Join Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast For Gaza

The Jewish Fast for Gaza is an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, and people of conscience who have committed to undertake a monthly daytime fast in support of the following goals:

    1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;

    2. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;

    3. To call upon Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties – including Hamas – in order to end the blockade;

    4. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.

ackground:

Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being spilled (Leviticus 19:16).

As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Since Hamas’ electoral victory in January 2006, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly intolerable blockade that restricts Gaza’s ability to import food, fuel and other essential materials, and to export finished products. As a result, the Gazan economy has completely collapsed. Most of Gaza’s industrial plants have been forced to close, further contributing to already high levels of unemployment and poverty and rising levels of childhood malnutrition.

On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth, and on peace (Mishnah Avot 1:18).

From this we learn that justice, truth and peace are interdependent and irrevocably intertwined. Thus we cannot separate our call for justice in Gaza from the painful truth of this conflict and the ongoing tragedy of war in this tortured region. We condemn Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. Out of the same ethical commitments we also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government, causing many more deaths of Palestinian civilians. Since the end of Israel’s recent military campaign, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza has grown all the more dire.
The Fast:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)

In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance. In this spirit, Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

This water-only fast will take place on the third Thursday of the month, beginning on July 16, 2009, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to signing on to the statement above, participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near Eastern Refugee Aid (ANERA). This important relief campaign combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children through daily provisions of fortified milk and high energy biscuits.

Those who are unable to fast for the entire day are encouraged to engage in a partial fast or to find their own meaningful ways to observe the day. Participants may also initiate public events in different communities that will further the goals of the fast.

We invite additional rabbis to join our minyan and all people of conscience to join in the fast. To be listed as a supporter of the fast, please fill out the form below. Your email address will not be displayed on the list of supporters.

Project Coordinators:
Rabbi Brant Rosen (Evanston, IL)
Rabbi Brian Walt (West Tisbury, MA)

Ref: FAST FOR GAZA

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