March 2018
Act Kindly (Demand Justice)
The first time I led a seder was my sophomore year in college. There were nine of us in Perkins Hall, three Jews and six Catholics. I was so proud of my charoset and matzah balls. I borrowed haggadot from Hillel and confidently led us through the readings. But when we started the part after the meal, I stopped in confusion. "Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You...for they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation?" What was this? I had never noticed it before. It made me intensely uncomfortable. How did it square away with my favorite midrash, recounted when we diminish the wine in our cups for the Ten Plagues, about the ministering angels bursting into song at the Sea of Reeds and God rebuking them, saying, "My children are dead on the shores of the Sea and you want to sing?"

Practices in this Letter
Rabbi Jonathan Slater
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith
Joshua Weisman
Amanda Silver
"Equitable Justice": Uniting Shekhinah and the Blessed Holy One
Rabbi Jonathan Slater

“Judges and officials you are to provide for yourselves, within all your gates ( she’arekha ) that YHVH your God is giving you, for your tribal districts; they are to judge the people with equitable justice ( mishpat tzedek )” (Deut. 16:18).

The Hebrew bible is filled with the call for justice, for righteousness and for equity. The terms justice ( mishpat ) and righteousness ( tzedek , or tzedakah ) are paired regularly, one term preceding the other and vice versa.

Yes, I am Mindful of Their Pain: Guided Meditation for Compassionate Social Justice Work
Rabbi Sam Feinsmith

The overwhelming nature of tikkun olam  and social justice work can make us harden our hearts to avoid feeling vulnerable, approaching our work from a place of anger, frustration, and pain can lead to burnout, exhaustion, and more suffering. In this teaching, Sam offers a meditation for approaching this work from a place of compassion towards ourselves and those who have been marginalized and harmed rather than a place of anger toward those who have done the hurting. When we ground social justice in compassion and open-heartedness, we pave the way towards work that is transformative, meaningful, and sustainable.

Jewish Mindfulness and Social Justice
Josh Weisman

What is a social justice niggun? Any niggun is a social justice niggun! What is a mindfulness niggun? Any niggun is a mindfulness niggun! Judaism, social justice, mindfulness are not separate things — they are ways we live our lives, and they can be woven together into a seamless whole.

Transformation, One Observation at a Time
Amanda Silver

When I think about mindfulness and social justice, the first thing that comes up is the quote by Gandhi:

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Implicit in Gandhi’s words is that for real change to happen, we must embody it. It’s not only what I am doing (ie campaign organizing, advocacy, etc.) but how I am doing it that matters. 

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