Haggadah Insert: The spirit of DAYENU.

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Each year at Passover, Jews read this line in the haggadah, "In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they had left Egypt." Why? Because each of us should understand that in our generation, just as in our ancestors' generation, the status quo is not inevitable. Societies founded on inequality, on domination of others, on ruling those who do not wish to be ruled cannot, in the arc of history, last. In every generation there is a wrong to be righted. Today, it is in our hands to right it.

This year, you can add flavor to your seder by sharing this thoughtful reflection by Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb. Rabbi Dobb, who has written previously for Americans for Peace Now, has graciously contributed our 13th haggadah insert. In it, he asks us to make peace with the idea of limits.

Since 2001, Americans for Peace Now has asked rabbis from the extended APN family to contribute reflections on the haggada: that story which has for centuries been understood as the archetype of liberation. Many of us have made these reflections a permanent part of our seder - we hope you will, too. You can find them here.

May we all enjoy a sweet and liberating Passover,

Debra DeLee
President and CEO,
Americans for Peace Now

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Submitted by Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb (2014)
To be read after the meal, just before the search for the afikomen. (Tzafun)

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Peace Process Hanging in the Balance

Secretary of State John Kerry cut short a tour to Europe Monday to rush to Israel and the West Bank to salvage the US-brokered peace process from collapse.

The reason for the current crisis, the most severe since the beginning the so-called Kerry initiative eight months ago, is the Israeli government’s balking at the release of Palestinian security prisoners, convicted terrorists who Israel has committed to releasing as a gesture to the Palestinians.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: March 31, 2014

This week, Alpher discusses what Olmert's conviction for receiving bribes means for the peace process; why Netanyahu refuses to release veteran terrorist prisoners who are Arab citizens of Israel; how this issue jibes with a new Israel Foreign Ministry document that appears to find legal justification for Avigdor Lieberman's proposal to transfer Arab-populated parts of Israel to Palestinian sovereignty under a two-state redrawing of borders.

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APN's Lara Friedman in Haaretz: What Israeli Palestinian mutual recognition really means.

Unlike Israel's unilateral insistence on the 'Jewish state', Israeli and Palestinian leaders need to find a recognition formula that reconciles two opposing national narratives.

By now everyone has realized that there’s a new issue on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations agenda that’s not going away: The demand that the Palestinians not only recognize Israel - something they have done repeatedly, starting in 1993 - but that they recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," or some similar wording. No such “recognition-plus” demand was made of Egypt or Jordan, nor was it mentioned in the Oslo agreement or subsequent Israeli-Palestinian documents. It made a brief appearance in the Annapolis talks of 2007, but only as a marginal issue. Only In 2009 did it truly come into play, courtesy of Benjamin Netanyahu.

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APN's Ori Nir in Haaretz: Two-staters, unite behind Kerry

kerry_briefing_2014-320x265You don’t have to love everything that the U.S. Secretary of State will present in his 'framework’ paper - but there is too much at stake not to support a chance for peace.

There’s a kind of hush in the peace camp as Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to issue the “framework” for continued Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. And unlike Karen Carpenter's saccharine song, this hush is not intended to make room for the sound of lovers in love. It’s a hush of inhibition, the silence of the skeptics who have known too many past disappointments.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: March 24, 2014

This week, Alpher discusses why Israel is hesitating to release another group of Palestinian prisoners this week; the Hamas connection; if the US-sponsored two-state talks will be extended; the upset in Israel-US relations by Israeli statements and actions, mainly regarding Iran; and whether there is an Iranian parallel to Yaalon's challenge to the current international effort to reach a nuclear agreement with the Rowhani government.

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Press Release: APN Lambasts New Planned Settlement Construction

As the Obama administration prepares to kick its efforts to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations into higher gear, the government of Israel is advancing plans to build 2,372 new housing units in West Bank settlements.

News of this new round of settlement construction plans was publicized yesterday by Americans for Peace Now's Israeli sister-organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).

Americans for Peace Now joins Shalom Achshav in condemning the new plans for construction in settlements, many of which are east of the "Separation Barrier," in areas that are almost certain to come under Palestinian sovereignty when a two-state peace agreement is achieved.

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The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus), which we recently began, focuses on ritual matters, primarily, the details of offerings, including burnt offerings, sin offerings (separate ones to atone for deliberate transgressions and inadvertent failings) and guilt offerings … and what is usually translated as the “peace” offering.

Now, the “peace offering,” of course, doesn’t have to do with a cessation of hostilities, but comes from the root shin-lamed-mem, which denotes both shalom — peace — and shlemut, a character of wholeness. Wholeness is especially relevant to us in these times, when a moment of hope for the other kind of peace presents on the horizon a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.

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Hard Questions, Tough Answers with Yossi Alpher: March 17, 2014

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This week, Alpher discusses how critical Monday's meeting between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama is likely to be; why it took Obama and Kerry all this time to recognize just how far apart the two sides are; what the strategic ramifications of last week's firing of more than 70 rockets into Israel Islamic Jihad are;  and what it means at the national level that last week, Israel's parliamentary opposition boycotted three key Knesset debates and votes regarding highly controversial measures of national importance.

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I KNOW where you live: A Purim message from Sara Ehrman, APN Board member

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I know where you live: A Purim message from Sara Ehrman, APN Board member

 

Our Jewish tradition assigns meaning to many milestones in life. At 12 or 13 we have a bat/bar mitzvah. At 15, it’s time to start studying Talmud. Forty is when you can study kabbalah.

But when you turn 95? Bupkas. Judaism has nothing to say.

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