Israel, Israel-Palestine

Reconciliation Activist Ali Abu Awwad Speaks at Mishkan Shalom
  Mishkan's Statement of Principles on Israel-Related Programming   Informed by our Statement of Principles, Israel-related programming at Mishkan Shalom evolves in relation to the needs and concerns of our community.

Mishkan Shalom is a diverse congregation with a deep commitment to justice.  Our founding Statement of Principles asserts in part

“Our need to secure Israel must not blind us to the sufferings of the Palestinians, who also have ties to the land. The perpetuation of this suffering violates the Jewish commitments to justice and compassion. Jews and Palestinians must recognize and support one another’s rights to national self-determination in the land they share and revere.” 

Our congregation has a range of opinions regarding Israel and Palestine, but we are united in standing against inhumane actions. We are also guided by the core message of Passover- liberation, freedom, ending oppression and connection to the cycles of the earth. 

We are taught, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” We live in a global world, with many “neighbors” in many places. As we do here against decisions of our own government that undermine our democracy and challenge human rights, we challenge the decisions of the Israeli government when they contravene these principles.

We also hope you all read a previous month’s Kol Shalom which featured articles by Rabbi Shawn, Gene Bishop (z"l), and Carol Towarnicky, and the progressive resource page we put together on page 7 of that issue and study from Kaplan and Recon movement’s spiritual Zionism for additional perspectives.

Statements from the Reconstructionist Movement and Progressive Jewish Organizations 


Do We Need to Engage in Collective Teshuvah?  Difficult Conversations on Israel with Rabbi Brian Walt and Professor Joel Beinin     Wednesdays, August 25 and September 1-8:00 p.m. EST Zoom Link  Meeting ID: 869 5265 0821 * Password: 1989       Join Rabbi Brian Walt and Professor Joel Beinin to prepare for the High Holy Days. At this time of year we focus on teshuvah, on turning towards forgiveness and justice. In this two-part series, a rabbi and scholar will focus on collective teshuvah. Rabbi Brian will ask us to consider whether Jews should engage in collective teshuvah for the wrongs Israel has committed in its treatment of the Palestinian people. He will also examine the B’Tselem Report which alleges that Israel is using a system of apartheid to oppress Palestinians as defined in international law. Professor Beinin will discuss the political and humanitarian conditions in Gaza with a focus on the structural violence and increased tensions in East Jerusalem that preceded the more visible violence of May 2021.   Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman will facilitate these sessions.   The program is co-sponsored by Mishkan Shalom and the following Reconstructionist congregations: Congregation Shaarei Shamayim (Madison, WI), Israel/Palestine Peace Group - Congregation Dorshei Tzedek (West Newton, MA), Kadima Reconstructionist Congregation (Seattle, WA),, and Or Haneshamah (Ottawa, ON).   Rabbi Walt, Mishkan's founding rabbi, grew up under apartheid in South Africa and was active as an anti-apartheid activist at the University of Cape Town.  Rabbi Walt made aliyah to Israel when he graduated high school, returned to South Africa two years later, and then emigrated to the United States in 1973. He was ordained as a Reconstructionist rabbi in 1978 after receiving his MA in Jewish studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1975.    Professor Joel Beinin serves on Reconstructing Judaism’s Joint Israel Commission. He is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History and Professor of Middle East History, Emeritus at Stanford University. His research and writing focus on the social and cultural history and political economy of modern Egypt, Palestine, and Israel, and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. He has lived and visited extensively in Israel and Egypt.    There is no charge for this event. We plan to create additional programming this year with the goal of expanding discourse and engaging with difficult issues.  


Previous Programs and Resources:

Resources for Learning and Activism Regarding Israel and Palestine – This wide-ranging list, within the commitments of our Statement of Principles, will help us learn and engage with what is happening in North America and in the Middle East. It reflects a progressive perspective, without advocating for any particular organization. I began compiling this list as a communal resource and offer my thanks to a number of Mishkan Shalom members interested in re-energizing our Israel-Palestine engagement. With help from our members this list will grow over time. Please forward additional links to Rabbi Shawn Zevit.

To inquire about our Israel-Palestine Committee or programming please contact our committee chair Marcy Boroff.

To participate in our newly created Israel-Palestine discussion listserve please e-mail Seth Horwitz.

We begin by appreciating the work of Friends of the Earth Middle East as well as Rabbi Yonatan Neril, The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and others who understand that environmental justice is key to the safety, security and future of the Middle East. No initiative will provide the peace desired without addressing the environmental degradation of water and soil and rising sea levels. The Arava Institute does amazing peace and conflict resolution work in the context of their academic programs on sustainability and ecology.

Ameinu Center for Jewish / Arab Education in Israel


Combatants for Peace Combatants for Peace

Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights (Rabbi Arik Ascherman) 

If Not Now Movement


Jewish Voice for Peace

Just Vision

Neve Shalom/Wahat Al Salaam

New Israel Fund

Open Hillel

Palestinian Peace Coalition

Partners for Progressive Israel

Rabbis for Human Rights 

Roots/Shorashim – connected to Mishkan Shalom friend Al Abu Awad Sulha Peace Project

Tikkun Magazine

The Parents’ Circle and American Friends of the Parent’s Circle 

Truah: Rabbis fir Human Rights

Yad b'Yad Jewish/Arab/Palestinian Israeli school system


Read Rabbi Shawn's Israel Triplog

Image relating to [title]

Rabbis Shawn & Simcha Zevit just returned from an intensive visit with peace & justice partners in Israel, including our recent guest, Ali Abu Awwad (see below).

Read Rabbi Shawn's Triplog, see photos and link to videos and websites of related organizations here.

Yom Ha'atzmaut/Israel Independence Day 2015:

Guest Speaker: Rachel Winner

Welcome Rachel Winner, Project and Development Manager of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Jerusalem. Learn about the Israeli-Palestinian/interfaith cooperation work that “Interfaith Sustain” is doing in Jerusalem and the larger area especially in this Shmita year.

Click here for full details.

The View from the Leftern Wall: Moriel Rothman-Zecher Speaks (3/6/15)

American-Israeli writer, poet, non-violent anti-occupation activist and Israeli Army refusenik is hosted by RRC at a breakfast and our Friday nite community potluck. Details, links of interest & RSVP here.

Reconciliation Activist Ali Abu Awwad Spoke to 100+ (10/9/14)

Many communities joined Mishkan Shalom in welcoming noted Palestinian pacifist Ali Abu Awwad to our "Canopy of Peace." Over 130 people heard him speak. Learn more about his work here.


4101 Freeland Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19128 - ph: (215) 508-0226 / Site map