Posted by Rabbi John Rosove
I have attended many conferences in my life, and none is quite like the annual national conference of J Street in Washington, D.C. for thought-provoking, inspiring and informative sessions with a wide diversity of views on the issue for which J Street was created five years ago, resolving through American mediation the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all.
J Street’s principles are clear and simple, though the conflict is not: “We believe in the right of the Jewish people to a national homeland in Israel, in the Jewish and democratic values on which Israel was founded, and in the necessity of a two-state solution.”
The core of J Street’s argument is that a secure democratic Jewish state of Israel living side-by-side with an independent Palestinian state through a two-state solution is the only way Israel can remain both Jewish and democratic.
J Street represents 180,000 individuals in 50 community chapters and a college division (J Street U) that is active on more than 50 campuses.
J Street's political action committee (JStreetPAC) is the largest pro-Israel PAC in Washington, D.C. and raised $1.8 million in the last election cycle (2012) to support 71 congressional and senatorial candidates, of which 70 won their elections.
J Street expects to bring to its conference between 2500 and 3000 participants, including 650 college students.
The Conference this year will include MK Shelly Yachimovich, leader of the opposition Labor party, and other Members of the Knesset from Labor, Meretz, Yesh Atid, Hat’nuah, Likud and Shas. The list of conference speakers also includes other Israeli and Palestinian leaders, American officials, journalists, and heads of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.
Among the featured sessions are:
→ A View from the Hill: Is Congress Changing?
→ How Israel Emerged as a Partisan Wedge Issue in US Politics
→ Friends from Afar? The Impact of the Pro-Israel Establishment on Achieving Two States
→ The Future of State 194: Palestinian Politics Today
→ West Bank Settlements and the Two-State Solution: Not Too Late
→ How the Israel Conversation is Shut Down and Opened Up
→ Good Neighbors: Israel’s Role in a Transitioning Middle East
Whether you live in my city, Los Angeles, or anywhere else, J Street welcomes you to attend. See details on the conference here http://conference.jstreet.org/ and J Street’s website here www.jstreet.org.
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August 8, 2013 | 10:44 am
Posted by Rabbi John Rosove
With the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul yesterday (August 7) we count down the days to Rosh Hashanah (30) and Yom Kippur (40). During this period, t’shuvah (return to family, friends, community, Torah, God) is the spiritual and emotional per-occupation of the Jewish world. Central in this process of return is the ability to forgive others, ourselves and God.
Forgiving those who hurt us is among the most difficult emotional challenges in our lives. According to a 2001 study, Psychologist Loren Toussaint and colleagues at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, it was learned that men have a more difficult time forgiving than do women, and men have a more difficult time asking forgiveness of others than do women (LA Times, September 9, 2002).
The study upon which this article was based that appeared in an article in the Journal of Adult Development (2001) also found that those people who have forgiving personalities “have fewer psychological problems, feel more satisfied with their lives and are generally healthier than grudge holders.”
It goes without saying that unresolved anger has a negative impact on our marriages and our other relationships because anger hardens the heart and distances us from others feeding mistrust and coming in the way of intimacy.
The best antidote to anger is forgiveness, which really means letting go of what once occurred. Doing so does not require us to forget the harm that another caused us, but it does enable us to relieve ourselves of the negative burdens of the past.
I love this statement by the poet, novelist and playwrite Alden Nowlan (1933-1983), and I offer it at the beginning of this season of forgiveness, return and renewal:
“The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, s/he becomes an adolescent; the day s/he forgives them, s/he becomes an adult; the day s/he forgives him/herself, s/he becomes wise.”
August 4, 2013 | 6:48 am
Posted by Rabbi John Rosove
Right-wing extremists in the media and Congress are waging a full-scale assault on millions of poor people by refusing to raise the minimum wage (currently at $7.25/hour = $15,000 annually for full-time work) and include funds for food stamps on the Farm Bill now before Congress.
Watch John Oliver’s brilliant piece on “The Daily Show” focusing humorously – though it is no laughing matter – on the arrogance, ignorance and heartlessness of the “Fox News” crowd! http://americablog.com/2013/08/john-oliver-fast-food-workers-striking-video.html
For more information on the minimum wage, see http://action.ourfuture.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/index.sjs?action_KEY=204
It is the same people on “Fox News” and in the extremist wing of the Republican Party who want to slash billions of dollars out of the Farm Bill that would hurt 47 million food insecure Americans who depend on food stamps to feed themselves and their families. The vast majority these 47 million people are the working poor, children, seniors on fixed income, and people with disabilities.
Hubert Humphrey put it exactly right 45 years ago:
“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.”