To be Black and Jewish after Charlottesville: A Guest Post by Lesley Williams

This is a text of a speech given today by Lesley Williams at a “Call to Renewed Action Against Racism and Neo-Fascism” held by the Resist, Reimagine, Rebuild Coalition of Chicago. Lesley spoke on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago, one of the member organizations of the coalition. I stand here today as […]

The Real Wall Problem: When Will Diaspora Jews Fight For Palestinians?

Cross-posted with The Forward. The North American Jewish establishment is furious with Israel – and has just let loose an astonishing fusillade of collective protest. The President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of an “unconscionable insult” and vowed not to be “still or silent.” The Executive Director of […]

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

In my previous post, I explored how Zionism has historically fed off of anti-Semites and anti-Semitic regimes to justify the need for a Jewish state. In this post, I’d like to discuss a phenomenon that has even more ominous resonance for the current political moment: the willingness of political Zionists, Israeli politicians and right wing […]

The Equal Opportunity Hate of White Supremacy

Amidst reports of an alarming uptick of anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats against JCCs (and an even more alarming reluctance of our new president to even admit its existence), I can’t help but think of an email exchange I had with my friend and colleague Rabbi Rebecca Lillian three years ago. Rebecca lives in Malmo, Sweden, […]

Hanukkah, Syria and the Perils of Empire

Cross-posted with Truthout It is a tragic irony that the festival of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that commemorates an ancient uprising against an oppressive Assyrian ruler, is being observed as we hear the unbearably tragic reports coming from an uprising in modern-day Syria. Though the historical contexts of these two events are centuries apart from […]

Celebrating a New Jewish Diasporism: A Sermon for Rosh Hashanah 5777

As I’m sure you know, Tzedek Chicago has received a great deal of attention – some might call it notoriety – for calling ourselves a “non-Zionist” congregation. But contrary to what our most cynical critics might say, we didn’t choose this label for the publicity. When we founded Tzedek Chicago last year, used this term […]

What is Really Behind the UC’s Statement on Anti-Semitism?

The regents of the University of California have spoken and has voted unanimously to adopt its working group’s “Principles Against Intolerance.” As I wrote last week, it is a report that dangerously conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism in ways that make the report muddled, unenforceable, and a very real threat to the free speech of pro-Palestinian […]

The “Religious Roots” of Palestinian Violence: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comment at the World Zionist Congress attributing the Final Solution to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was stupid and ignorant – and he has been justifiably ridiculed around the world for making it. But those who think these kinds of crazy comments will somehow prove his downfall should think twice. Netanyahu has long been willing […]

What Will We Make Different this Year? A Guest Sermon for Erev Yom Kippur by Jay Stanton

Here is the guest sermon that was delivered by Tzedek Chicago member Jay Stanton at our Erev Yom Kippur service last Tuesday night: Why is this night different from all other nights? I know – wrong holiday. Bear with me. Why is the Day of Atonement different from all other nights? I] Asking permission Tonight […]

Confronting the “New Campus Anti-Semitism”

Throughout the organized Jewish community, the mainstream media and academia, we’re hearing increasing talk of a sharp increase in anti-Semitism on American college campuses. In response to recent incidents at UCLA and elsewhere, one congregational rabbi from LA has warned of  “something deeper, more troubling, insidious, and pervasive…on college campuses nationwide.” Another rabbi has declared ominously, “This is […]