An Invitation from Rabbi Balfour Brickner:

Dear Friends of Brit Tzedek,

Last February in New York, I was pleased to offer the opening remarks at Brit Tzedek v'Shalom's Third National Conference, From Gaza to Negotiations: The Role of American Jews. The conference came only a few days after the newly elected Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, declared that the war between the Israelis and Palestinians was "effectively over." It was an emotional moment in which to be meeting with members of the American Jewish peace camp. "I want to believe that change is in the air," I said that evening.

The well-organized conference was an opportunity to focus on the prospects of Mid-East peace - a particularly powerful topic, given the pivotal moment in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at which we now stand. I was impressed by the intensity of those present and pleased to see so many young adults. But above all, I appreciated the forum created by the conference for the serious consideration of the issues at hand. The goal of increasing dialogue and discussion in the American Jewish community about the conflict is a driving force behind Brit Tzedek's grassroots work and I believe, one of the most valuable contributions the organization can make.

One thing was clear to all attending. The occupation and resulting violence must come to an end. Its continuation is, in every way, counterproductive.

This emerging Israeli-Palestinian relationship is the best hope we have for peace in the region. It really deserves the full support of Jews throughout the world. Those of us who support a negotiated two-state resolution to the conflict are the ones who, in fact, have Israel's best interest at heart. Israel will not be secure, until it has achieved a secure peace. Please join Brit Tzedek.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom is an organization that understands, supports and advocates for this goal. It needs and merits our whole-hearted backing. Though it is a young organization, Brit Tzedek's chapters throughout the country are already making their presence well felt and their voices heard.

With renewed hope and warm greetings, I remain.


Balfour Brickner
Senior Rabbi Emeritus
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206

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