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Israel, Israel-Palestine

A message from Rabbi Shawn Zevit and the Mishkan Shalom Leadership, April 7, 2024:

After an agonizing six months of suffering, starting with the atrocities committed in Israel, followed by relentless destruction in Gaza, Mishkan Shalom calls on all parties for an immediate sustainable ceasefire.

It is past time to count the dead. Gaza is being demolished, and its people and culture destroyed. We are Jews with a profound love of our traditions and our people, and a profound dedication to justice born of our own history as an enslaved and slaughtered people. Now we are forced to witness grave injustices, massive killing, displacement, and an imposed deliberate famine for the entire civilian population in Gaza. We cannot turn away. We cannot stand by. 

We can and must stand on the side of all humanity and cry out for peace, now and going forward.

We call on Israel and Egypt to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza immediately from all borders without restriction.  We call on Hamas to release all the hostages taken on October 7th. We call on the international community to urgently demand an end to this violence, and to protect the sacredness of every soul, every life, in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank. All of these must happen, but first, the killing must end.

Please see as background the recent statement from HIAS, one of the most respected non-profit International Jewish Organizations Click here

Given the ever-changing situation, for more resources and places to contribute, please go to Mishkan Shalom’s Israel-Palestine Resource Document, or the Reconstructing Judaism movement's website:  Reconstructing Judaism

October 2023 Statement:

We also acknowledge the preceding decades of loss of life of Israelis and Palestinians and that violence often leads to more violence. Over two million Palestinian civilians in Gaza, have lived in oppressive conditions for years, and thousands have been killed and many more displaced. Families across Israel, in the West Bank, and Gaza are terrified and in mourning. 

We pray for a swift end to this violence and humanitarian aid corridors, and we hope that even further conflagration and suffering for Israelis and Palestinians can be prevented. Given the ever-changing situation, for more resources and places to contribute, please go to the Reconstructing Judaism movement's website:  Reconstructing Judaism and Mishkan Shalom's Collection of reflections."



Informed by our Statement of Principles, Israel-related programming at Mishkan Shalom evolves in relation to the needs and concerns of our community.

“Our need to secure Israel must not blind us to the sufferings of the Palestinians, who also have ties to the land. The perpetuation of this suffering violates the Jewish commitments to justice and compassion. Jews and Palestinians must recognize and support one another’s rights to national self-determination in the land they share and revere.” 

Our congregation has a range of opinions regarding Israel and Palestine, but we are united in standing against inhumane actions. We are also guided by the core message of Passover: liberation, freedom, ending oppression and connection to the cycles of the earth. 

We are taught, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” We live in a global world, with many “neighbors” in many places. As we do here against decisions of our own government that undermine our democracy and challenge human rights, we challenge the decisions of the Israeli government when they contravene these principles.

We also hope you all read a previous month’s Kol Shalom which featured articles by Rabbi Shawn, Gene Bishop (z"l), and Carol Towarnicky, and the progressive resource page we put together on page 7 of that issue and study from Kaplan and Reconstructing Judaism movement’s spiritual Zionism for additional perspectives.

Statements from the Reconstructionist Movement and Progressive Jewish Organizations 


2023-2024 Offering:

Mishkan Shalom, for the third  year, is one of the sponsoring Reconstructionist congregations in the series: Reconstructionists Expanding Our Conversation About Israel/Palestine.  Dates, times, and speaker bios coming soon.

Over 1500 people registered for the previous series, which has included Reconstructionist Rabbis, Palestinians Voices, and a history class taught by historian Joel Beinin. This Fall, we will be hosting Israeli and Palestinian voices.  “

The national organizing committee (Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman, Rabbi Brian Walt, Diana Ralph, Sue Lanser, Marcy Boroff, and Joel Beinin) has made the following commitment: “We will be guided by the values of justice and the dignity and equal worth of all human life, we seek to promote discussion of the histories and current conditions of Israel/Palestine that challenge the boundaries of current Reconstructionist approaches to Israel/Palestine and re-examine customary assumptions about the role of Israel in diaspora Jewish life. We oppose Israel’s domination of the Palestinian people in all its forms and hope to deepen our relations with Jews and Palestinians seeking a future of justice and equality in Israel/Palestine. We welcome those who consider themselves Zionists, non-Zionists, and anti-Zionists, and those unsure about how they define themselves even as we explore the meanings of those terms.”

