In New York City, the place I call home, activism and housing are virtually synonymous. It’s not just that our city has a historic tradition of rent strikes and never tore down its public housing. It’s that housing permeates nearly all of our other social movements too.
The world needs awake, alive, engaged people whose work to mend the world is grounded in and inspired by love. The world needs people who somehow keep their hearts open and pliable while they look unflinchingly at our broken systems and work to change them.
Sounds nice, I know. Actually doing it for any length of time, though, is damn hard.
Feel like you’re doing it wrong? Or maybe you’re just ready to make this Hanukkah even better? Let us help. Check out ZEEK’s guide to Hanukkah. We’ve got ideas to light up the next eight nights — whatever kind of Jew-ish you are, from A(ctions) to Z(EEK).
This is the second installment of Rosebud Ben-Oni’s series of poet-poet conversations in ZEEK, featuring poets Erika Meitner, Eduardo Gabrieloff, Hila Ratzabi, Jason Schneiderman and Emily Jaeger. Future installments include discussions about whiteness and privilege, humor, and more.
It’s hard not to agree with Jon Stewart’s now-viral, four-letter-word reaction to a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. In fact, anything less than outrage feels unacceptable.
Here is one of the four official “values” of the New York Police Department:
Value human life, respect the dignity of each individual and render our services with courtesy and civility.
Here is the official mission of the New York Police Department.
The MISSION of the New York City Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community and in accordance with constitutional rights to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment.
Right now, the NYPD is failing its mission. READ MORE
As a founding member of the political collective that produced the image most closely associated with AIDS activism, Silence=Death, I’m frequently asked to speak about this poster. Over the decades people have thanked me for it, telling me the poster was the rallying cry that drew them to political activism.
I have a slightly different take on that. In essence and intention, the political poster is a public thing. It comes to life in the public sphere, and is academic outside of it. Individuals design it, or agencies or governments, but it belongs to those who respond to its call.
Fathers, mothers, children, raising barricades,
Workers’ battalions taking to the streets.
Father left home early, to the factory gone,
Won’t be coming home to us any time too soon.
The kids know well the reason why father won’t return,
He’s taken to the streets today and brought along his gun.
Mother too is in the street, off to sell some apples,
Leaving orphaned in the kitchen all the pots and dishes.
Don’t expect to eat, says Khanele to the boys,
Because Mother has gone to help Father…
— “Barikadn,” Yiddish song, written by Shmerke Kaczerginski, 1926
At this moment of national confrontation, as we prepare our Thanksgiving feasts, we ask ourselves: who do we relate to? Not whose side do we take, for there is humanity, divinity, in all people — even in the evil Laban. No, the question is a deep question of identity, of Jewish identity.
The past three months have challenged us to “walk the walk” as a congregation. As a community that embraces Jews of color, and has always been committed to challenging the injustices of racism in St. Louis, we could not stand idly by as Michael Brown’s death touched a nerve throughout the nation, and forced St. Louis to confront the reality that there are two Fergusons, and two Americas.
As the story unfolds, it is clear that we cannot let the narrative be reduced to an oversimplified battle between police and protestors.
“Give me ten emesdike yiddin and I will change the world.”: A response to Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen’s “The Shrinking Jewish Middle.”
Any middle only exists in relation to the margins that frame it. When we contemplate counting numbers to define the health of the Jewish community, the time has come to consider new criteria.
This Chanukah, ZEEK will run an intergenerational series celebrating resistance and the future of the Jewish left in the United States.
Send original pitches, personal essays, reported articles, chatty opinion pieces, feature stories, and creative nonfiction to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “RESISTANCE” in the subject line. Deadline for pitches is November 26.
One of the sound bites we’ve suddenly started hearing a lot since Election Day is about how politicians will start working together to address our nation’s problems.
The word mentioned the most? Compromise.
Leave compromising to the politicians. Social justice advocates must stand firm when it comes to positions on social justice issues and Jewish values.
This is the first installment of Rosebud Ben-Oni’s series of poet-poet conversations in ZEEK about Jewish identity, poetry, and more, featuring poets Erika Meitner, Eduardo Gabrieloff, Hila Ratzabi, Jason Schneiderman and Emily Jaeger. Future installments include discussions about mapping rituals, authenticity, whiteness, and privilege, shifting Jewish identity and humor. We start, here, with this roundtable on location and topography.
Midway through the day of the Morning After, it’s sinking in that next year in the United States of America, there will much more red from sea to shining sea.
Instead of focusing on how the current divide between right and left (or right and middle, etc.), it’s worth appreciating how the Other Great Divide played out in the polls: the economic divide. And, just as important, to recalibrate and re-energize. With the gulf between rich and poor greater than it has been since 1929, the most basic of economic justice measures found its way onto ballots in the form of the minimum wage.
No matter what the pundits and polls say, there is often a moment early on during marathon Election Night coverage when those of us glued to the TV and Twitter decide it may not be so bad after all –- that surge of protective optimism that keeps you up way too late. For me, that optimism came from reports of higher-than-usual-midterm-election turnout.
Midterm elections are just days away. And like many in my community, I’m doing my part to get out the vote. We’re making calls, knocking on doors, and — because Minnesotans can register to vote on Election Day — we’ll keep going until the polls close.
In the 10 years I’ve worked in Jewish social justice, I’ve knocked on a lot of doors. I’ve had people yell at me, hug me, offer me a snack, and slam the door in my face.
The hardest response to take, though, is usually, “I can’t vote.”
In this new ZEEK series, Tamara Mann talks to working artists about how Judaism, faith, religious ideas, or even a kind of religious antagonism relates to their studio practice.
As I chanted along with the leaders, “We young, we strong, we marching all night long,” I remembered that remembering is holy, but only if the remembering leads us to a better reality….. And in that moment I knew that the fight will take a long time, but that it is built on love, and that is why it will win.
Earlier this week, the Slingshot Fund released its annual Slingshot Guide, a “resource for Jewish innovation.” We reached out to Will Schneider, executive director of Slingshot, to talk about how the Jewish innovation arena has evolved in the 10 years since Slingshot began creating its guides — and where we still need to see change, especially when it comes to philanthropy and engaging Jews in social justice.
You could be forgiven if you perused the docket for the 2014-15 US Supreme Court term and yawned. To be sure, there are important cases, but the lineup so far lacks the hot-button attention-grabbers, with issues like marriage equality, abortion rights, health care, and voting rights largely absent from the list. Even so, it’s worth paying attention this term. Here’s why.
A Catholic woman’s ancient Jewish blood calls to her. Her spiritual story, so different than my own, calls to me, forcing me to think more deeply about my own Jewish journey. My path may never lead to temple or God, but it’s definitely Jewish and definitely leading somewhere.
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