american jewish world

Next week, between 150 and 200 people will gather for a Passover seder at Temple Beth-El in Richmond, Va. When the traditional Passover question is posed — “Why is this night different from all other nights?” — there’s a new answer. Guests at the Seder, co-sponsored by the refugee aid agency ReEstablish Richmond, will include approximately two dozen locally resettled immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Passover, after all, is the ultimate refugee holiday. It’s about an ancient flight to freedom by Israelites who were oppressed in Egypt. And the world is currently facing an unprecedented refugee crisis, with 65.3 million refugees worldwide.

One new version of the Haggada, from the American Jewish World Service, makes a direct connection: “Around the world today, courageous people are making similar journeys — leaving behind violence, poverty and persecution and seeking security, freedom, prosperity and peace.”

Against this backdrop, a number of Jewish organizations are offering new readings and rituals to include at the festive meal known as the Seder. These additions, says Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, are in keeping with the fact that the Haggada — the text read at the Seder — has always been flexible, “less of a fixed text than a user guide to tell the story.”

Why Add A Banana To The Passover Table?

Illustration: Franziska Barczyk for NPR

If the world hears the cries of the oppressed, but does not come to their aid—it will not be enough.

If we empower others to escape violence but fail to offer them refuge—it will not be enough.

If our generosity supports the needs of today, but forsakes the needs of tomorrow—it will not be enough.

However, if we persevere until stability, peace, and justice have been attained…Dayenu! Then it will be enough. 

—  Dayenu from the American Jewish World Service Haggadah

Everyone who’s reblogged negative posts about sparkling water should donate to the American-Jewish World Service to atone for their antisemitic microaggressions

“…the most overwhelming disaster of Jewish history has befallen Jews in the form of the Hitler mass-massacres…”

Letter from Stephen Wise, President, American Jewish Congress, to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 12/02/1942

A plea for action and public support

“We are dealing with an insane man— Hitler, and the group that surrounds him represents an example of a national psychopathic case. We cannot act toward them by normal means. That is why the problem is very difficult.”—Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1942 during his meeting with American Jewish leaders

Rabbi Stephen Wise, President of the American Jewish Congress, wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt on December 2, 1942, appealing to him to publicly acknowledge that Hitler had begun the “Final Solution to the Jewish question”—the systematic slaughter all Jewish people in the lands he ruled.

Roosevelt met with Wise and other leaders on December 8th. Granting the committee one of their requests but declaring it was too early to intervene, Roosevelt offered to make a public statement if Wise and the others would compose it. Wise spent the remainder of the war trying to publicize the genocide.

via DocsTeach


In the three-part Captain America storyline from Tales of Suspense #66-68, written by Stan Lee and drawn (and thus likely cowritten) by Captain America co-creator and Jewish-American World War II veteran Jack Kirby, Captain America is brainwashed by the Red Skull into becoming a Nazi – not Hydra, an honest-to-god World War II-era Nazi – and only snaps out at the last moment. Seems worth noting given Marvel fandom’s sudden, very specifically demarcated interest in honoring Kirby’s legacy.

Ben Horowitz is a Silicon Valley tech investor who views the current fight for women as morally akin to the 19th century movement to end slavery in the United States. He’s donating the proceeds from his new book The Hard Thing about Hard Things to the American Jewish World Service to support their efforts to help women fight for their basic rights throughout the world. 

lacommunarde  asked:

I was at the Pride Parade. Congregation Beit Simchat Torah was there in the parade handing out rainbow bracelets and little cards to help Jewish LGBT teens/young adults come out to their parents. American Jewish World Service was there: they help LGBT communities around the world including Uganda overcome anti-gay laws. And there were other Jewish pro-LGBT groups there too. I cannot believe that anyone would even try to take the extreme anti-LGBT group seriously.

My friend and her wife just moved across the country because her wife got a new job. Position? Rabbi at the Central Synagogue in NYC–one of the largest and oldest congregations in North America. So a congregation with over 5,000 members hiring a lesbian rabbi apparently means nothing, but a fringe ultra-orthodox group with literally only 13 members being asshats, that’s what gets published.

Basically, the rule is that if Jews do anything positive, either individually or as a whole, it’s dismissed. However, if one Jew does something bad, they then are held up as a representation of us all.