Reconciliation Activist Ali Abu Awwad Speaks at Mishkan Shalom

Informed by our Statement of Principles, Israel-related programming at Mishkan Shalom evolves in relation to the needs and concerns of our community.

April 12, 2018:
Adapted by Rabbi Shawn Zevit from a communal statement issued by Kolot Chayenu, Brooklyn, NY the week of April 1st, 2018, with the support and input of the leadership of Mishkan Shalom and permission of Rabbi Ellen Lippman, Rabbi of Kolot Chayenu, Brooklyn, 

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. Many of us have been in despair about two recent actions taken by the Israeli government:

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s and his government's ongoing mistreatment of African refugees residing in Israel, and Israel’s harsh military response to Palestinian demonstrations on the Gaza border with Israel, resulting in numerous casualties. While we acknowledge a variety of intents to these largely non-violent demonstrations coming out of protracted and immense suffering in Gaza, there must be restraint to the lethal responses by the Israeli government and military. 

We are taught, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” We live in a global world, with many “neighbors” in many places. Now we raise our voices on behalf of Israel’s African refugees and the Palestinians protesting in Gaza at the Israeli border, also our neighbors. And as we do here against decisions of our own government that undermine our democracy and challenge human rights, we protest these decisions of the Israeli government.

We urge humane and sincere help for the African refugees that includes recognizing the danger which these refugees would face in going to their country of origin, and be more timely and judicious in processing applications for safe asylum, and both recognition and protection of the right of Palestinians to non-violent protest. As Israel approaches 70, we pray for a future with equality and justice. Along with our thoughts and prayers, we commit to act and work for justice.

We also hope you all read this month’s Kol Shalom which featured articles by Rabbi Shawn, Gene Bishop, and Carol Towarnicky, and the progressive resource page we put together on page 7 of that issue.

We hope you will join Rabbi Shawn and Yael and our Spiritual Life council as we mark Yom Ha’atzmaut Wed Apr 18th, 6:30-8:00pm, in the Heschel-King Room, 3rd floor, where we will offer some poems and songs, read selections from Kol Shalom as a framing point, study from Kaplan and Recon movement’s spiritual Zionism as listed in my article, and have some small group discussion.

Please read this statement in support of African refugees.

For medical help in Gaza

Statements from the Reconstructionist Movement and Progressive Jewish Organizations 

Btselem- Why Soldiers Must Refuse to Fire at Unarmed Protesters

Newest Freedom Seder, and some news of hope


Read Rabbi Shawn's Israel Triplog

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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.


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