Jewish Social Action Now
The current issue of PresenTense Magazine looks at Jewish social action around the world. Here are some highlights:
Over the last generation, Israel – founded as a refuge for the Jewish people – has also served as a haven for thousands of Sudanese fleeing the conflict in Sudan. After spending years in Egypt, further turmoil led the Sudanese to cross the Sinai desert by foot into Israel – a journey that brings visions of the biblical exodus. Yet their lives have not become easier since their arrival, due in part to the fact that Sudan and Israel are technically enemy states. Many were initially detained, and some were returned to Egypt and Sudan. Even those allowed to remain have not had an easy experience. Read the complete article.
New technology has made the world a much smaller, more accessible place, allowing humans to see with real accuracy the lives of those living in distant lands. Despite the huge leaps of mankind, the unfortunate reality is that some stereotypes about the developing world are proving difficult to shake off. With news articles focusing on war and poverty as well as endless “sponsor a child” advertisements dominating the airwaves, how is the next generation supposed to engage – both here and in the developing world – with a more positive, collaborative approach to development? Read the complete article.
After five years of organizing clergy around social justice issues in the Bronx, I headed to India intensely curious. Would the grassroots leaders that the American Jewish World Service Volunteer Corps matched me with find my practice of community organizing relevant? Would I be able to extract lessons from the Indian social movements that had long inspired me? After four months of teaching and learning from Indian activists, I was amazed by the fruitfulness of our exchange. I discovered that many Indian organizing practices can nurture the Jewish community’s swelling interest in organizing. Read the complete article.
From the Middle East to Eastern Europe to the Americas, Jews are known for placing a very high premium on food. And even if jokes about Jewish mothers and their tendency to ply their children (and everyone else in the vicinity) with an unending supply of food are a bit overblown, the stereotype of the food-loving Jew exists for a reason. It should come as no surprise that food is central to a people whose religion includes ritual meals on the first two nights of Passover, a Purim feast, the prescribed diet of kashrut, and whose sacred text tells the famous story of a hungry first-born son who sells his birthright to his younger brother – for a bowl of soup. Read the complete article.
The above artwork is by Elke Reva Sudin, an illustrator and contemporary Jewish art advocate based in Brooklyn, New York. You can view her work on ElkeRevaSudin.com and follow her Jewish art news and resources site at JewishArtNow.com.
You can read more from the PresenTense social action issue here.