Rebuilding continues a decade after the devastating floods, and New Orleans communities of faith see hope amidst the tragedy; and old age has not diminished the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader’s role as an advocate for world peace and inner happiness
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By Rabbi Paul Kipnes
When the call came to drop everything and fly cross-country to highlight the racial injustice that still exists in America, nearly 200 Reform rabbis answered. We put personal and work lives on hold to retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery and beyond.
Now we rabbis ask all Californians to drop everything for 5 minutes between August 24th and 28th to contact your state senators to eradicate racial injustice. Suggested talking points and email/phone contact information are at http://action.rac.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=21143.
Will you answer the call and make your call?
I and other Reform Rabbis each carried the Torah scroll on part of the NAACP’s 40-day Journey for Justice. We responded to Jewish tradition: “A person should use his/her face, hands, and feet only to honor the Creator” (Tosefta Brachot 4:1).
Walking with my daughter Rachel, I opened myself to the experiences of fellow marchers; with my eyes and ears, I looked and listened. I learned from them about the dangerous reality of being a person of color in America. It horrified me.
While in God’s eyes we are all b’tzelem Elohim (equally in God’s image) on the inside, so many Americans are mistreated on the basis of their skin color on the outside. Yet without hard proof, I realize, many Americans will still doubt this truth.
Seeking a Clearer Picture
I urge my fellow Californians to support two state fair policing bills. AB 953 (racial and identity profiling) require police officers to report basic information about all stops they make. AB 71 (police use of force) requires police officers to report on any use of force resulting in death or serious bodily injury.
The police departments of Oakland and San Jose and the CA Highway Patrol already collect and report this data voluntarily. The San Diego police department discovered that Blacks were searched three times as much twice as much as white were searched. However, the Blacks and Hispanics searched were found less likely to have engaged in criminal activity.
Reform CA’s B’yachad (“In It Together”) Campaign supports AB 953 and AB 71 because as Jews we cannot live with dignity when other Californians, particularly people of color, are not afforded the same dignity.
Rabbi Paul Kipnes is spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA.
The post The Call to Californians: Act to End Racial Injustice appeared first on Fresh Updates from RAC.
When the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice began in Selma, AL, on August 1, the Reform Movement was there as a partner and ally.
This historic 860-mile march in which nearly 200 Reform rabbis and activists are participating, will culminate in Washington, D.C. on September 16. Throughout, the marchers are demonstrating to our nation’s leaders that Americans from a diverse array of faiths and backgrounds share a commitment to racial justice, and that it is past time for passage of legislation that will help bring the United States closer to its founding ideals of equality for all.
Over the course of the Journey, rabbis are carrying a Torah scroll, transferring responsibility for its care each day. The experience harkens back to our earliest days as a people, wandering in the desert with the mishkan in our midst. Although our Exodus from Egypt was long ago, we are still marching toward the Promised Land – one in which justice and opportunity are a reality for all Americans. After all, this year as our nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, we know that for far too many people, that promise remains unfulfilled.
This Journey for Justice is a moment for our entire Movement to rededicate itself to the struggle for racial justice.
Our traditions as Jews and as Americans tell us not to stand idly by when our neighbors’ blood is shed, nor when equal opportunities in education and employment are denied, nor when our brothers and sisters struggle to overcome generations of discrimination. So, as the Journey for Justice mobilizes activists around a vision that seeks uncorrupted access to the ballot box for every eligible American, a justice system rooted in principles that apply to all equally, a reality in which individuals can earn a living wage that supports their families, and equitable public education opportunities for all children, we are inspired to be present.
The Journey for Justice also reflects the Reform Movement’s historic and ongoing partnership with the NAACP. I write this message from my office on Kivie Kaplan Way, named for the former Jewish president of the NAACP – and former URJ board member – who endowed this building to stand as a hub of Jewish social justice – not just in his time, but also in ours and for generations to come. We honor our Movement’s legacy of involvement in the civil rights movement not merely by remembering it and by teaching it to our children, but by making the struggle our own.
We encourage you bring the spirit of the Journey for Justice to your community; take this opportunity to connect with others in your neighborhood, to strengthen your relationship with a local black church or to reach out and spark a new connection. While we hope you can join in the march itself, you can also participate from your congregation and community through coordinated opportunities:
- Take part in the “virtual march” webinar on September 1 to hear from rabbis on the march and an update about the Movement’s racial justice work.
- Join the RAC and the Reform Movement in Washington, D.C. for the culminating events of the Journey on September 15 and 16.
- Urge your Members of Congress to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act and help protect the right to vote for all Americans.
When we join with our neighbors of different faiths, races, experiences, and identities, we strengthen the bonds of humanity and reiterate the call for justice not just for some, but for all.
Jewish Spiritual Leader's Institute (JSLI) , the Online Rabbinical School of Sim Shalom, held its ordination ceremony in Delray Beach, Florida. Ten new rabbis will now begin their respective...
(PRWeb July 15, 2015)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/07/prweb12841194.htm