With African drumming and a chorus of shofars, more than 2,000 people in purple T-shirts reading “I walk to tip the scales” gathered in Pan Pacific Park on April 14 to call attention to global injustice.
There was a moment that took place last week in this community that, if you didn’t witness it, you need to hear about it.
When Cain killed Abel, the Bible recorded it as the first murder in history. But the rabbis commented, this is more than murder. Abel’s murder opened the jaws of genocide. For when Cain killed Abel, it wasn’t Abel alone that died.
With rockets raining down on Israel, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Our families, our friends, our compatriots are under attack, and our hearts ache for them.
A week ago last Monday, my daughter brought her laptop to the dinner table and insisted, “We have to watch this.” This never happens in our house. We don’t watch TV at dinner, nor does my very independent 16-year-old tend to share.
Jacob Tragarz didn’t take the easy route when it came to his mitzvah project — he went big. The 12-year-old student decided to raise awareness about the suffering and violence in Darfur by organizing an assembly for nearly 700 of his peers at Marshall Fundamental High School, a public school in Pasadena.
On the morning of April 10, Janice Kamenir-Reznik will march up Topanga Canyon Boulevard holding up signs and a megaphone to lead thousands of people in chants to raise awareness of the ongoing genocides in Sudan and Congo. And while she probably won’t show it that morning, cheerleading is Kamenir-Reznik’s least favorite part of her job as co-founder and president of Jewish World Watch.
David Taylor doesn’t see the point in getting emotional about the evils across the globe.
Hours after an international court issued a warrant for his arrest, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir kicked humanitarian aid groups out of his country. Nevertheless, Jewish activists who backed the indictment are standing behind their decision.
For every 100,000 babies born, 6,500 mothers die in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan due to unavailable or inadequate medical care. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violent conflicts over control of its rich mineral deposits have killed more people than the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur combined.
" . . . It is the grassroots work that will, more likely than not, serve as the impetus for and foundation of whatever action our government takes in response to genocides like the one in Darfur . . ."
A day before the scheduled opening ceremonies in Beijing, Jewish World Watch (JWW) hosted at the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles
More than 1,400 people marched up Vanowen Street and across Victory Boulevard in West Hills last Sunday to raise funds and awareness about the genocide in Darfur. The second annual three-mile Walk for Darfur raised more than $35,000 for Jewish World Watch's work in refugee support, political advocacy and education.
In Washington and abroad, longstanding Jewish organizations added their voices of protest against the genocide in Darfur.
But guess what: It's not enough.
The simplest innovations sometimes lead to the greatest rewards, as Rachel Andres learned this week when she was named the 2008 recipient of the $100,000 Charles Bronfman Prize. The annual prize is awarded to a person or team under 50 years of age, whose Jewish values spark humanitarian efforts that contribute to the betterment of the world. In Andres' case, her work gives succor to some of the most helpless and brutalized people in the world, the 10,000 refugee families, mostly fatherless, who have escaped the massacres in Darfur.
Email excerpts from Janice Kamenir-Reznik and Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug of Jewish World Watch as they travel to Chad to assess the success of a program to provide refugees from Darfur with solar cookers.
Saturday, Oct. 13, three leaders of Jewish World Watch flew from Los Angeles to Africa for a two-week trip, with their ultimate destination the Sudanese eastern border refugee camps, Iridimi and Touloum in Chad. Jewish World Watch's Solar Cooker Project, led by Board President Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Executive Director Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug and project leader Rachel Andres, has raised $850,000 to date, to provide self-sufficient and easy-to-use cookers to women in the camps so they don't have to put themselves in grave danger of rape or murder when they leave the camps to collect firewood.The Jewish Journal invited the three travelers to record diaries while on their journey, the first entry of which, written by Kamenir-Reznik, an attorney, longtime activist and Jewish leader, we reprint here. It was written four days before departure.
Letters to the editor
Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug has been named executive director of Jewish World Watch (JWW).
As of now, the 3-year-old Darfur genocide is no longer unknown, but its horrors continue. Currently spreading from the Sudan to neighboring Chad, it has claimed 400,000 civilian dead and 4 million refugees, accompanied by mass rapes of women and starvation among children.
Shabbat dinner at the home of two doctors, north of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica: There's a terrific chicken with lemons and green olives, the lemons plucked from a tree in the yard. There's crisp roasted potatoes, salad and a 1998 Cabernet. The table is set with silver candelabras and a sterling silver Kiddush fountain funnels sweet wine from one large cup into several smaller clones. My cup runneth over into a lot of little cups.
On Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) gave a sermon on the tragedy of Sudan and what the Jewish community needs to do about it.
His proposed remedy: Start the Jewish World Watch (JWW), a commission of caring men and women that will monitor atrocities around the world by organizing educational evenings with international relations experts and raise money to help societies being ravaged by genocide.