June 22, 2010
Rabbis, Other Faith Leaders and Non-clergy ‘Fast for Gaza’
One day each month, members of Ta’anit Tzedek — Jewish Fast for Gaza — a self-described “ad-hoc” initiative of over 100 rabbis and other faith leaders from all over the United States, refrain from eating or drinking anything except water. They hope to raise awareness of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which they consider unsustainable, especially in light of the recent flotilla crisis.
Rabbi Steven Jacobs, rabbi emeritus of Temple Kol Tikvah in the San Fernando Valley, was one of the original “minyan” — 10 rabbis — to show support for the group. Jacobs has fasted almost every month since the group started in July 2009, despite receiving some criticism from Jews who think Israel shouldn’t be criticized.
“The fast in our tradition has a long, long history both in the community and privately for attuning yourself to be more sensitive to yourself and issues,” he said.
Members fast on the third Thursday of each month. About 1,200 non-clergy members have signed on to show support on fastforgaza.net, the group’s official Web site. The group also includes Rabbi Leonard Beerman of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles.
The next fast date will be July 15.