Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Richard Silverstein on Tikun Olam - Promoting Israeli democracy, exposing secrets of the national security state

Tikun Olam is a Mishnaic term meaning “repair [or mend] the world.”
“The day is short, the task is great, the master is insistent. It is not your duty to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it….” Pirkei Avot, 2:21
 Palestine-Israel Dove
I’ve been writing Tikun Olam, one of the earliest liberal Jewish blogs, since February, 2003.  It focuses on exposing the excesses of the Israeli national security state. I also created the Israel Palestine Forum, a discussion forum for progressives about the I-P conflict. Israel Palestine Blogs aggregates 50 peace blogs writing about the conflict. I wrote a chapter for the Independent Jewish Voices essay collection, A Time to Speak Out. I’m a regular contributor to Truthout and contributed to Haaretz, Christian Science Monitor, Jewish ForwardLos Angeles Times, Comment Is Free and Al Jazeera English. My work has also been in theSeattle Times, American Conservative Magazine, Beliefnet and Tikkun Magazine. I’ve done several segments for Al Jazeera TV’s Listening Post and Israel’s Channel 10 Tzinor Layla news program.  The NY Times featured my reporting about the Shamai Leibowitz FBI tapes on its front page... 
Unlike some religious traditions, Judaism comprehends evil as something inherently human. In the Zohar, it is this evil or impurity which causes the sacred keylim (“vessels”) to break. Performance of mitzvot (“commandments”) are the means to repair the vessels and so transmute evil into good. A Kabbalist would have no problem understanding that hatred and violence between Israels and Palestinians are evils that pollute the world. Likewise, I’d like to think such a Kabbalist might look favorably on efforts like this blog to repair this battered region with acts of gemilut chesed (“loving kindness”).
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