According to the Jewish tradition, we are in a sacred time right now. As I write this, we are 15 days into the month of Elul -- halfway through the month that precedes the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two of the holiest days of our festival calendar. As all New Year festivals do, these holidays offer us great opportunity for reflection upon our past year’s troubles and triumphs.Read more
The following is a shortened version of a sermon delivered by Rabbi Alana Alpert at Congregation T'chiyah.
“A talmid haham (Torah scholar) is not allowed to live in a city that does not have these 10 things: a beit din (law court) [..]; a tzedakah fund [..]; a synagogue; a bath house; a bathroom; a doctor; a craftsperson; a blood-letter; a butcher; and a teacher of children”. (Sanhedrin 17b)
Our tradition is unequivocal: there is no meaningful Jewish life alone. And it’s not enough to have a few buddies - there must be critical mass, and that critical mass needs to be organized.
So much for all my fantasies about trekking off to a mountainside to live my days alone in nature. As Genesis tells us “It is not good for humans to be alone” , or the more militant Talmudic creed "oh chevruta oh mituta" - “Give me companionship or give me death”. No serious Jewish life is possible outside of community. And not just any community - holistic community. Community that takes responsibility for the varied needs of its members.
Law court, the tzedakah fund, synagogue, bath, toilet, doctor craftsperson, bloodletter, butcher and teacher -- are those things enough? Rabbi Brad Artson points out that other necessary services such as defense, roads and bridges would certainly be on the list were those not covered by the imperial power during Talmudic days. What other kinds of infrastructure, goods and services are sine que non - that without which Jewish life is not possible? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for community?
You may remember the name James Robertson....
This past Tuesday, twenty-five amazing DJJ leaders met together and began initiating action towards passing the Regional Master Transit Plan. If passed, a proposal on the November ballot would provide all of Southeast Michigan - including Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties - the necessary funding to build a more viable transit system, which would connect communities, create and sustain jobs, and increase independence for seniors and folks with disabilities.Read more
My name is Eli and I am the new DJJ intern. I could not be more excited to step into this amazing work alongside you all and wanted to offer up a bit about myself to kick off my introduction to the community.Read more
Sunday, August 14, 2016, researchers, water activists, community organizations, students, and community supporters from Detroit to Flint gathered in the Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights to welcome the release of We the People of Detroit’s first edition of Mapping the Water Crisis. The publication is the result of a concerted effort, led by We the People’s Community Research Collective, to document the layered and compounding health and social impacts of Emergency Management, neoliberal austerity measures, and systemic racism, as seen through the lens of the water crisis.
Like all Jewish Holydays, Tisha b'Av's potency is not in some event that happened a long time ago and in a land far away. It is in highlighting something that is (in this case, painfully) part of the human experience and happening in the present time.
At a DJJ Leaders Picnic last month, Organizing Team Co-Chair Hannah proposed a breakout discussion with the prompt "What's Jewish about Justice?" If you're wondering the same thing, we've included some stellar insights from our conversation here!Read more
On Thursday, July 14, an event at the Arab American National Museum of Dearborn educating about water injustice in Detroit boasted a full house. In “Artists Speak: Water is Life,” local artists and activists presented their work and participated in a panel discussion moderated by Martina Guzman about water as a basic but often denied human right, sharing stories, visual art, poetry, and research.Read more
Dr. Joy Ladin's return to Yeshiva University as a woman - after receiving tenure as a man - made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Detroit Jews for Justice partnered with Wayne State University’s Judaic Studies Center to bring Joy Ladin to Ferndale’s Local Kitchen on June 16th, 2016.Read more
We wanted to share and echo this thoughtful statement from our friends at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice in NYC. We join them in mourning the tragic events of the past week - and all the lives lost to racialized violence every year.Read more