The national organizing committee further states that they “are committed to conducting discussions with open hearts and minds, respectful listening, and acknowledgment of our shared commitment to the Jewish values of tzedek ve-chesed (justice and compassion) for all.”

If you have any questions, please contact  Marcy Boroff.   To register, click here: Speaker Series Registration.


This series is co-sponsored by Mishkan Shalom and the following Reconstructionist congregations: Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Dorshei Tzedek, Havurah Shalom Israel/Palestine Committee, Kadima Reconstructionist Community, and Kol Tzedek.



Previous Programs and Resources:

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 8pm " Understanding the Current Situation in Israel/ Palestine: A View from the Israeli Left" 

A conversation between: 

  • Zvi Ben-Dor Benite is professor of Chinese and Islamic History in the Department of History and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. Zvi is a scholar and a Mizrahi activist. His research centers on religions in world history and cultural exchanges across space and time. His books include Middle Eastern Jewish Thought (Brandeis, 2013) and The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History (Oxford, 2009). He serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Network Faculty Planning at NYU.
  • Karin Loevy was formerly a litigator with a leading Israeli public law firm and currently manages the JSD Program at the New York University School of Law where she is a researcher at the Institute for International Law and Justice. She is active in Academia for Equality, an organization working to promote democratization, equality and access to higher education for all communities living in Israel. Karin’s research and teaching focus on the history and theory of international law. She is the author of Emergencies in Public Law: The Legal Politics of Containment (Cambridge University Press, 2016). 
  • Tamir Sorek is Liberal Arts Professor of Middle East history at Penn State University. His interests include the politics of sport, Palestinian poetry, and collective memory. Tamir is co-editor of the new online journal Palestine/Israel Review which treats the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as a single region. He is the author of The Optimist: A Social Biography of Tawfiq Zayyad (Stanford University Press, 2020), Palestinian Commemoration in Israel: Calendar, Monuments, and Martyrs (Stanford University Press, 2015) and Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: The Integrative Enclave (Cambridge University Press 2007).


2022- Recordings from "Expanding Our Conversations About Israel-Palestine

Resources for Learning and Activism Regarding Israel and Palestine

This wide-ranging list, within the commitments of our Statement of Principles, will help us learn and engage with what is happening in North America and in the Middle East. It reflects a progressive perspective, without advocating for any particular organization. I began compiling this list as a communal resource and offer my thanks to a number of Mishkan Shalom members interested in re-energizing our Israel-Palestine engagement. With help from our members this list will grow over time. Please forward additional links to Rabbi Shawn Zevit.

To inquire about our Israel-Palestine Committee or programming please contact our committee chair Marcy Boroff.

Organizations to explore: 

  • Ameinu Center for Jewish / Arab Education in Israel
  • Combatants for Peace Combatants for Peace
  • Eco-Peace
  • Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights (Rabbi Arik Ascherman) 
  • If Not Now 
  • JStreet
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Just Vision
  • Neve Shalom/Wahat Al Salaam
  • New Israel Fund
  • Open Hillel
  • Palestinian Peace Coalition
  • Partners for Progressive Israel
  • Rabbis for Human Rights 
  • Roots/Shorashim – connected to Mishkan Shalom friend Al Abu Awad Sulha Peace Project
  • Sisters of Salaam/Shalom
  • Tikkun Magazine
  • The Parents’ Circle and American Friends of the Parent’s Circle 
  • Truah: Rabbis for Human Rights
  • Women Wage Peace (Israeli) and Women of the Sun (Palestinian)
  • Yad b'Yad Jewish/Arab/Palestinian Israeli school system
Thu, July 18 2024 12 Tammuz 5784