My Book of Ruth

Ruth

On January 11th, my mother, Ruth Epstein, died at the age of 100.  She was born in 1915: World War I was raging, Woodrow Wilson was president, the typhoid epidemic was spreading and Congress rejected giving women the right to vote.

Her mother spent her early years in County Cork Ireland, being part of a large group of Lithuanian Jews who hired 3 boats to take to them to America, only to learn that the "goniffs" had dropped them in English-speaking Ireland instead. Her father came from Russia, and shared numerous stories with us - none of which were ever confirmed - of his exploits with the Czar. She was engaged in the world, offended by injustice and devoted to the state of Israel until her last breath.

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APN CEO Debra DeLee in the Jewish Journal: When the Knesset tries to muzzle free speech

Debra-approved-headshot-study-tour-2014-245x250I am a product of the '60's. I demonstrated against the Viet Nam war, marched for civil rights and against racism. I have boycotted lettuce and grapes, in support of the United Farmworkers; Dow, for manufacturing napalm during the Viet Nam war; Coors, for discriminatory hiring practices against people of color and gays; Nestlé, for its aggressive campaign to sell breast milk substitute to young mothers in developing countries; Target, for its significant contributions to Tom Emmer, the rightwing candidate for Minnesota Governor whose agenda included positions I abhorred on everything; and Walmart, for its poor labor practices (except when my mother Ruth Epstein, who turns 100 this August, insists on going there “for the bargains”).

You get the picture. And while I don't support the boycott of Israel or Israeli-made products, I do support boycotting products made in settlements – and I urge others to do the same. In taking this position, I stand with friends, colleagues, and loved ones in Israel – including Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), the veteran Israeli peace movement. I seek out Israeli wine at my local stores, but only buy it if it comes from one of the vineyards inside the Green Line.

I boycott settlements – and urge others who care about Israel to do likewise – because settlements and their expansion is the greatest obstacle to achieving a two-state solution for Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, and thus the greatest threat to an Israeli future that is Jewish, secure, and democratic.

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Leibel Fein Remembered - A Letter from APN's Debra DeLee

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Dear Friend,

I'm writing this letter to those of you who knew, loved, or simply read the eloquence of Leibel Fein. Leibel died last night, and we are still reeling from this unexpected loss.

I am one of those people who subconsciously thinks in "Top Ten Lists" - it helps me prioritize life's overwhelming chaos. It turns out that Leibel makes all of the best of them - Top 10 writers, thinkers, joke-tellers, do-gooders (in the very best sense of the term), friends.

Leibel was brilliant. He had the rare ability to put his thoughts on paper in a way that persuaded, enlightened and altered your thinking, while all the while your mind was carried along by the beauty of his eloquence. He used words as an artist uses paint - it was beautiful and powerful, while the content was often courageous and bold. Those of us at APN were grateful that he was so generous with this gift.

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Peace: The Jewish Priority

melchior186x140When we at Americans for Peace Now discuss the necessity of the two-state solution for the future of a Jewish and democratic Israel, we typically do so in geopolitical and security terms. We talk about the occupation as a terrible liability that damages Israel's democratic character, its international standing, and, obviously, its ability to live in peace and security with its neighbors.But the impassioned case that we make for peace for Israel stems from our caring about the future of the Jewish national home and its adherence to Jewish values.

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