November 20, 2012

A Prayer from the Velveteen Rabbi

If you are not familiar with The Velveteen Rabbi's blog I heartily recommend it.
Her most recent posting is well worth sharing:

Prayer for the Children of Abraham / Ibrahim

For every aspiring ballerina huddled
scared in a basement bomb shelter

    For every toddler in his mother's arms
    behind rubble of concrete and rebar

For every child who's learned to distinguish
"our" bombs from "their" bombs by sound

    For everyone wounded, cowering, frightened
    and everyone furious, planning for vengeance

For the ones who are tasked with firing shells
where there are grandmothers and infants

    For the ones who fix a rocket's parabola
    toward children on school playgrounds

For every official who sees shelling Gaza
as a matter of "cutting the grass"

    And every official who approves launching projectiles
    from behind preschools or prayer places
For every kid taught to lob a bomb with pride
And every kid sickened by explosions

    For every teenager who considers
    "martyrdom" his best hope for a future:

May the God of compassion and the God of mercy
God of justice and God of forgiveness

    God Who shaped creation in Her tender womb
    and nurses us each day with blessing

God Who suffers the anxiety and pain
of each of His unique children

    God Who yearns for us to take up
    the work of perfecting creation

God Who is reflected in those who fight
and in those who bandage the bleeding --

    May our Father, Mother, Beloved, Creator
    cradle every hurting heart in caring hands.

Soon may we hear in the hills of Judah
and the streets of Jerusalem

    in the olive groves of the West Bank
    and the apartment blocks of Gaza City

in the kibbutz fields of the Negev
and the neighborhoods of Nablus

    the voice of fighters who have traded weapons
    for books and ploughs and bread ovens

the voice of children on swings and on slides
singing nonsense songs, unafraid

    the voice of reconciliation and new beginnings
    in our day, speedily and soon.

And let us say:

The Velveteen Rabbi

November 2, 2012


I am very grateful that I live in a democracy, even with its faults, that allows us to change our government peacefully and without bloodshed if we feel change is needed.

And I am grateful that I live in a country where I can vote without fear of violence, where I can read the ballot, and where my sex does not interfere with any of those things. I will vote so that this can continue.

Ladies, I am talking to you.
Gents, and others, I love you all. But this post is directed to the women.
We join other "minority" groups once again as targets for legislation across the country designed to marginalize us and undermine the civil rights that we have fought so hard to achieve.
We have watched all the momentum gained for civil rights across the board that were gained in the 1960s and 1970s coast to a standstill in the following twenty years as the next generation was born into a much better world. We thought the job was done, that the remaining pockets of racism and sexism were just ignorant or old folks who would die out like the dinosaurs.
Look around you ladies. We have Velociraptors in the House and a T-Rex on your school board.
So I give you some inspirational reminders of days past. These women achieved suffrage for all of us, we owe them.

American Democracy only fails when we fail to participate in it. So read up on the candidates and the issues. And VOTE.

November 1, 2012

Giving Thanks

November is here!
The weather is now very conducive to hot drinks and hearty meals, fresh baked bread, and warm fires.
While part of the country is cleaning up the messes left by the latest storm, we are in the final days leading up to the national election.
One more week.
And in the past couple of years of rancor, name-calling, finger-pointing, and us-vs-them some folks have been quietly doing good things. Rich folks. Some even from that 1% we have been so angry about.

I would like to say Thank You to the people who have expressed gratitude for the financial success they have found rather than entitlement.

And Bless You to those who feel that the best way to demonstrate that gratitude is by using that success to enrich all our lives, and to help others to achieve success as well.
George Lucas just made the news with his statement that the majority of the proceeds from his sale of Lucasarts will go to charity. He is one member of a wonderful group called The Giving Pledge started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet:
The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.
Each person who chooses to pledge will make this statement publicly, along with a letter explaining their decision to pledge. At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.
The Pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.
While the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.
Thank You!