Thursday, November 19, 2015

Refugees From War Aren’t the Enemy

From the New York Times Editorial Board November 18, 2015. Well said!

Credit: Jordan Awan

The House is expected to vote Thursday on H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, which Republican sponsors say “would put in place the most robust national-security vetting process in history” for refugees, one that would “do everything possible to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores.” 
Conceived partly in response to the Paris attacks, the bill seeks to “pause” admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Though there are real fears of terrorism, this measure represents election-year pandering to the xenophobia that rears up when threats from abroad arise. People who know these issues — law enforcement and intelligence professionals, immigration officials and humanitarian groups — say that this wrongheaded proposal simply would not protect Americans from “foreign enemies.”

One of the bill’s chief sponsors, Representative Michael McCaul of Texas, chairman of the House committee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, surely knows how federal protocols for admitting refugees work. Yet the bill disregards the complicated current process, which already requires that applicants’ histories, family origins, and law enforcement and past travel and immigration records be vetted by national security, intelligence, law enforcement and consular officials. This process can take 18 months to two years for each person.

Among other hurdles, the measure would require that the secretary of homeland security, the director of the F.B.I. and the director of national intelligence personally certify that every refugee from Syria and Iraq seeking resettlement here is not a threat. That’s a lot of women, children, and old people.

Moreover, this bill ignores most of what the United States has learned, since 9/11 and before, of how potential terrorists actually reach these shores: such individuals more often already live here, or they come via illegal means. Unlike the refugees in Europe, those seeking resettlement in the United States must apply from abroad. They don’t arrive until formally admitted, and about half of those seeking refugee status are approved. Continue reading the main story

So far, half of the Syrian refugees accepted into the United States, officials say, have been children, and another quarter are over 60 years old. Roughly half are female, and many of those applying from abroad are multigenerational families, often with the primary breadwinner missing. About 2 percent are single males of combat age.

Given these facts, it is fair to say that the people who will be denied resettlement by this bill would be the victims of war, people who have been tortured and threatened by the same jihadists the United States now battles. They are families, they are old people and they are children, who might be given a chance for an education and a future. Continue reading the main story

This is a frightening time for Europe, and for the United States. Should this bill reach his desk, President Obama is more than likely to veto it because it has little to do with fighting global terror. It is sad that this proposal has been described as a first chance for the new speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, to cooperate with the Senate. This bill doesn’t reflect who Americans are, and congressional leaders should have the good sense to realize that.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

#JewishPurpose: An Open Invitation to Participate

This was posted this morning on eJewishPhilanthropy. Consider this cross posting to be me adding my signature. And it will fit in with my Jewish Educational Theory of Everything, I think!

Let's talk!


Since the release of the Pew study in 2013, there has been much hand-wringing in the Jewish community, with some calling this, again, a time of crisis. There is fear of increasing rates of assimilation and growing disaffiliation from traditional institutions. This was especially apparent in the recent statement, Strategic Directions for Jewish Life: A Call to Action, signed by many respected colleagues.

We do not accept this doom and gloom picture of a dying Jewish community, and we think the analysis and recommendations in the document are too limited. As leaders of Jewish social justice initiatives, we see instead an incredibly exciting moment in Jewish life, in which Jews of all generations are experimenting with new modes of practice, diving into learning, creating new Jewish cultural expressions, and drawing on Jewish wisdom and our Jewish traditions to inspire engagement with the world. Rather than mourning the changes in modes of affiliation, we should celebrate this moment and determine how the many different parts of our community might respond expansively and creatively. We want more new voices at the table and more ideas for next steps to be shared.

Pew reports that 56% of Jews say that being Jewish means working for justice. We take this statistic as an opportunity for the organized Jewish community to take on new powerful work for justice, with the involvement or leadership of our groups and our partners. This statistic is also a challenge to many in our ranks who are not doing justice work, or not doing it Jewishly, to act for justice in ways that are connected to the richness of Jewish tradition.

Integrating Judaism with social justice is not a gimmick – it’s a true, authentic way of being Jewish that is both rooted in our texts and traditions, and in the American Jewish experience. Over time, thousands (perhaps millions?) of Jews have acted for justice out of their Jewish values, history, and tradition. It is exciting that in the past 30 years this has become more visible and an entire field is being built around an explicitly Jewish perspective on pursuing justice. That field and those who populate it deserve a central place at this table as we debate aspects of our future.

