Time to Choose:
A Rabbinic Letter to Senators
John McCain and Barack Obama


We have just launched "Time to Choose," a new rabbinic sign-on letter directed to the Presidential candidates, calling on them to pledge to make resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority of their Administration.  Read text of the letter.

Please help Brit Tzedek solidify and expand our base among American Jews with the most trusted members of our community: Ask rabbis, cantors, and clerical students in your community to sign on to Brit Tzedek's new rabbinic letter at mccainobamaletter.org.  

America's leaders have traditionally turned to our community for guidance regarding Israel. Imagine the impact hundreds of rabbinic signers would have in shifting the landscape of discourse within the Jewish community. Imagine the leverage broad rabbinic support would give us with Congress and the next Administration.

See a sample message asking rabbis, cantors, and clerical students to sign on. We have 15 days until the letter closes for signatures on September 19.  Act now!

See the letter, FAQs and signers to date at mccainobamaletter.org

Selected rabbinic letter signers:

Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, Encino, CA
*Former Dean of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles and Professor Emeritus of Midrash and Related Literature

Rabbi Rachel B. Cowan, New York, NY
*Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality

Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Bel-Air, CA
*Rector and Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University, Vice-Chair of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards

Rabbi Rosalind A. Gold, Reston, VA
*Coordinator, Brickner Fellows Program of Reform Judaism's Religious Action Center

Rabbi Arthur Green, Newton, MA
*Rector of Hebrew College's Rabbinical School and Professor of Philosophy and Religion

Rabbi Miriam Jerris, Farmington Hills, MI
*President, Association of Humanistic Rabbis

Rabbi Peter Knobel, Evanston, IL
*Immediate Past President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and Rabbi of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue

Rabbi Jack L. Moline, Alexandria, VA
*Rabbi of Agudas Achim Congregation and Vice-Chair of The Interfaith Alliance, named one of Newsweek's Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America

Rabbi Toba Spitzer, West Newton, MA
*President of Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and Rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, named one of Newsweek's 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America and included in the Forward 50 list of America's most influential Jews.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Philadelphia, PA
*Director of the Shalom Center and Co-founder of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal

*For identification purposes only.


A Rabbinic Letter to Senators John McCain and Barack Obama

We, the undersigned, call on you, the Republican and Democratic nominees for the office of the President, to pledge to make resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority of your Administration.

While you come into office with a long list of problems before you, the long-simmering conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is among the most urgent. After eight years of half-hearted diplomacy, there is no time left to walk softly and hope for the best.

The consequences of failing to establish a durable peace are grim. The influence of Iran and Hezbollah would surely grow among an increasingly bitter Palestinian population, and Muslim extremists would have further excuse to do vicious battle with the West. It is difficult to calculate the damage that a downward spiral into fresh waves of violence could hold.

American Presidents traditionally look to the Jewish community for insight on Israel-related policy. As Jewish clergy, we pledge to mobilize our people behind your leadership for a mutually-acceptable, two-state solution. We pledge to support you through difficult, trying times, and to celebrate with you when the job is done. We pledge to let the American public know: An American President who dedicates himself to the establishment of a durable Israeli-Palestinian peace acts in the best interests of Israel and the United States.

* We call on you to dedicate yourself to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel early in your first term.

* We call on you to appoint, within your first 100 days in office, a high-level, highly-regarded envoy to the region, an individual who has the ear of both Israelis and Palestinians, the respect of the American people, and ready access to your Oval Office.

* We call on you to establish mechanisms of enforcement and follow-through, so that decisions made and agreements signed will be respected and brought to fruition.

The Jewish High Holy Days are a time of reflection, renewal, and action. In keeping with the message of this season, we urge you to reflect on the diplomatic negligence of the recent past and to commit yourself to effective American leadership for peace.


Sample message to ask Rabbis, Cantors, and Jewish clerical students to sign on:

Dear XXXX,

I am writing to you today to make a personal request for your involvement on an issue that I feel is critical. We have an historic opportunity to bring peace to Israel with a new president coming into office soon -- but there are many worrying signs that the opportunity to achieve a two-state solution may be fading away.

The American Jewish community has to make clear to both Presidential candidates that we stand firmly behind negotiations, and will support the new Administration fully if it takes concrete steps to achieve a mutually-acceptable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I urge you to sign on to a new rabbinic letter urging the presidential candidates to make resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority of the next administration. Support from Jewish leaders like you is crucial; please join Rabbis Rachel Cowan, Peter Knobel, Jack Moline, Toba Spitzer, and Arthur Waskow in signing on to "A Time to Choose" at mccainobamaletter.org.

Read and sign the letter at: mccainobamaletter.org. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your consideration.

L'shalom, 

 


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
info@btvshalom.org
www.btvshalom.org


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