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Rabbi Kinberg goes to Washington DC

I am beyond upset. I am devestated. I am Israeli. I love Israel. I also love Palestinians and have long believed that both peoples deserve the right to self-determination and statehood. Both people. But this war. This war is terrible. Natanyahu is terrible. Hamas is beyond words terrible.

And in the midst of it all: people are just trying to survive, do good and save lives. Palestinian and Israeli lives. The World Kitchen workers? May their memories be a blessing. Both the innocent and the guilty are being taken. This is wrong. Abraham our ancestor faught with God to not destroy the innocent with the guilty. It must stop.

I am so upset that I am doing the only thing I know to do in these situations of feeling bereft and powerless. I get active. I invest time and energy. I try. I try to do what I can to make the world a better place. Even if I am exhausted, I keep on keeping on with the activism and peace making. It is the only way I know how to live in this world.

So I am headed to Washington DC to a special Shabbaton for Rabbis sponsored by Jstreet and then after Shabbat will attend the Jstreet confernence. What is Jstreet and why is it this organization above others that I choose to invest my time and energy?

Jstreet, and this is from their own materials is:

J Street organizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans to promote US policies that embody our deeply held Jewish and democratic values and that help secure the State of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people. We believe that only a negotiated resolution agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians can meet the legitimate needs and national aspirations of both peoples.

Working in the American political system, in the Jewish community and with others with whom we share core values, we advocate for diplomacy-first American leadership and policies that advance justice, equality, peace, and democracy in Israel, in the wider region and in the United States as well.

Jstreet is pro-Israel, pro-democracy and pro-peace. They advocate for a two state solution. They are an active presence in DC and throughout thr USA as THE major progressive Jewish pro-Israel organization. I have been associated with Jstreet since its inception and have attended conferences in the past. Jstreet people are my people. I feel at ease when at Jstreet events. I can relax and be my full self: a Zionist who wants for the Palestinians what we have as a Jewish people: a national homeland.

I beleive peace is possible. In fact, I beleive it is probable. But not when bad men rule the world. Natanyahu is a bad man. A criminal. A war monger and a man who will probably be charged with war crimes. He is unfit to serve Israel. Hamas, ruled by men, is also bad. They too will be tried for war crimes. Iran, also ruled exclusively by a patriarchal system, is also so so bad. Kol Ami has organized with local Iranians who seek a change in the Iranian regime. Good people who want to be able to live in peace in their homeland. This is true of most of the world. Most people are good.

Our world permits bad people to lead. To wage war. To use force instead of negotiation and peace building to solve problems. Their time is up. No more. This must stop.

This is why I am attending this Jstreet conference. To be part of the solution. To build democracy in Israel. To learn how to lead as a progressive Zionist during this very difficult time for the Jewish people and our neighbors the Palestinians.

At the conference I will receive special training to lead "Resetitng the Table" workshops for our community and beyond. Resetting the Table is an organization training leaders to facilitate difficult conversations amoungst divided communities. It is dedicated to rebuilding and resetting American civil society. It offers new models for leadership and transformation. It models collaboration and conversation rather than force and division. I am looking to bringing my new skills back to our community and I am looking forward to hosting Potlucks for Democracy throughout the summer and fall where we will invite our neighbors to join us in deep and important community conversations on the future of our nation, our world and democracy.

My parents were peace activists. As a family we were all detained protesting for Palestinian rights in Israel. This was when I was in 8th grade. We were escorted home in a police van. Both my parents are now dead and so I need to do this work not just for myself but also for them. I need to be a peace workers in their memories. Israel at peace with her neighbors is the ULTIMATE expression of Zionism. This is what my parents taught me.

I am a fighter by nature. An activist with a hard edge. But this war is moving me. Away from protest and passionate response and towards knowing deeply that peace is a long haul and gentle process. This is work I will be doing for the rest of my life.

I am going to Washington to learn new skills and to be with my people, to rub shoulders with other leaders and activists dedicated to peace. I am upset. But I am not detered. Peace is possible, probable, attainable, necessary and the ultimate goal. And I am here to keep trying. I will not give up.

If you are interested in peace work and being a peace activist please consider attending the following events with me:

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