But there is more. We who are doing this work know that we don’t have all the answers. We know that it is a core principle of social justice that the answers to the most pressing collective challenges have to come from the grassroots, from those most affected by what is and those looking the hardest for what could be. We, as Jewish social justice leaders, know that even perfect solutions to collective challenges often fail if they don’t feel connected to the community affected by those challenges.

So, we are hoping this letter launches this conversation into a broader sphere. We want to know what you – Jews inside and outside of Jewish institutions – think. What is your dream for a dynamic, exciting Jewish community? What do you find in the 21st century Jewish community that speaks to your interests? Where does it let you down? What are you doing outside the Jewish community that you would like to see become part of what the community offers?

During Chanukah, join us for a communal conversation on social media using #jewishpurpose responding to these questions.

This is an invitation to all of you and to the broad circles of people we suspect you can help us engage. We want people who are engaged in Jewish life, people who are occasional participants, and people who watch from the sidelines. We want those who are social justice activists and those who are quiet sympathizers; those who bemoan the state of the world and haven’t figured out what to do about it; those who work in the community and those who don’t; and we definitely want and need people of every generation.

See you online!

Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Abby Levine, Exective Director, the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
Adam Berman, Executive Director, Urban Adamah
Alex Weissman, President, Reconstructionist Student Association
Aliza Levine, Organizer for UNITE HERE New England Joint Board
Amram Altzman, Keshet Leader, Co-founder of the Sexuality, Identity, and Society Club at Ramaz High School, and Blogger for New Voices Magazine
Andy Levin, President, Lean and Green Michigan
April N. Baskin, Union for Reform Judaism
Chava Shervington, President, Jewish Multiracial Network
Cheryl Cook, Executive Director, Avodah
Daniel Sokatch, CEO, New Israel Fund
David Eisner, President & CEO, Repair the World
David Krantz, President of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism
Davida Ginsberg, Moishe Kavod House President
Debbie Goldstein, Carolina Jews for Justice
Dove Kent, Executive Director, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Emilia Diaimant, Executive Director, The Jeremiah Project
Esther-Ann Asch, Advocacy Committee Member at Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York and Former Vice President of Jewish and Community Affairs at FEGS
Fair Trade Judaica
Habonim Dror North America
Idit Klein, Executive Director, Keshet
Jacob Feinspan, Executive Director, Jews United for Justice
Jenna Weinberg, Board Member, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Jewish Labor Committee Western Region
Joy Sisisky, Executive Director, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York
Judy Levey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Karla Van Praag, Executive Director, JOIN for Justice
Kathryn Macías – Moishe Kavod House leader
Lee Sherman, President & CEO, Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies
Leo Ferguson, Leadership Development and Communications Organizer, JFREJ
Nancy Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women
Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee
Rabbi Alana Alpert, Director, Detroit Jews for Justice
Rabbi Barbara Penzner, co-chair, New England Jewish Labor Committee
Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Board Chair, JCUA
Rabbi Elizabeth Richman, Program Director and Rabbi in Residence, Jews United for Justice
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Vice President for Community Engagement, HIAS
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director, T’ruah
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
Rebecca Ennen, Jews United for Justice
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rita Freedman, Acting Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee
Robert Bank, Executive Vice President, American Jewish World Service
Ruth W. Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service
Sheila Decter, Executive Director, JALSA
Stosh Cotler, CEO, Bend the Arc
Tamar Ghidalia, Board Member, Jewish Community Action
Uri L’Tzedek
Vic Rosenthal, Executive Director, Jewish Community Action
Workmen’s Circle
Yavilah McCoy, Bend the Arc Leader and CEO of VISIONS Inc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ken Gordon: My Daughter and Design Thinking: Have Either Really Come of Age?

