Brit Tzedek v'Shalom
Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
Town Hall Meetings Transcripts
A talk by Brit Tzedek Board Member Danielle Luttenberg to Boston Chapter in Brookline, MA, in November 2002
I serve with Marcia on the executive committee and I'm also a member of this congregation, Temple Beth Zion. And I want to tell you why I joined Brit Tzedek.
I found out about Brit Tzedek last April. I was very much looking for a way to be involved in this issue, coming from a very Jewish place. I am an observant Jew and an active member of this community and I'm also very strongly connected to Israel. Much of my family-my in-laws-live there, having immigrated there from the Soviet Union, and I have other family and friends there. I wanted to find a way that I could do this kind of work and encourage what I believe is a really important and just peace, in a way that would also help me support the State of Israel.
We hear a lot these days, and understandably, as Marcia tells us, we hear a lot about supporting Israel. Israelis really need us now. Not only do they need our dollars, as their economy is hurting, but they need us to visit (I'll be there in March) and they need to know, most importantly, what they don't have, and we have the potential to give them: a sense of hope.
People are terrified, as Marcia said. The rabbi of this congregation came back last week, from Israel. She went into a store and was talking to an artist, who asked, "So why are you here?" When she replied, "I'm here to be with you," the woman started crying, and asked, "Do they still remember us? Do they care what's going on?"
Well, I really believe that supporting peace in Israel means supporting an alternative vision outside the extremes offered by Hamas and Sharon. We can help Israelis feel our support and show them how we can join religious and secular Jews together. I am really proud that I can do this kind of work in Brit Tzedek as an identifying religious Jew and offer support to Israel by working with secular Jews as well. And that kind of pluralism is something that I don't see unfortunately, coming from anywhere else. So I think that's another way that we can support Israel, by helping to present this vision.
I do encourage you to join; as Marcia said, it's an important political act, it's also an important act of solidarity with Israelis. I'm looking forward to going back to Israel in March and saying to my relatives (I told them about this organization), "Yes, there are tens of thousands of American Jews who believe in this, and who support this, and are with you, and who really see a way out of this."