now is the time for change

the month of elul אלול has begun.

Bradley Burston writes:

in Israel, the future can come down to just one night

Actually, everywhere in the world our future is determined by the actions at each of the moments we live them. Nonetheless, tonight (September 3, 2011) after Shabbat in Israel: ה אלול תשע”א, people all over the country are expected to pour out in support of change. I have heard from Jay and know that he and Hila will be there.

tonight; september 3, 2011

i am also one of a million

J14 PHOTOS: largest protest in Israel’s history.

I am belatedly paying closer attention to what is happening on the streets of Israel in particular, in relation to the “j14” movement.

In addition to reading the various Web sites, I will also be paying closer attention to the #j14 hashtag. A number of Twitter users are translating Hebrew tweets, or tweeting in English:

there is always a choice

Over the years I have heard people tell me that “there is no choice but to….” However, that is not the case. We are constantly faced with forks in the road. I don’t know if I learned the phrase from Dad who would jokingly say “?א בריירע האב איך”, but I remember often saying that “life is a continual process of making one value judgement after another.”

That was the thought behind the group of American Jews who organized in 1973 [at the time Debbie and I were in our first year of our rabbinic studies in Jerusalem]… or in words my friend and colleague R. Gerald Serotta shared with me recently:

Breira was organized in the summer of 1973 as “A Call to Discussion on Israel-Diaspora Relations.” on the Upper West Side by John Ruskay and a few friends. The working committee of 10 graduate students and newly ordained Rabbi David Saperstein (whose apartment became the office briefly after it moved from the apt. I shared with Ruskay) chose the name Breira in November of 1973, following the Yom Kippur war as a conscious effort to use a Hebrew language name to demonstrate our sense of connection to Zionism and the Hebrew language and, of course, a response to Labor Party’s self-justifying usage that for Israel, Ein Breira, to whatever action they felt and feel like taking.

יש ברירה | we have choice

I received this button as a gift from Barak Berkowitz with whom I have had no contact in approximately 30 years. I did attend various Breira gatherings in Los Angeles on our return to the States, but I do not recall wearing this button.

It is always good to remember that there are choices and that if they are not obvious we need to look harder. In fact, Libbe tells of meetings she attends at which someone is often “assigned” the task of representing “the other”. This could be a point of view not held by all those present, or to inject an idea from “out of the blue” or “out of the box” so that there are always more choices than what we may initially imagine.


breira (founded in the summer of 1973)

Now is the time for turning. Here in the New York area we can feel it in the air as the end of summer approaches. The word אלול, the name for this month, has a circular and round sound to it. Perhaps we can use this time to help us re-turn and prepare to regain a balance represented by the equinox in time for תשרי. For this period I have collected a variety of materials I have online and posted them towards the top of the sidebar on the right (for ראש השנה & יום כפור). I hope that a greater turning and true change can happen in Israel and within ourselves.

Date: 1973 (or slightly later)
Size: 3.7
Pin Form: straight
Print Method: celluloid


This morning (Sept. 4), I learned, not surprisingly, that Avigail also attended.

In addition, I think it’s worthwhile adding links to the speech by Daphne Leef, as well as a video of it.

your lapel buttons

Many people have lapel buttons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jacket you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any laying around that you do not feel emotionally attached to, please let me know. I preserve these for the Jewish people. At some point they will all go to an appropriate museum. You can see all the buttons shared to date.

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