Ken Gordon is half of the genius that brought us JEDLAB. (If JEDLAB means nothing to you, then go there now. Come back here later. Ken is a lot of things. And he has served our people in a number of ways. And I love the way he sees the world. Rabbi Laurence Kushner once wrote a book called Invisible Lines of Connection. Ken sees them as if they were painted in neon colors. And he has proven remarkably adept at helping others see them and use them to connect to more and more people especially in Jewish education. His main job is now in the world of business consulting, but even before he got there he was like me - a bit of a design thinking junkie. This article was posted on his company Continuum's blog in August. I loved it, then lost the link. Yesterday I found it again. I think it is every bit as important today as it was in August. Check it out. I love the way he synthesizes the Bat Mitzvah with the real world. It is a wonderful example of making Judaism relavant. (Hello, Millenials?) And go to Continuum's site to read more of Ken's work and that of his colleagues. It can teach us Jewish educators a lot.

by Ken Gordon

I have a 13-year-old daughter. Shoshi. She stands as tall as my wife Lisa, speaks Hebrew with a gorgeous Israeli accent, and knows more Torah than both her parents combined. As I type this, she’s studying hard to become a bat mitzvah. This phrase means, literally, “daughter of commandment.” When she officially becomes a bat mitzvah this winter, tradition says she will be responsible for fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of a Jewish adult.

I tell you all this because when I hear the phrase “design thinking comes of age,” which is the cover story of the current issue of Harvard Business Review, I think of Shoshi. I think of what it means, what it really means, for design thinking to come of age.

The official, optimistic line goes like this: In 2015, design thinking has become a fully responsible player in business, one that’s as equally important as, say, digital or branding. It is no longer a merely interesting concept in which a company might or might not dabble. We tell ourselves that design thinking is now an integrated element of many organizations—such as, say, Intuit—and we expect it not to loosen up their approach to problem solving, but to produce serious business results.


But then I think of my actual 13-year-old kid. Do I truly expect Shoshi, who neither drives nor votes nor dates nor earns money nor pays taxes, to become a fully responsible adult after the ceremony is over? I don’t. Truth is, neither my expectations nor our community’s will require her to be a real adult right now. More adult, yes, but not fully. This has a lot to do with the fact that we are secular Jews, and thus don’t literally follow the 613 mitzvot—but it’s also a realization that my kid, like most kids in our society, isn’t anywhere near proper adulthood at 13.

In a similar way, we may also be overestimating the level of maturity of design thinking in the business world. Advocates like to believe design thinking now occupies an ergonomically correct seat at the grownups’ table… but, it still has a ways to grow.

Which isn’t to say that there hasn’t been progress. John Maeda’s recent report about the importance of design to tech companies is significant—between 2011 and 2015, nine creative firms have been acquired in #designintech M&A. That’s nine out of thousands of design shops, of various sizes and capabilities.

At Continuum, we’ve seen some serious interest from companies in developing their innovation capability, and that seems a significant shift. Maybe the CEO of the future will be a designer-in-chief, but that moment, if we’re honest, still seems off in the distance.

So what do we do to slide design thinking down the maturity curve?

We can encourage those firms that have expressed an interest in design thinking to explore the concept more deeply. At Continuum, this means using the content we publish, as well as the conversations in which we engage, as a means of educating the interested.

We teach the notion that design thinking requires sincere cultural commitment to work. It isn’t just that one’s CEO cares about the design: the entire org must do so. Design-centricity isn’t just about hiring designers or attending workshops: it’s about adopting a certain mindset and approach for all business issues.

We must demonstrate that design thinking takes time and patience. Design thinking is a long-term process that involves much prototyping, testing, refining, tinkering to a serious degree. This takes time (it can’t be rushed) and won’t necessarily provide instant returns. Your org has to understand that design thinking unfolds in time, and might have to learn to develop a strong will to wait.
We insist that design thinking must drive business results, which means an emphasis on implementation.

Our current moment is about drawing a baseline. Design thinking is becoming self-conscious, and that’s a good thing: but it’s not the same thing as maturity. Once we know where we truly are, in the present moment, then we can design a more sophisticated future for design thinking. And that’s cause for celebration—one that won’t even involve a caterer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Maybe We’re Looking At the Wrong Pew

I first met Rabbi Gordy Fuller at a CAJE conference a lifetime ago. He was this really tall guy from Texas with a beard whose smile just made you want to be his friend. Our friendship was a once a year thing as we would find a few minutes to hang out while listening to music at a conference or attending the same sessions once in a while. I always enjoyed our time together. And he is a really smart fellow. This piece ran on eJewishPhilanthropy over the weekend. It is terrific. I think. What about you?

