Thursday, January 29, 2009

On Speaking Up

Rebecca's comment on the post about Gaza, below, about a Jewish American friend of hers who supports Palestinian rights, got me remembering Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman of Israel, whom I heard talk in town a few years ago.
He reminded me of the best of all religions--people who take seriously the call for peace, justice, and compassion--so I just looked up the group he leads:
Rabbis for Human Rights

I suppose when it comes to the politics of peace, I feel most comfortable standing alongside people of faith, even when I disagree with them on many points. If nothing else, they (we?) have a legacy of great stories to draw on.
As Rabbi Acherman does, writing about the importance of speaking up against violence (and in a timely manner):

"Learn the lessons today that will make for a better tomorrow"
By Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman
January 22, 2009

"The midrash tells us that Noah was furious with God when he stepped out of the ark and saw the destruction. God answered him, 'And now you speak up?'
" we watched the... inaugaral concert on the Washington Mall... we perhaps remembered when Rabbi Heschel stood on the Mall during the March on Washington against the Vietnam War and told of how as a child reading the Torah he had always feared that the angel would come too late to save Isaac.
His rabbi told him that angels never come late.
Raising his eyes to the thousands gathered, Rabbi Heschel said, 'Angels never come late, but we humans do.'
Statement on the current violence:
"Rabbis for Human Rights believes that we as Jews should take responsibility for our actions, using the minimum necessary force to protect ourselves only after exhausting every non military solution, not harming civilians and not putting their backs to the wall."

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