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Jewish Open Letter to National Religious Broadcasters Convention
Date:27 February 2013
A Jewish Open Letter to Participants in the 2013 National Religious Broadcasters Convention
From members and friends of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council
A plea for multi-faith understanding and peace in Israel and Palestine.
Dear Christian Colleagues,
We represent a group of rabbis that believe deeply in a vision of peace in the Holy Land, as it is written, "the Lord will bless his people with peace." (Ps. 29:11)
We also believe that peace comes when we learn to listen to each other with respect and empathy, and show our empathy by protecting the safety of all children and families without regard to identity, religion or race. "Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the person of peace." (Ps. 37:37).
As rabbis, many of us have spent years in the Holy Land learning Hebrew and studying Judaism, visiting holy sites and spending time with family and friends. What makes us unusual is our experience visiting Christian and Muslim Palestinians as well as Jewish Israelis. We have chosen to do more and be more for the sake of peace.
As rabbis deeply committed to Jews and Judaism, we have seen many things that disturb us regarding Israel's policy toward Palestinians: Christian and Muslim Palestinian families forcibly removed from their homes, children arrested and beaten, brothers and husbands incarcerated without cause for undetermined periods without recourse to legal services.
Our hearts are broken.
As you gather to affirm the role of broadcasting and journalism in promoting and preserving your faith communities, we urge you to:
• Learn about the lives of your extended Christian family in the Holy Land by actually visiting Christian communities in Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, Beit Jala, East Jerusalem, Nazareth and other Christian communities throughout Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.
• Open yourselves to the amazing work of Christians at the forefront of unarmed nonviolent struggle to obtain human rights and seek reconciliation that can be found through such organizations as Holy Land Trust, Wiam Center for Reconciliation, Siraj and Abraham's Path.
• Take an alternative trip to see Christian holy sites that are led by those who can be truthfully called indigenous Christians, that is, the Christian Palestinians who have safeguarded Christianity in the Holy Land for two thousand years.
In addition, our Muslim cousins have a lot to teach us as well about hospitality, steadfastness and hope. Palestinians are renown for their hospitality, which is rooted in Abrahamic culture and religion. In addition, Jewish groups like Rabbis for Human Rights, Break the Silence, and Boycott from Within are struggling to uphold human rights for everyone in the Holy Land.
Truth demands that we understand all sides, and we cannot do that from a distance. See for yourself.
Finally, we are rabbis that want to safeguard the last significant Jewish population in the Middle East outside the Holy Land, that is, the Jews of Iran. We believe that war with Iran will destabilize the region and will only bring more devastation and destruction to vulnerable Christian and Jewish communities throughout the Middle East. The vast majority of Muslims want to live in peace with their neighbors.
Let us seek and pursue peace by opening ourselves to God's truth: not by military might, and not by force of arms, but by my spirit alone, thus says the Lord. Promote peace and not dissension by encountering Palestinians and turning away from war with Iran. As it is written, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the true children of God."
From members and friends of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council:
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Rabbi Brian Walt
Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer
Rabbi David Mivasair
Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman
Rabbi Rebecca Lillian
Cantor Michael Davis
Rabbinic Student Jessica Rosenberg
Rabbinic Student Rain Zohav
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Rabbi Art Donsky
Rabbi Burt Jacobson
Rabbi Margaret Holub
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Rabbi Borukh Goldberg
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Rabbi Everett Gendler
Rabbi Leonard Beerman
Rabbi Haim Beliak
Rabbinic Student Ken Rosenstein
Rabbi Eyal Levinson
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Rabbi David J Cooper
Rabbinic student Chani Getter
Rabbi Mordecai Leibling
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton
Rabbi Sarra Lev
Rabbinic Student Ari Lev Fornari
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Rabbi Linda Holtzman
For more information, please contact:
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb,
Coordinator of Fellowship of Reconciliation Interfaith Peacewalks,
Cofounder of Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence,
Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice for Peace
7565 Newman Blvd.
P.O. Box 3067
Lasalle (Montreal) QC H8N 3H2