Maybe We’re Looking At the Wrong Pew

By Rabbi Gordy Fuller

In both the articles and the reactions to the recently published Statement on Jewish Vitality, the conversation has been centered around the now two-year old Pew Research Center’s “Portrait of American Judaism.” But I wonder if we are all focusing on the wrong Pew study as we plan for Jewish America’s future. I found their recent Religious Landscape Study, particularly the chapter on religious switching, to be more telling.

The thrust of the study is that, not surprisingly, most Americans take a “cafeteria” approach to religious choices, going through the line of entrees, perhaps sampling many, and then finally choosing their favorite. It also showed that an incredibly high percentage of Americans are now in a different faith tradition than the one in which they were raised (34 – 42%, depending on how one defines the change, i.e. to include or not someone who is in one Protestant mainline tradition and then joins another).

What does this say about Judaism’s future if we are not even on the menu of options for 120,000,000 or so Americans who are hungering for something more in their spiritual lives? Might we not be doing more for our Jewish future, as well as for the future morality and potential redemption of the world, if we were to put our best offerings in that cafeteria line instead of waiting for others to knock on our door (at least three times, no doubt)?

I know I am not the first, but I want to add my voice to those who have called for more active Jewish outreach to non-Jews and to overtly seek more converts to Judaism. And I don’t only mean for those who might currently find themselves in a relationship with a member of the Tribe. If we have such a wonderful heritage and such a rich, moral tradition, why not seek others to share it with? I’m purposely avoiding the “P” word, but I’m confident that we Jews could find a moral, ethical, and dignified way to bring our message to the Gentile world.

Last week we read the story of Avraham Avinu, and how he left Haran for the promised land “with all the souls he had made.” Genesis Rabbah tells us that this refers to all those whom he converted to belief in the One True God. If Avraham had not converted all those souls, who would have helped start the Jewish people? If we don’t seek to bring more non-Jews into our peoplehood, what will the future hold for us, and our world? And in the words of Hillel, “If not now, when?”

Rabbi Gordy Fuller is the spiritual leader of congregation Shirat Hanefesh in North Chevy Chase, MD.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Muggles and Wizards for Peace!

Yesterday, Britain's Guardian Newspaper published something that has been missing. Common sense. This letter was signed by dozens of artists, authors, musicians and other dignitaries in Great Britain to respond to their colleagues who chose to boycott Israel. 
Somewhere around the publication of the fourth or fifth volume of the Harry Potter series, I became convinced that J.K. Rowling deserved a Nobel Prize. And before you argue that fantasy fiction written for the pre-teen set cannot truly be deemed literature, let me make the case. What piece of "literature" has gotten so many people of any age to become avid readers? (Ok, perhaps Roth or Nabokov got those looking for racy images to turn off their TV's back in the day.)

I can still remember being at camp several summers in a row on the day when 300+ boxes from Amazon or Barnes and Noble showed up with the newest release. The whole camp got a little bit quiet for a few days as the kids devoured it as quickly as they could. And then I noticed that for many, the required summer reading books, which had been buried behind their socks or towels, made an appearance. With this letter, I am thinking the Peace Prize is looking even better. Of course, she one of many who signed. Thank God.

In February 2015 you published a letter from UK artists announcing their intention to culturally boycott Israel. We do not believe cultural boycotts are acceptable or that the letter you published accurately represents opinion in the cultural world in the UK.

Therefore we are writing to declare our support for the launch and aims of Culture for Coexistence – an independent UK network representing a cross-section from the cultural world.

We will be seeking to inform and encourage dialogue about Israel and the Palestinians in the wider cultural and creative community. While we may not all share the same views on the policies of the Israeli government, we all share a desire for peaceful coexistence.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling is one of the signatories
to Culture for Coexistence’s

plea not to boycott Israel.
Photograph: David Cheskin/PA
Cultural boycotts singling out Israel are divisive and discriminatory, and will not further peace. Open dialogue and interaction promote greater understanding and mutual acceptance, and it is through such understanding and acceptance that movement can be made towards a resolution of the conflict.

Ultimately we all believe in a two-state solution so that the national self-determination of both peoples is realised, with the state of Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.

