APN's R. Alana Suskin in the Washington Jewish Week: On the Temple Mount…

...Keep the status quo

By tradition, the binding of Isaac – the Akedah – which occurs in this week’s Torah portion, is held to have taken place on the site known today as the Temple Mount. During the last few days, as tensions in Jerusalem reached new heights over the Temple Mount, I have been reading the portion and thinking about the meaning the Temple Mount has for Jews – and about how sad it is that, rather than respecting it as a place of peace, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, extremists on both sides choose this site to fan the flames of holy war.

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APN/Peace Now in the News: October 5-October 24, 2014

 

Sun Sentinel (Florida) - October 21, 2014
Rabbi Bruce Warshal op-ed: I still contribute to Americans for Peace Now (APN)
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/opinion/fl-jjps-warshal-1022-20141021-story.html#page=1

 

San Diego Jewish World - October 22, 2014
APN press release (in its entirety): APN condemns Jerusalem terrorist attack
http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2014/10/22/palestinian-kills-baby-injures-7-bus-stop/

 

Jerusalem Post - October 13, 2014
Peace Now's Anat Ben-Nun: Don't blame Peace Now for destructive Israeli government policies in East Jerusalem!
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Bad-policies-in-east-Jerusalem-378802

 

Jerusalem Post (blog)  - October 5, 2014
Blogger and Evangelical broadcaster Earl Cox criticizes Peace Now's policies
http://www.jpost.com/Blogs/Israel-Uncensored/Ultra-left-Liberal-Peace-Now-Obama-and-Livni-Adding-to-Israels-Woes-378109

 

LA Jewish Journal (Rosner's blog) - October 6, 2014
Shmuel Rosner criticizes both Netanyahu and Peace Now for conduct re Givat Hamatos incident
http://www.jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain/item/bibi_vs._peace_now_a_potentially_dangerous_moment

 

JP Updates (blog) - October 6, 2014
Blogger Shai Franklin criticizes Netanyahu for lashing out at Peace Now
http://jpupdates.com/2014/10/06/op-ed-bibis-visit-soothes-demographic/

 

The Jewish Chronicle (UK) - October 7, 2014
Conflict with Netanyahu "catapults Peace Now to center stage"
http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/123921/peace-now-spoils-bibis-us-party

Gathering our strength for peace: Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah 5775

rainShemini Atzeret -"the Eighth [day] of Assembly"- is celebrated beginning Wednesday night, October 8th. Outside of Israel, a second day is celebrated which is referred to as Simchat Torah ("the Rejoicing of the Torah"). In Israel, the holidays of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined into one and either name can be used to refer to the holiday.

Shemini Atzeret immediately follows the holiday of Sukkot.  The special celebrations for this holiday are the beginning of the prayers for rain, and the celebration of the completion of the yearly reading of the Torah Scroll, and returning it back to its beginning to start again during Simchat Torah.

Some commentaries focus on the meaning of the name "Atzeret," meaning "to gather" or "store up." He suggests that the sentiments that we have expressed throughout the entire fall holiday season - repentance, reconciliation, renewal - should be gathered up and stored within us for the following year. We hope that as we turn back to the beginning once again, we will store up all the hopes, all the strength that we have, and turn it into our work for the coming year. This year, may we have gathered enough strength to work for peace - and achieve it.

Building for Peace, Sukkot 5775

Sukkat_Shalom2_Slot_320x265Beginning Wednesday night, October 8th, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins. 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.

Our Israeli sister organization, Peace  Now,  broke the news that on the eve of Rosh Hashana, when the Netanyahu government hoped that nobody was paying attention it went ahead with final approval of a plan for construction of a new settlement in East Jerusalem –2,610 housing units in Givat Hamatos.

