Friday, November 04, 2011

How did the #OWS Jews promote their holiday services?

A reader ("D") has helpfully provided the language employed by their communications. Great stuff.

See it after the jump

Here is how the YK service was promoted:

"Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods. The liturgical movement must become a revolutionary movement, seeking to overthrow the forces that continue to destroy the promise, the hope, the vision." —Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

This Friday night be...gins Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. On this day, Jews around the world refrain from all physical pleasures (eating, bathing and screwing, to name a few), and devote themselves to prayer and supplication, begging the Lord forgiveness of their sins so that they may be written into the Book of Life.

But is fasting and beating our chests really the best we can do to redeem ourselves?

As lower Manhattan erupts with thousands of protesters taking a stand against economic injustice, the words of the prophet Isaiah resonate more truthfully and appropriately than ever:

"Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the fetters of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward."

Thus rather than spending the holiday safe and warm in our cozy synagogues thinking abstractly about human suffering, perhaps we should truly afflict ourselves and undertake the fast of Isaiah, by joining the demonstrators in Zuccotti Park, and holding our Yom Kippur services there amongst the oppressed, hungry, poor and naked.

Not to be cliché, but as Rabbi Hillel the Elder said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”

Join us for Kol Nidre at Occupy Wall Street this Friday night at 7PM.

And Sukkot:

The eight-day festival of Sukkot reminds us of the abundance we have, and how very fragile that abundance is. The sukkah that we build, reminiscent of the fragile huts built in the days the Israelites spent wandering through the desert, represents shelter in a time of crisis, “the halfway point between slavery and liberation.” We are again at a halfway point. The movement has begun – will it take hold?

Join us as we spend the 8 days of Sukkot in a sukkah at Occupy Wall Street. This space will not only serve as a metaphor for the shelter of the Israelites. It will be a space to challenge economic injustice, racism, oppression, displacement, and exploitation that so many in our country and world face. Throughout the 8 day-festival we will offer trainings, workshops, and teachings; our sukkah will become part of Occupy Wall Street, a site of movement-building— shelter to demand that our nation's abundance be reclaimed and fairly distributed among the 99%!

And Simchat Torah:

Join us as well celebrate the core document of the Jewish tradition — the Torah — which compels us to pursue peace, justice and righteousness, to recognize the divine in each person, and to respect and uphold the dignity of every living being.

And finally, a Shabbat potluck this coming Friday night:

Shabbat is a reflection of a redeemed world – a taste of the World to Come. In that time, writes the rabbinic sage Rambam, humanity will be free "without anyone to oppress or disturb them. In that era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things wi...ll flow in abundance and all delights will be as freely available as dust."

With the aspiration in mind of an abundant world for everyone, this weekend is AJWS's Global Hunger Shabbat – "a weekend of nationwide solidarity, learning and reflection around food justice. The learning and exploring of Global Hunger Shabbat is designed as a springboard into meaningful action over the following weeks and months, as we mobilize the American Jewish community in the fight for food justice."

The issue of food justice is deeply entwined with the issue of economic justice being pursued by the protesters at Occupy Wall Street and at occupations around the nation and the world. Learn more about the Global Hunger Shabbat here – – and consider printing some of the resources to read and share with others over dinner.

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