Cultural engagement builds bridges, nurtures freedom and positive movement for change. We wholly endorse encouraging such a powerful tool for change rather than boycotting its use.

Naomi Alderman          Shay Alkalay               Bennett Arron           Jonathan Aycliffe    
Daniel Battsek              John Battsek                Guto Bebb MP          Gina Bellman
Michael Berg                Josh Berger                  Bob Blackman MP   Neil Blair                  
Iwona Blazwick            Elli Bobrovizki            Gabi Bobrovizki        Melvyn Bragg          
David Burrowes MP    Teresa Cahill                Colin Callender         Simon Chinn
Danny Cohen                Frank Cohen                Prof Susan Collins    Wendy Cope
Loraine da Costa          Marcus Davey              Oliver Dowden MP   Daniel Easterman
Ruth Dudley Edwards Michael Dugher MP   Brian Elias                  Yigal Elstein
Allie Esiri                      Michael Etherton        Moris Farhi MBE      Niall Ferguson
Stanley Fink                  Larry Finlay               Amanda Foreman       Michael Foster
Andrew Franklin          Nick Fraser                 Mike Freer MP           Julian Friedman
Sonia Friedman            Jonny Geller                Adèle Geras                David Glick
Taryn Gold                   Amanda Goldman       Richard Goldstein      Michael Grade
Maurice Gran              Linda Grant                 Miriam Gross             Tom Gross
Stephen Grosz             Peter & Martine Halban                                   Jan Harlan
Ronald Harwood         Noreena Hertz              John Heyman             Lilian Hochhauser
Tom Holland                John Howell MP          Judy Ironside              David Japp
Andrea Jenkyns MP   Zygi Kamasa                Jack Kirkland             Evgeny Kissin
Michael Kuhn             David Kustow               Norman Lebrecht       Sam Leifer
Teddy Leifer                Camilla Lewis               David Levy                 John Levy
Maureen Lipman        Andrew Macdonald      Hilary Mantel            Stephen Margolis
Dan Marks                  Laurence Marks            Denis MacEoin          Charlotte Mendelson
Yael Mer                      Ivan Moscovich             Maajid Nawaz            Anthony Newman
Gavin Newman           Hayley Newstead           Paula Noble                Tracy-Ann Oberman
Matthew Offord MP  Cosh Omar                    Martin Paisner            Robin Pauley
Leo Pearlman              Daniel Peltz                   Andrew Percy MP      Eric Pickles MP
Stuart Polak                Monica Porter               Gail Rebuck                Charlie Redmayne
Andrew Roberts          JK Rowling                   Paul Ruddock             Prof Carol Rumens
Marc Samuelson          Charles Robert Saumarez Smith                    Prof Robert Saxton
Joanna Scanlan            Kenny Schachter          Simon Schama           Simon Sebag Montefiore
Francesca Segal            Anthony Seldon           Rick Senat                  Zaab Sethna
Jonathan Shalit            Bernard Shapero         David Shelley             Clive Sinclair
Daniel Silver                 Lucy Silver                   Dan Silverston           Chloe Smith MP
Karen Smith                 Mark Smith                  Prof Ashley Solomon
Claire Speller               Rob Suss                       George Szirtes            Paul Trijbits
Kevin Tsjiuhara           Gabe Turner                Moni Varma               Rebecca Wallersteiner
Minette Walters            Zoë Wanamaker         Angela Watkinson MP
George Weidenfeld       Fay Weldon                 Heather Wheeler MP
Robert Winston            Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg          

David Young                 Toby Young

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let's Play Two! (Wait till next year!)

Rats. I missed a few days of blogging while I was in Chicago for the ARJE leadership meetings. Today's post is not truly about Jewish Education. It is about Baseball. And the Cubs. Which is all about faith. Which brings me back to Jewish education. 

A chidush: When Ernie Banks (look him up if you don't know him) would be told "Hey Ernie! It's a beautiful day for a ball game!" He would respond "Let's play two!" For many years, I have used that when teaching about the Yotzer Or/Ma'ariv Aravim prayers - which praise God for creating our universe. After all, what higher praise for creation is there than by appreciating a beautiful day by doing something we love outside - like playing two games of baseball. I was fortunate enough to share my version with Ernie when we were stranded together in the Omaha airport in the winter of 1986-7. His response to me was "Yeah! You get it."

