[Well, it is October. High Holy Days are here to feel and think on, so I do, but after the Eamon pics. (You’re welcome!) Solidarity, somehow, with the Kurds of northern Syria! The 40th Annual Spiral Dance is fast approaching, and it’s not too late to send me names of people you would like remembered and to come to the ritual. I also remind you to contact your member of Congress about HR2407 to stop our government from funding Israeli crimes against humanity that target Palestinian youth. Pics of Eamon are from when I visited DC in late September. As always, let’s remember that we’re all in this together and pray and act for people who need us to have their back: People rising up in Ecuador, Baghdad, Tunisia; The Uighers of China, the Kurds of Syria, the indigenous of Brazil, West Papua, Kashmir, North America and the melting, arctic lands; Black and brown women and environmentalists and journalists everywhere. -Jim]
Not much to say about the Syrian Kurds…
but we have to! Through Lacy, I have personal connections to a few Syrian Kurds who are in Washington DC, who are still trying to influence US policy for their benefit. Obviusly, they have been betrayed. I have been asked to help the warm and inspiring Sinam Mohamad for help contacting members of Congress and their staffs. Please let me know if you have any ins to your MOC (or senators). I am aghast at the betrayal of the Kurds by Trump and our government. I wish I could say I find it surprising, but history made me expect a move such as Trump has ordered. Still, it is shocking. Trump, more than other brutal, heartless presidents (a redundancy; sorry Obama-apologists) is trying to destroy the very fabric of international relations. He really only operates out of a blindingly insane mix of ego, greed and blame. I hope we survive him.
Tell Congress Not to Fund Israeli Detention and Abuse of Palestinian CHILDREN! Support HR 2407.
Palestinian children, like all children, should never experience military detention and torture. Let us say it clearly to Rep. Pelosi: no kids in cages, anywhere. Not in our name, and not with our tax dollars. I took the picture to the right in 2017. Sondos was arrested for no reason and held for 6 months. She spent her 17th birthday in Israeli custody.
Here is the link for the petition urging Rep. Pelosi to support this important legislation: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScTN1L-gu_pBH2xebpDLHotMi19Rf9epdD5Is3a-ZdPYTOg3Q/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1
Here is a link to the bill as introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2407/text
Here is a link to a 3-1/2 minute video about the situation and the bill: https://youtu.be/g8RhyAqTS5I and here is a link to the No Way to Treat a Child campaign: https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/ for more information to share with your representative.
Bring Out Your (Beloved) Dead!
This year is the 40th annual Spiral Dance ritual organized by the Reclaiming Collective. It will be at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California on Saturday, October 26. More info is below.
Every year at the beginning of the Spiral Dance, we project and read aloud the names of our beloved dead who have passed away since the previous Samhain (or thenabouts). To share a name, the link is https://www.reclaimingspiraldance.org/the-beloved-dead. You don’t have to attend the ritual to have names read. Send in as many as you like.
Our magical intention for this year’s ritual is: “To reclaim the golden thread of magic that spans time, and draw from the lessons of the past to weave a just and vibrant future.” Doors open at 6 for altar viewing and the reading of the names of Our Beloved Dead. ASL interpretation provided. Wheelchair accessible. Help us keep the space accessible by avoiding scented products.
Spiral Dance Home page:
And here’s Eamon!
These images were taken Sept. 14-18. I next see them/him Nov. 2. They’re coming to visit again in the middle of November also! If you want to meet them, be in touch, and I’ll give you the details. My sister, Chava, will also be in town, so they’ll get to meet for the first time. Very exciting!
High Holy Days Reflection, 2019/5780
During a small-group sharing time, during the Yom Kippur healing service, at Kehilla Community Synagogue, in Piedmont, California where I belong, I shared that at recent marches for the people of Kashmir and for climate sanity, I have heard an old refrain: “NOT IN MY NAME!” I have shouted that slogan against US aggression, against the oppression of Palestinians by Israel and against extractive industries that insist their murder and greed are for my benefit. Those words feel wholly inadequate to the situations we face now though.
“Over my dead body!” kept coming to mind as more what I was feeling. I stopped short though, not sure what I would be committing myself to. Am I ready to follow through on such a magical challenge? I don’t want to be a martyr, but what sacrifice am I willing to make, and for what? I fear that such a moment of truth is on the horizon for all of us. We can’t be fully prepared for such a situation, but we do need to think about where our lines in the sand may be.
The hundreds of thousands of marchers in Tunisia, Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, Gaza, Quito…very few would say they are offering themselves up as a sacrifice, but their limited, vanishing options push them to stand up for themselves and face mass violence as no one should have to. They’re not dying to be activists. They’re pushed to take to the streets. They undoubtedly really just want to live and love their families like people everywhere.
Although “Not in my name” feels inadequate, I still haven’t signed onto “By any means necessary,” since that just sounds dangerously open ended. I want to rise to the serious challenges we face, but it is hard to know what really to do, where putting my body on the line will have real meaning. If a homeless person is being rounded up to be put in a camp, do I need their consent to intervene allegedly on their behalf? Do I hand my backpack and work keys to some bystander or affinity group member and step forward? People are being ripped away from their lives. It is hard still to justify stepping away if not forced. MLK comes to mind, saying, “We are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty, but we must move on.” And Martin Niemoller’s “First they came for…” litany of missed solidarity chances is more poignant than ever.
Other high points included the Yom Kippur morning Haftorah portion from the Prophets. It is such an important piece of scripture, Isaiah 58. “What is the fast I seek?” God asks the assembled nation, Israel. Today, Israel is getting it as wrong as ever! The reading was taught with great flair and heart. I was awash in tears of gratitude and uplift as the two leaders punctuated each other’s prophetic voices to great effect.
The Rosh Hashanah Torah portion raised a number of things for me. Hagar is sent out into the desert with Ishmael by Sarah and Abraham. They’re out of water, and Hagar is in despair thinking they are going to die. An angel comes along to remind her not to worry, God said her son will become a multitudinous nation. I haven’t heard among the commentaries a repudiation of the angel for starting off the interaction by challenging Hagar for her despair. The angel expected her to be perfectly like Job, never doubting God, even as they seemed about to die? It was a jab at her when she was down and not very angelic, if I may be so bold.
The Torah drash was good, as far as it went, but I wanted more about Islamophobia and our communal, familial ties to Muslims. As we fight Antisemitism, we must fight Islamophobia. We must unite with Muslims to fight white supremacy, where the most of the real Antisemites are. I once again wanted more than that of Rabbi David Cooper’s after Yizkhor time (Yom Kippur afternoon) for Palestine to be named and discussed. Why didn’t we ask for repentance for what continues to be done to Palestine in our name? Seemed like an obvious read and opportunity, but it wasn’t forthcoming.
I’m already failing at my personal Vidui, confession: not to judge other Jews who I see as PEP–Progressive on Everything except Palestine. My bad. Still, out on the tables with the prayer books were little, brightly colored 1/4 sheets of paper that said “Free Palestine!” by “Anti Zionists at Kehilla.” Evidently I wasn’t the only person who picked one up and emailed Brooke at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t give up on hope.