar, in which we celebrate our commitment to the values of freedom and human rights that have given us strength and resilience as a people. Today, the Jewish people face a challenge equal to or greater than the crisis we faced in the P … [Read more...]

The Politics of Hope

Roger Cohen gives us the politics of despair. On the one hand, his recent OpEd in the New York Times, "A Mideast Truce" shows us what a long way we've come in editorial coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He's clear about the horrendous reality of Israel's settlements, even though he stops short of naming it as the colonial project that it is. He calls the separation wall a "land grab" and credits it for shattering Palestinian lives -- even though he persists in advancing the inane … [Read more...]