Detroit Jewish News: Ben on Schlep for Transit!

2012-05-featured-falik-ben.jpgAnother awesome piece on "Schlep for Transit" in the Detroit Jewish News! Check out this pitch for the Schlep for Transit from our own Ben Falik.

"Let’s talk about the bottom of your ballot. (All I will say about the top is that I am just as excited for my son to have a female president as I am for my daughter; if neither sees a white guy deliver the State of the Union until they are teenagers, it will be too soon.) But back to the bottom. As much as I believe in the representative and federalist nature of our government — electing and engaging good people to act ethically on behalf of all their constituents — we have a decisive direct democratic decision to make next month." 

Read the rest here.


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Isaiah in Detroit: "Hey, All That Are Thirsty, Come for Water"

Between logistics, music, marketing, studying, planning, writing and reflecting, I’ve spent the better part of the last few weeks in what I call a “High Holiday black hole”. Not very long before RH I peeled myself away from my desk, tried to look somewhat professional, and drove out to West Bloomfield. Rabbi Silverman had asked me to sit on a beit din, to serve as one of three judges in a conversion. I cursed her the whole way there, and when I arrived I cursed her to her face. “Seriously?? The week before Rosh Hashana?!”. She just smiled at me the knowing smile of a rabbi who has been doing this longer... I was quickly chastened of course - as soon as the process began it was clear there was no more important place for me to be. To listen to a brilliant young woman share why she is choosing our meshuga people - to listen to her share how Judaism brought her joy and connectedness and deepened her commitment to justice… what an incredible privilege. I sat outside the doors of the mikvah, the ritual bath, listening to the sounds of the newest Member of the Tribe dunking and blessing - and I was deeply honored to be present to shout mazel tov.

The mikvah is a ritual bath which marks important transitions like childbirth, menstruation cycles, and conversion, and prepares for High Holidays, or other life cycle events. The mikvah forms the ritual precursor to the central Christian ritual of baptism and Islamic ritual ablution. Archaeologists have found mikvaot dating from over 2000 years ago in Palestine-Israel and beyond.

The first time I used the Mikvah was just before my rabbinic ordination. We all sat in the courtyard just outside the doors of the bath singing for what must have been hours as each of our classmates, who we had been through so much with, took their turn to immerse. The tears came as soon as I entered the dressing room - before I entered the bath. I still remember, from the other side of the wall, the voices of my classmates singing Olam Hesed Yibaneh ya nay nay nay ya na nay nay We Will Build This World with Love....


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Detroit Jewish News: Kim on Vote YES for Transit



Detroit Jewish News published a piece by one of our own, DJJ leader Kim Siegel-Molnar, on why we should vote YES for regional transit. 

"Everyone knows Detroit is the 'Motor City' that made automotive transportation a staple method of getting around town. Unfortunately, not everyone in the Metro Detroit area has access to a vehicle. Those without a car have slim to no options for getting from point A to point B..."

Read on here! Go, Kim.

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Remembering Abraham: A Call for Jewish-Muslim Unity

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.

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A New Year for Transit - The Rosh Hashanah Imperative to Imagine

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....


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Our Schlep for Transit!

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.unspecified.jpg

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Hello from Eli!


Hey Everyone!

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.

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Connecting the Dots of the Water Crisis

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.


We the People of Detroit and community research partners present their findings
at the Damon Keith Center on August 14th, 2016.
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Tisha b'Av

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.


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"What's Jewish About Justice?"

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!

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