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Welcome to the Rabbi's Corner, where you'll find things to study and think about.
Recognize Palestine AND Reaffirm Israel's Right to Exist as a Jewish State
In the coming years, peace and security for Israel and for Palestinians can best be achieved if the US and Israel join together to sponsor a U.N. resolution which at once recognizes Palestine and gives it full 100% membership in the U.N. and simultaneously affirms Israel's right to exist as a human rights-affirming JEWISH State.
Healing from Post-Traumatic Abandoned-by-Obama Syndrome
Jews voted 80% for Obama in 2008, so it's not a surprise that progressive congregations like ours have been suffering from emotional depression now that Obama has disappointed so many by abandoning much of what he seemed to be offering. While we never endorse candidates or get involved in elections, we can't deny the impact of a US President who escalates a foreign war, introduces nuclear power in the US, and gives trillions of tax dollars to save the banks and corporate rich while doing little for the unemployed and those about to lose their homes. Given that, I'm putting here a bit of my thinking from the context of another organization I'm involved in leading.
Women's Daily Prayer that May be Useful to Men As Well
Andrea Kim Foster gives us an idea of how the traditional Amidah prayer for weekdays could be reconstructed to speak to the experience of older women who are refusing to see themselves as "aging" but rather as moving into a new life stage which Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi dubbed "Sage-ing." Prayer is hard for everyone (except those who do it without conscious attention to what they are saying); this attempt to make the words more relevant may or may not work for you, but might provide a model for both women and men to create your own form of daily prayer (davening). It's a path we should be exploring in Beyt Tikkun. And if you do create new prayers, please share them with me and let me share them with the rest of our community.--Rabbi Michael Lerner
I was disurbed by Alice Walker's presentation on Yom Kippur at Beyt Tikkun's service.
Rabbi Lerner on Alice Walker's Talk at Yom Kippur, plus a letter from Rabbi Arik Ascherman, chair of the Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel, and their list of sins for which Jews supporting Israel should repent.
When Moses hears God's voice coming to him from the Burning Bush
(Exodus, III) he faces a difficult choice--whether to believe that
voice that tells him that the greatest empire that had ever existed
till that time (Pharoah's Egypt) can be successfully challenged, or his
"common sense" which tells him that it cannot. He has all kinds of
practical reasons for why it would be silly for him to think he could
play the role as champion of transformation. Yet there is something
else coming to him, a voice of HOPE, a voice that tells him that the
way things are is not the only way things can be. And when he chooses
to follow that voice, Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, I Shall Be whom I Shall Be,
the voice of possibility, the voice that says that the world is not
stuck, that oppression is not inevitable, he sets the course for
Judaism forever. To be a Jew is to testify to the possibility of Hope,
to see that the bush, though burning, is not consumed, that "common
sense" is overrated and often completely mistaken, that there is a
Power in the universe that makes for the possibility of transformation
form that which is to that which ought to be, YHVH, adonie, God. Ever
since, we have been the great purveyors of hope for liberation in the
world. We have been spiritual progressives, insisting that the world
could move forward toward a goal of greater love and compassion and
peace and social justice and generosity, even in the face of defeats
and tragic lapses and backsteps on the part of the human race.