As I mentioned in my May Dateline article, I’m fortunate to have been invited to participate in the American Jewish World Service’s NY-area global justice fellowship. We’ve been learning about and organizing around a very powerful advocacy campaign called We Believe. In the most basic terms, We Believe affirms three things: that no one should ever be a victim of violence because of her gender; that no one should ever be a victim of violence because of his or her sexuality; and that no child should ever be forced to marry against her will.
The weeks of preparation since early January have been preparing us for two pinnacle events. The first is the AJWS global policy summit in Washington, DC, which I will attend next week (from Monday to Wednesday). This is our chance to organize and lobby elected officials in support of a proposed bi-partisan bill called IVAWA (International Violence Against Women Act). Several of you signed a petition in support of IVAWA on Purim night, and I’m happy to report that we’re bringing 15,000 signatures to Capitol Hill! You can learn more about IVAWA by clicking the link below.
And then, from June 7-16, our cohort of fellows will travel to the Dominican Republic to meet with AJWS partners–non-governmental organizations who work to protect women and LGBT people from violence and discrimination. It’s an expression of the modern understanding of tikkun olam, the mandate all Jews have to repair those parts of our world that remain broken.
In between, we will celebrate the festival of Shavuot. It’s our custom to study Torah late into the first night of the Yom Tov, which this year falls on Saturday, May 23. I’m going to be teaching about the Jewish call to action that night, and I hope you’ll join us for what I promise will be an exciting night of learning.
I’ll report to you when I get back from DC, and hope that you will join me in doing this sacred work.
Rabbi David Wise