Having read professor Jack Wertheimer’s essay in Commentary as well as Ruth Messinger’s response in The Jewish Week (“Encountering Our Faith Through Serving ‘The Other’,” April 2), I believe the disagreement mirrors a significant and growing chasm within the larger Jewish community. The issue is not whether the Jewish people have a role and responsibility within the larger world. We are not the children of Noah but of Abraham. Noah built an ark only for himself and his immediately family. Abraham was concerned for the whole city of Sodom.
"I’m really, really Jewish, and what’s happening in Darfur hurts me so, so much,” said Jessica Jacobs, a student at the Maimonides Jewish day school in Brookline, Mass., as she stood near the edge of the “Save Darfur” rally Sunday in Central Park.
An otherwise noncontentious national meeting of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs next week could see a fierce debate and politicking over a proposal to put the umbrella Jewish group in line behind efforts to impose divestment on Sudan because of the genocide in Darfur.
The Jewish community appears poised to join a growing movement of city and state legislatures, universities, religious organizations and other groups in calling for a targeted economic boycott of the Sudan.
The move, supporting divestment from companies with business ties to the Sudanese government, would come as the ethnic cleansing in Darfur, a region of the Sudan, enters its fourth year. The slaughter, considered a genocide by the U.S. government and much of the international community, has killed at least 400,000 civilians and displaced as many as 2.5 million.
The most familiar religious voices in politics today normally come from the Christian right, said Rabbi Or Rose, an associate dean at Hebrew College in Boston. But a new campaign led by Rabbi Rose and others aims at changing that dynamic by introducing the language of values and morality to left-wing groups, particularly those in the Jewish community.
Dubbed the Righteous Indignation Project, the campaign got under way last week with a gathering to launch a new collection of essays, “Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice.”
As the military government in Myanmar continued its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, a Burmese Jew now living in the United States expressed his sorrow over the killing of civilians — a number that could be as low as the 10 acknowledged by the government or as high as the hundreds claimed by human-rights advocates.
Sammy Samuels, a New York-based employee of American Jewish Congress, also said he witnessed one of the largest demonstrations preceding the crackdown while visiting his family in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital, for the High Holy Days.
My son, Aryeh, is 14 and like most kids his age, he finds Facebook vital to his existence. The social networking part is great — he is in near-constant touch with friends and relatives from both near and far, who constantly update each other on seemingly every aspect of their lives.
But Facebook also provides something else for this high school student whose consciousness is blossoming — an opportunity to learn about and be involved with dozens of social justice and political causes.