Skip to main content

"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?" (Isaiah 58:6)

Last Tuesday, Rabbi Brant Rosen of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston Illinois and Rabbi Brian Walt of Rabbis For Human Rights-North America coordinated an organized Jewish communal response to the continued blockade of Gaza and the cruel punishment of its people.  This initiative, "Ta'anit Tzedek - The Jewish Fast For Gaza", follows the Jewish tradition of holding a communal fast in times of crisis, both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentence.

At the beginning of last week there was an initial group of 13 Rabbinic participants.  By tonight, there are over 360 people, including over 50 Rabbis, Christian and Muslim clergy, people of various faiths, and people of conscience.  The members come mostly from America, as well as Israel, Palestine, Germany, Iran, China, Mexico, England, France, Ecuador, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Scotland, and  Portugal.

"Do not stand idly by when your neighbor's blood is being spilled." (Leviticus 19:16)

Since Hamas' electoral victory in January 2006, the Israeli government has subjected the people of the Gaza Strip to an increasingly intolerable blockade.  This has restricted the ability of Gazans to export finished materials and import food, fuel,and other essential materials.  As a result, the Gazan economy has completely collapsed, unemployment and poverty has increased dramatically, and significant numbers of children are at risk for malnutrition.

The Rabbis who led this project realized that they could no longer stand by while the Israeli government continues to punish the Palestinian people of Gaza.  While condemning Hamas' deliberate targeting of Israeli citizens, the leaders of Ta'anit Tzedek also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government.  They hope to use the fast to spotlight their four goals:

  1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;
  1. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;
  1. To call upon Israel, the U.S., and the international community to engage in negotiations without precondition with all relevant Palestinian parties - including Hamas - in order to end the blockade;
  1. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The Rabbis have decided to hold a monthly water-only fast, from sunrise to sunset, on the third Thursday of every month.  The first fast is set for this Thursday July 16th.  In addition to fasting, the leaders of this group have asked participants to donate the money they save on food to the Milk For Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near East Refugee Aid organiztion, which combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children.

For those people who realize that justice, truth, and peace are interdependent and want to support the people of Gaza, please consider the following actions:

1)Sign-up as a supporter of the Fast For Gaza.

2)Contact the leadership of Ta'anit Tzedek with questions, concerns, or ideas for public observance regarding the Fast.

3)Contact your Rabbis and the major Jewish denominational groups about this powerful and courageous initiative.

Here are links to several organizations:
Alliance For Jewish Renewal
Union for Reform Judaism
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism
Orthodox Union

4)Contact clergy and non-clergy of other faiths, as well as other non-religious people of conscience to join the initiative.

5)Contact your House and Senate members to make them aware of this organization and its important goals.

For all those joining us this Thursday, may you have a meaningful fast

Originally posted to rbguy on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 08:28 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site