And when I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, then when?
— Rabbi Hillel
We call on Jews of conscience to honor the High Holidays by taking action in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Lebanon. At this time, our tradition asks us to reflect and atone for the individual and collective injustices we have committed or allowed to happen. We are mobilizing Jews across the U.S. to honor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur through educational, spiritual and creative actions, that challenge the violence done in our name in Palestine and Lebanon.
We raise our collective voice to condemn the destructive policies and practices of the State of Israel. Specifically, as Jews living in the United States, we call on our communities to question the effect of our government’s unconditional political and financial support of Israeli policy. This uncritical support has enabled the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people and Israel’s historic and current military aggression in the region, including the recent war in Lebanon.
Since June, the actions of the Israeli military have resulted in the deaths of over 1600 people in Lebanon, and over 200 Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. In Gaza, Israel has continued to violate the well-being and self-determination of Palestinians by sealing Gaza’s borders and destroying civilian infrastructure, leaving over 1.4 million people with little access to water, electricity, food and medicine. This crisis in Gaza is only the latest chapter in the consistent displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland that has been an inherent part of Israeli state-building. This history is an affront to the historic Jewish commitment to justice and it must be examined and questioned.
Our silence about these injustices is a dishonoring of Yom Kippur – an ancient commitment to reflecting on and taking account of our individual and collective actions. Hope for a new year of reconciliation can only be found by taking responsibility for our actions, and working for justice in Palestine and an end to Israeli aggression Lebanon.
We invite Jews of conscience to join us in honoring our tradition of self-reflection in the New Year by taking creative action in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Lebanon. We celebrate the possibility of transformation made possible through our collective accountability.