Thursday, January 21, 2010

Join Ta'anit Tzedek - Jewish Fast For Gaza

Today I observe a monthly fast, alongside over a thousand others, both Jewish and non-Jewish people of conscience.  We desire an end to the blockade of Gaza.  It's been over a year since the siege and since then, so little humanitarian aid and/or re-building supplies have reached these people.  Peace talks must happen between all parties involved, including Hamas.  Today, I will remain aware of the suffering of both Jew and Palestinian.  I will pray that these brothers and sisters will come to embrace a nonviolent approach to solving this, ensuring the safety and human rights are respected for all.

Other info on the monthly fast:


Background:

Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being spilled (Leviticus 19:16).
As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Since Hamas’ electoral victory in January 2006, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly intolerable blockade that restricts Gaza's ability to import food, fuel and other essential materials, and to export finished products. As a result, the Gazan economy has completely collapsed. Most of Gaza's industrial plants have been forced to close, further contributing to already high levels of unemployment and poverty and rising levels of childhood malnutrition.
On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth, and on peace (Mishnah Avot 1:18).
From this we learn that justice, truth and peace are interdependent and irrevocably intertwined. Thus we cannot separate our call for justice in Gaza from the painful truth of this conflict and the ongoing tragedy of war in this tortured region. We condemn Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. Out of the same ethical commitments we also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government, causing many more deaths of Palestinian civilians. Since the end of Israel's recent military campaign, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza has grown all the more dire.

The Fast:

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)
In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance. In this spirit, Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
This water-only fast will take place on the third Thursday of the month, beginning on July 16, 2009, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to signing on to the statement above, participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near Eastern Refugee Aid (ANERA). This important relief campaign combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children through daily provisions of fortified milk and high energy biscuits.
Those who are unable to fast for the entire day are encouraged to engage in a partial fast or to find their own meaningful ways to observe the day. Participants may also initiate public events in different communities that will further the goals of the fast.

4 comments:

Tom H. Hastings said...

So much I don't know! Thank you for all this. What a fine action. There has been so much call from Palestinians for Israelis to show some real desire for peace and justice, just as there has been so much call for Palestinians to show some ethical condemnation of suicide bombers and rockets fired into Israeli neighborhoods. This is the kind of action and intention that can build trust, the precursor to peace. I wish to join you.

Brian said...

I am so pleased that you joined the fast today and very pleased to read about your commitment to nonviolence. Many Blessings to you and may the Source of Life bless all efforts to bring more justice and compassion to our world.

Rabbi Brian Walt
co-Founder Taanit Tzedek-Jewish Fast for Justice

Terri said...

Great Tom. We can break fast together tonight before the evening lecture. I have a fabulously ripe red Anjou pear in my bag just for the occasion.
I learned about the fast by following Rabbit Brant Rossen's fabulous blog, http://rabbibrant.com/
I highly recommend it. His blog has helped me keep perspective on Gaza. It also gives me hope.

Terri said...

Rabbi Walt, thanks so much for visiting my humble blog. I thank all the Rabbi's involved in bringing this action about. I do my best each month to use the fast as a vehicle to raise awareness. There's so much pain around this requiring fierce compassion from all involved. I hope this action continues to grow in numbers and brings more healing to our broken hearts. Thanks.