My friend, congregant and fellow ex-pat Chicagoan, Marcy Shinbaum, sent me a link to a wonderful article about the season on Facebook: An Ode from a Cubs Fan by Julie Haddon. It is extraordinary and is what nearly everyone of us is feeling today, following the Cubbies being swept by the Mets (read enemy). 

Below is my response on Facebook and manifesto. I may use it to teach Modim Anachnu Lach - the prayer of Thanksgiving.

Thanks Marcy Shinbaum for sharing. You get it. The author gets it. I still feel it was a privilege and bucket list level highlight that I was able to sit in the front row of the upper deck in right field for game 3 Tuesday night. When we got killed. Again. I will treasure the Post Season Cubs hat I bought and the W cloth they gave me when I came in Gate D. The money was well spent. I can still taste the celery salt on the Polish that I washed down with an Old Style.

As I walked up the ramp to my first ever night game at Wrigley (even I have to admit the lights are a good thing), my throat tightened and my eyes watered. I was back in the bleachers with Arnie Krause. I was in the boxes with Grampa Leo and Uncle Stan. (Turns out my cousin Rusty was only three sections away with his son, but we didn't know it!). I was in the Omaha airport in 1986 talking with Ernie Banks while we were both waiting for a plane that was late coming in from Minneapolis to take us home to Chicago.

Yeah, we're cursed. Maybe. But we had an amazing year. By July we are used to looking at the Bears' prospects. Tomorrow I will take a look and see what the roster looks like, since I have not let my sports-vision wander past the corner of Clark and Addison.

Thank you Theo. Thank you Joe. And thank all of you on the 25 and 40 man rosters and all of the trainers, coaches, spouses, ticket sellers and takers and especially all of the vendors. Thank you Gary Pressy for all the music and Wayne Messmer for the Star Spangled Banner Tuesday night. (Strange how few people sang along. I felt like I was singing a duet with you!) Thank you Audrey for pushing me to go to the game. And thank you Rachel for the airport lifts and the ride to the El.

We are used to hanging our heads when we say our end of the season mantra. I look at our team and the contracts and the year we just finished - with the THIRD best record in baseball.

My head is high and I am happy when I say "Wait till next year."

It's going to be awesome!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Israel’s Latest Terror Wave: The Global Reform Movement Responds

For personal reasons (health of a family member - all is fine now, thanks), I have not yet commented on what is happening in Israel. I have only begun to reach out to friends in Israel to see how they are doing (if they have not already shared on Facebook. I feel awful. And I am outraged at the woefully inadequate and barely accurate coverage in most of the American media, both liberal and conservative. I am not sure I am ready to respond yet - too busy trying to come up with ways to talk about this with middle schoolers (suggestions are welcome!). For now, I want to share the response of the Reform Movement. This is posted on RJblog, the Reform Movement's Blog.

A rash of stabbings and other terror attacks on Israeli citizens have increased alarmingly over the past few days.

The World Union for Progressive Judaism, proudly headquartered in Jerusalem, condemns these acts. The cruelty of those who attack innocent civilians and children on their way home from school seems to know no limit.

The WUPJ mourns with the families and loved ones of the victims of these latest terrorist attacks.

During dark times like these, there is a powerful urge to hate and to inflict collective punishment on “the other.” However, we cannot let extremists set the agenda for the rest of us. There will only be peace once the fundamentalists no longer perpetuate this cycle of hate.

The worldwide Reform Movement continues to pray for an end to the violent acts, meant to plant fear in the hearts of every Israeli citizen.

These acts will not deter us from our efforts to strengthen the Jewish people and the State of Israel. We must not allow fear to rule us.

Later this week the WUPJ international leadership will gather in Jerusalem to express solidarity with the citizens of Jerusalem and Israel. The meetings of the World Zionist Congress will continue as planned with a full complement of Reform Jewish leaders from around the globe. Our brothers and sisters in Israel need – and deserve – our support in these challenging times. They are not alone.

Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, WUPJ President
Carole Sterling, WUPJ Chair
Dr. Philip Bliss, WUPJ Advocacy Committee Chair

Watch an in-depth analysis of the latest developments in Israel by Professor Paul Liptz, WUPJ Anita Saltz International Education Center’s Director of Education here.