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Tisha B'Av: Silence threatens peace

Tisha_B'Av_Graphic200Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), which is observed beginning the evening of August 13th this year, is a fast day commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. The fast day of Tisha B’Av is sometimes compared to that of Yom Kippur: whereas the fast of Yom Kippur is one which is intended to restore and elevate us through the process of repentance, the fast of Tisha B’Av is considered the saddest day on the Jewish calendar because it commemorates hatred and apathy causing the destruction of that which is most precious. The Talmud explains that the second Temple was destroyed because, while people were behaving abominably, the leaders of the community stood by and said nothing.

This year, don't stand by while right-wing Israeli leaders pass laws that silence peace activists. It is those who speak out who will bring peace and security to Israel, and it is those who wish to silence them who threaten Israel’s future.

This year, help APN and Peace Now fight back against the silence and help us secure that which is most precious for Israel: peace.

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A thoughtful essay, a disgusting video: Lag B'Omer

Lag BaOmer 2016

 

There aren’t many holidays that take note of an absence, of when something ceases, of an end. But there is such a holiday: Lag B'Omer - the 33rd day between Pesach and Shavuot. It is a little-known Jewish holiday that celebrates (among other things) the cessation of a divinely-sent plague that resulted from people not showing one another adequate respect.

Donate TodayWe could all use a day of true respite, a day that reminds us how desperately we need to end the plague of violence and hatred. Imagine one day without violence and counter-violence, without the fear of being stabbed or brutalized, a day without the occupation, a day without victims – on both sides. Given all the tumult in the world and our own rough-and-tumble elections, we yearn for THAT Lag B’Omer NOW.

The plague we suffer from is not divinely sent, but one of human choices and actions. It takes work and time to end it, but humans are clever, and when motivated, we are able to work true wonders. Political conflicts are not decreed by fate. They are ours to resolve.

It starts with one day.


Did you know?

Click on the image to watch the video

 

 

Lag B'Omer is celebrated with joy and huge bonfires throughout Israel. But every year, Hebron settlers use this holiday as an opportunity to steal Palestinian furniture to burn in their bonfires. This year, an activist caught settlers in Hebron doing just this and shared it with Peace Now.

Stand with us and with our Peace Now colleagues in Israel.

Help us stand up to the extremist settlers.


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The holiday of second chances - Not too late for peace

shmura-matza-transparent320x265This Sunday, thirty days after Passover begins, there is another holiday – one almost no one has heard of. This holiday is called “Pesach Sheni” – second Passover- and has no celebrations, no special services, no seder.  Yet, perhaps we should consider reviving it.

Originally, it appears in the Bible because there were a number of people who were, for reasons out of  their control, unable to celebrate the Passover a year after leaving Egypt. Upset that they would be unable to celebrate, they complained to Moses, and were instructed to observe it a month later, just for one day.

Second Passover is the holiday of second chances.

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APN's Rabbi Alana Suskin in the Jerusalem Post: Don’t give up on Israel!

Last week, I received an email from Tikkun Magazine crowing, “Major American Jewish Leader Changes his Mind About Israel.” Rabbi David Gordis, who has served in an astonishing number of major American Jewish institutions, reflected on his years of love and advocacy for Israel, and on the rightward trend in Israeli policies. He wrote, “sadly, after a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way: Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure.”

My heart sank. Many of us engaged in advocacy for Israel no doubt share Rabbi Gordis’ discontent with the trajectory of public affairs in Israel. Clearly there is reason to be troubled. Extremism has become embedded throughout every level of Israeli society. The occupation, and the racism that has grown from it, are alarming.

But, while I am sympathetic to your feelings of near-despair, Rabbi Gordis, I beseech you: don’t give up; Israel can’t afford to lose you.

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APN's Rabbi Alana Suskin and her co-panelist Dov Waxman speak at Open Hillel's teach-in about the Jewish tradition of dissent and the changing views of Israel as regards the occupation among American Jews

 

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Sukkot 5776: Build a Sukkah of Peace

sukkah-turkestan350x244Sunday night, September 27th, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot began. During the week-long holiday, Jews build a special kind of home to dwell in for the week, called a sukkah. The sukkah is a deliberately temporary house, which can have no more than one permanent wall, and whose roof must be open to the sky, covered only partially by natural materials such as branches. Over the course of the week, the Sukkah is supposed to be one’s home: to eat meals in, to celebrate, and even to sleep in.

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peace parsha feature 1 logoOn Wednesday (Sept. 23) as Jews end their Yom Kippur fast, Muslims will begin the Eid al-Adha holiday. Imam Haytham Younis and Rabbi Alana Suskin met for coffee and then exchanged the following email dialogue about the two holidays’ convergence and the meaning of a shared story that lies at the intersection of both faiths.

Suskin: It is a rare occurrence for Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice) to fall back-to-back, but seems appropriate somehow. Just a week ago, on Rosh Hashanah, we read the Torah portion relating the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son — the Jewish perspective of the same story that underlies Eid al-Adha. For Jews, this is the story of the sacrifice of Isaac at God’s command (stopped, of course, at the last moment, by an angel sent by God).

Younis: Yes. Eid al-Adha similarly commemorates the obedience of Abraham and his son to the command of God in fulfilling the sacrifice, as well as the observance of the pilgrimage to the House of God (the Kaaba) in Mecca, which, we believe, was established by Abraham. According to the Quran, the son involved in the sacrifice however, was Ishmael, not Isaac.

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Yom Kippur 5776 - A Story of Mending

Beginning tonight and continuing through Wednesday night, the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will be observed by Jews throughout the world.  Throughout the season leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews engage in the accounting of one's soul -cheshbon hanefesh: we examine our behavior,  taking an honest measure of ourselves and our community in the year that has passed.  This self-reflection reaches its pinnacle on Yom Kippur.

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