Hanooka Book: All of Us in the Light
Now is a key moment to choose the meaning of our heritage: Who are we? Stalkers of hatred and war or pursuers of dignity, peace and equity for all? Who will we become in the face of injustice? Wielders of suffering & violence or fierce devotees of revolutionary nonviolence?
My Hanooka Book renews traditional Jewish dedication to revolutionary nonviolence. The book rejects Macabean warrior narratives as the path to safety and lifts up 'soul force’ as a prevailing energy that brings justice, healing and joy.
This Hanooka, kindle flames each night that illuminate beautiful resistance and peacemaking from the torah of nonviolence.
You’ll receive 45 hand-drawn pages filled with stories, games, songs and blessings from global Jewish folklore and R. Lynn’s pilgrimage journeys. Enjoy colorful illustrations and a unique Shomeret Shalom perspective forged over a lifetime of engagement on the front lines of activism for a just world.
For the sake of our children: A Monthly reflection on PalestineGaza City, 2001.
A elder Palestinian woman stands on a chair in her tiny living room kitchen in Gaza City, raises a pointed finger and tells us about her experience of the Nakba of 1948. “We fled against our will. Everything was ripped away from our hands. We left everything behind. Most of you can’t know what that feels like, everything ripped away. Then, during the Intifada, Yitzhak Rabin told Israeli soldiers to break our children’s bones.” Tired from the emotion, she sits down and tells us what her life is like, and serves us tea.
Gaza 2023. I pray the woman who hosted us in 2001 is not living through the current nakba, a catastrophe more terrible than ever before. Families flee the bombs but there is no safe place. People wait for death. Refugees robbed of their last scrap of shelter, hold children covered in ash as they run to no where. No manger awaits them, no resting place relieves their sorrow, no red sea opens, no miracle angel appears before them. Death rules their kingdom, raining fire, scorching skin, breaking bones, consuming innocent life without mercy.
In solidarity with the people of Gaza, the people of Bethlehem cancelled their public ceremonies around the Christmas Tree in Manger Square. They will neither turn on the lights of the tree, nor host posadas on Star Street. Christmas is all about peace on earth and good will to humanity. In the town of Bethlehem, Palestinians who safeguard Sheppard’s field, the birth of a child represents hope for the world, accompanied by a message of nonviolence as the divine hope for humanity.
In Jewish tradition, the people are given torah after they pledge to teach their children about the Way of Peace. In Islam, each child is a gift from Allah and there is a duty to protect them from harm. If we don’t fiercely protect children across all bars, walls and borders with the instruments of peace, we have lost our religious purpose. Now is the time to grasp even more tightly to revolutionary nonviolence and the power of collective nonviolent action to usher in a time of permanent ceasefire and peace.
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Storyteller Legacies: The Goddess’s Descent
Tevet is the season of winter in the northern hemisphere and stories about the journey of the goddess to the underworld. The Mesopotamian legend about Goddess Inana is the oldest written version of this tale. Inana puts her ear to the ground to discern the wisdom of the earth and descends into the netherworld to see what lies below. Perhaps she hears the cries of her sibling beneath her feet.
The journey below is not an easy one. At each of the seven gates that lead to the nether world, Inana must surrender one more item of her seven pieces of regalia: headdress, necklace, breast plate, bracelets, sash, lower garment, and foot wear, until she is standing naked before her suffering sister, Ereshkigal who has been raped by the Bull of Heaven. Eventually, Inana is able to return to the realm of life by wielding the power of empathy she offers her suffering sibling.
From one view, the layers of regalia that Inana removes in her descent to the truth symbolizes the layers of denial we have to shed in order to stand before the truth of Palestinian suffering. What pieces of cherished truth prevent us from full empathy with the Palestinian tragedy? What fear do we hold that prevents us from fulling understanding the plight of our siblings. Just as we ask others, so to we must shed the armor that prevents us from choosing love over fear.
When we act together to prevent and dismantle harm, a return to life is possible. As we continue to inhabit the chaos of militarism, Inana’s story teaches us that healing depends upon our choice to put our ear to the ground, witness the truth telling of womyn and children on the front lines of injustice and war, gather our courage and determination in order to move together in the actions we take to end the culture of war. Movement toward life depends on our empathy with the life of every single person across all bars, walls and borders quickly in our day.
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