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Yom Kippur 2014/5775: We can change the story now

rocky-mountain-sheep-portrait267x200Beginning this Friday evening and continuing through Saturday night, the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will be observed by Jews throughout the world.  This year, on Rosh Hashana, ethicist Michael Walzer reminded us that throughout the season leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews engage in the accounting of one's soul -cheshbon nefesh: we examine our behavior, taking an honest measure of ourselves in the year that has passed.  This self-reflection reaches its pinnacle on Yom Kippur.

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, we read the Torah portion in which Abraham brings his son Isaac up to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him. This story is part of cycle of readings that begins on the first day of Rosh Hashana with the story of Hagar and Ishmael being cast out into the desert. Many commentaries note that the two readings are connected - that the (near-) sacrifice of Isaac is a measure for measure punishment of Sarah and Abraham for their treatment of Hagar and Ishmael - a "see how you feel" moment, as it were.

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On this Rosh Hashanah, we wish you a year of light, hope, and peace

shana_tova_eng1

Tonight, as we hear the ram's horn, we are called to review our individual and communal experience in the year that passed.

As we look back, this past year has been a particularly dark one.

Secretary Kerry’s peace initiative crumbled. Against the background of a diplomatic lull violence erupted after the kidnapping and murder of four teens, three Israelis and a Palestinian, and the violence triggered a war, from which both Israel and Gaza emerged devastated and desperate.

So it is with relief that we can turn our faces forward, and place our hope in a fresh beginning. In this spirit we remind ourselves that while darkness encompasses and blinds you, it takes only a tiny candle to banish the dark and see.  

We hope, at this time of new beginnings, you will choose to light a candle, and to recommit yourself to the cause of peace and to the work of APN and Shalom Achshav.

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APN/Peace Now in the News: July 18-July 25, 2014

Sun Sentinel - July 21, 2014
Rabbi Bruce Warshal praises APN and other peace groups for not losing hope
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/opinion/fl-jjps-warshal-0723-20140721,0,5120809.story

Global Research (online) - July 22, 2014
Peace Now mentioned in article about attacks on Israel's peace movement
http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-peace-movement-members-shouted-down-and-physically-attacked/5392698

The NY Jewish Week - July 23, 2014
APN's statement on Gaza War quoted
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york/fault-lines-open-civilian-deaths-mount

LA Jewish Journal - July 23, 2014
APN's David Pine quoted on Gaza War
http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/los_angeles_reaction_to_gazan_fighting_ranges_from_anxiety_to_empathy

Jews and Muslims join in fast for peace around the world

In the past month, the Jewish and Muslim communities have been shattered by the terrorist killings of four boys: Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, Eyal Yifrah, and Muhammed Abu Khdeir.

On Tuesday, July 15th, the Jewish and Muslim calendars are united in a day of fast:
Traditionally, the 17th of Tammuz is a fast day commemorating the breach of the walls of Jerusalem before the destruction of the second temple, and beginning the 3 weeks leading up to the observance of Tisha B'Av.  The 17th of Tammuz is a minor fast day, lasting only from dawn to dusk. The fasts of Ramadan are also dawn until dusk fasts, done daily through the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (which this year began on the evening of June 28th). It is a holiday of sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate (APN's intern, Hamze Awadeh, wrote about what Ramadan means to him)
For both traditions, this is a day designated for soul-searching, an opportunity for people to take responsibility, and
for self-reflection, communal purification, and repentance.

Across the United States, in Israel and the West Bank, and internationally, Jews and Muslims are gathering together to observe this day in the hope of ending the cycle of bloodshed. Although it is not an answer, it is a hopeful gesture. We encourage you to participate in this day of reflection.

APN/Peace Now in the News: June 20 - June 27, 2014

The Forward - June 24, 2014
APN expresses understanding for PC-USA's divestment move
http://forward.com/articles/200647/after-presbyterian-win-bds-advocates-trumpet-dives/?p=all

The Third Way (Mitchell Plitnick's blog) - June 23, 2014
Reprint of APN's press release on PC (USA)'s divestment decision
http://mitchellplitnick.com/2014/06/23/americans-for-peace-now-statement-on-pcusa-divestment/

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