Religion & Beliefs

Jewish Politics Beyond Israel

A few weeks ago, I took my son to play at the park, with my new friend Naomi and her daughter (who is almost exactly my son's age). At the time I had a vague sense that she worked in some capacity for … Read More

By / May 18, 2007

A few weeks ago, I took my son to play at the park, with my new friend Naomi and her daughter (who is almost exactly my son's age). At the time I had a vague sense that she worked in some capacity for a Jewish agency, but I didn't know anything about it.

While the kids played and we tried to keep them from falling to their deaths, Naomi told me a little about her job, and I thought it sounded super-cool, and when I discovered they had a blog, JSPOT, I wanted to make sure you knew about it!

 Here's a little tidbit, from an article about the Sabbath:

Observing the Sabbath is the “climax of living” because refraining from working one day a week reminds us that we are more than our job title, our incomes or other labels attached to us based on what we do. For one day a week, it dissolves the hierarchies that make some of us feel more deserving than others and others of us feel less so.

Of course, I'm not sure we all make use of the Sabbath in this way, but I love the idea of it, and think JSPOT has a lot to say!

And the blog also links this article about Shavuot and Immigration Reform.

Pretty vital issues, rooted deeply in Jewish ideas.

I find it interesting that JSPOT has taken as its mission an avoidance of conversation about Israel:

Our focus is on domestic issues only; no foreign policy, no Middle East, no Israel. We hope to direct some attention to the problems faced by those living in the United States without access to quality health care, housing, education, childcare, or a clean environment; those who work for low-wages, in unstable jobs, or are unemployed; those who struggle against discrimination and bigotry; those who are victims of violence and abuse. We hope to celebrate and scrutinize the efforts to address these problems; to offer varied perspectives and new ideas.

I know many people who feel that Israel IS the Jewish political agenda, and I think those people might take issue with JSPOT.  But I like this approach.  I feel that these issues of social justice are critical for us, as Jews, to address. And Israel tends to divide us, when we might be brought together around a topic like education of healthcare.