A Letter from the

Social Justice Action Committee

Dear Chavurahniks,

Like many of you, we have watched with horror as the tension surrounding evictions in Jerusalem, the storming of the Al-Aqsa mosque, and years of incitement boiled over into the worst violence seen in years in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Gaza. We are appalled to hear of the rocket fire from Hamas, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and ethnic violence throughout the region, and mourn the loss of innocent lives, including many children. We are relieved to hear of the recent ceasefire, but we fear that this peace will remain fragile as long as the underlying issues are not addressed.

We are also upset by the tenor of the conversation within the larger Jewish community. We reject the dichotomy which seems to say that we must either be pro-Israel and condone every action of the Israeli government, or else be pro-Palestinian and therefore anti-Israel. We insist that defending the human rights of all people in the region is in keeping with the Jewish values of tzedek and tikkun olam.

It is tragic to witness the deterioration in the dialogue surrounding Israel and Palestine. The distrust and hate coursing through the Jewish, Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli communities threatens to tear apart bonds built over years, leading to acts of antisemitism and islamophobia. At our committee meeting this week, several of us expressed the hope that the Chavurah could be a safe space to discuss these issues, in an atmosphere of respect and openness to hearing different perspectives. We’d like to share with you three statements which we found very moving. The first is from Rabbi Waskow’s Shalom Center, the second from a group of over 100 rabbinical and cantorial students, and third from the School for Peace.

While discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been controversial within the Chavurah community in the past, many among us feel that, at a time like this, silence can be more painful, and more dangerous, than controversy. In the coming weeks the Social Justice Action Committee will host a conversation for members who are interested in talking about these issues. If you have any questions about the nature of this conversation, please come discuss them with us in a breakout room at the Annual General Meeting on Sunday, May 30!

Sincerely,

The Mile End Chavurah Social Justice Action Committee