Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East

Grounded in Abrahamic Theology

Seeking a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians
through political advocacy

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Statement by
Rinah Rachel Galper

Good afternoon Beloved Community, I am Miriam and I would like to read the thoughts of my daughter who could not join us today, Rinah Rachel Galper, Ordained Maggie Kohenet Priestess and Spiritual Guide in the Jewish feminist Tradition.

Dear friends and beloved peace makers, For some of our faiths, today, Saturday, is a holy day for reconnecting
with all our sisters and brothers to reflect on what is true and beautiful in our faith and spiritual traditions and lives.
In this time, we move closer to the God of our understanding and our own heart through fasting, mourning, prayer,
protest, and peace making.

As a Jew and lover of peace, I am in mourning for Israel's inhumanity in Gaza and all its Occupied colonized territories, an injustice born of hatred, fear and the tortured and propagandized belief that Israel can actually build a safe homeland for the Jewish people on top of the dead bodies of children and the rubble of bombed Palestinian hospitals and homes. Israel's assault against my Palestinian brothers and sisters is a breach and a betrayal of what it means for me to be a good Jew.

We are told to love the stranger for we were once strangers. We are told never to cut down fruit trees. We are told that the world rests on deeds of loving kindness. My heart breaks to see my people, on the brink of extermination not that long ago, become a brutal oppressor. As an American, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the current carnage, because without my tax dollars funding Israel's military machine, it would be forced to make a just a just, secure and long lasting peace. It makes me sad beyond words that we cannot move with and through the tribal to embrace our universal oneness.

The Shema, one of our most sacred prayers, speaks of this universal oneness and our responsibility to make it a reality. It demands that we listen and love so that we may live out the divine promise to make heaven right here on earth, to choose life for us all. In this week's parshah, or part of Torah, we learn that Moses, we consider a prophet and liberator of the Israelites, has just ordered the extermination of all the Midianite men, women and children. Rabbi Shefa Gold reminds us that ironically, Moses married Tzipporah, a Midianite woman. She suggests that Moses' inhumanity is rooted in his fear of the stranger, desire to control others' religious faith and practice, denial of his connection to the very people he wants to exterminate. Moses uses God to fuel fear and hate and distress to justify murder and expropriating the land of others.

Moses' actions are a sobering reminder that our tribal identity cannot prevail at the expense of our common humanity. That said, what and who we deny can become our greatest teachers. In the face of our seemingly boundless capacity to dehumanize others, we can stand together and both choose and demand a better way, a more peace filled way that we cannot assure without JUSTICE. So today, I pray to Eim Kol Chai, the Mother of all Life. May She bless us and guide us in protest and pain, love and healing, put an end to all violence and restore justice speedily and in our time.

As we continue and expand our protests, vigils and political engagement, please join us next Friday when we create a powerful space, a vigil for a just and lasting peace, Friday, July 25th, in Durham after we join the protest for the International Day of Al Quds. Details will be announced on our Facebook page.


Rinah Rachel Galper