Guest post from Lawrence Bush:

This Sunday, Jewish Currents, The Workmen’s Circle and The Shalom Center are cosponsoring “Jews Uniting to End the War and Heal America,” a day-long conference featuring a remarkable list of speakers and representation from a broad, liberal Jewish spectrum.

Central Synagogue, 123 East 55th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), NYC, 9:30-5:15 (registration pens at 8:30)

Room is limited; preregistration is recommended! A full list of speakers, including Jewschool Founder Daniel Sieradsky, can be found at http://www.circle.org/jewsuniting/.

If we think of each human life as an entire world, as the Jewish tradition urges us to do, then the war in Iraq is a black hole swallowing galaxies. Yes, the war has moved to the backburner of public consciousness because of all the other ways in which our country is suffering from the radically ideological, and radically incompetent, Bush government. Nevertheless, ending the Iraq war and reckoning with the damages it has caused is a critical foundationstone of the “change” that Barack Obama urged throughout his campaign. Few public voices are saying so, however, and few voices are challenging the “preemptive war” doctrine or other military policies that have held sway since 9/11.

Seventy-eight percent of American Jews voted for Obama, despite all the predictions of Jewish liberal “slippage” and all of the lies and rumor-mongering that tried to provoke that slippage. Now is the time for the Jewish community to follow up its vote by breaking its silence about this war. One key purpose of the conference is to explore the complex reasons for that silence and finally release our community from its grip. We have weighed and largely withheld our words for more than five years; it’s time, now, to lift our voices and direct our resources towards the healing of America.


Here’s the schedule:

ORGANIZING FOR ACTION
Sunday, November 23, 2008 at Central Synagogue
123 East 55th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, NYC

8:30AM Registration opens for the day / Breakfast available

9:30AM Welcoming/opening remarks

  • Stacey Bosworth, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, The Shalom Center and Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives
  • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, poet and scholar

9:40AM-10:45AM Opening Plenary: Why the Jewish Community Must Take Vigorous Action to End the War and Heal America

  • Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman, author, attorney
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Ann Toback, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center

11:00AM-12:15PM 4 Concurrent Morning Sessions

A. Impacts of Iraq war and peace on the broader Middle East (from Iran to Egypt, and everything in between)

  • Moderator: TBA
  • Diane Balser, Brit Tzedek V’Shalom
  • Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street
  • Lilly Rivlin, Meretz USA
  • MJ Rosenberg, Israel Policy Forum

B. Impacts of the Iraq war on human rights and civil liberties in the US

  • Moderator: Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, former Congresswoman, author and attorney
  • Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights

C. Oil, war and climate crisis

  • Moderator: Marc Sussman, The Climate Project/Air America
  • Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network
  • Emmaia Gelman, Center for Working Families
  • Steve Kretzmann, Oil Change International
  • Charles Komanoff, Carbon Tax Center

D. Healing veterans, their families and the families of the war dead

  • Moderator: Myriam Miedzian, author “Boys Will Be Boys: Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence”
  • Jan Barry, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War
  • Penny Coleman, author “Flashback: Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Suicide and the Costs of War”
  • Sue Niederer, Goldstar Families for Peace

12:15-12:45PM Lunch break—no formal sessions at this time

12:25-12:35 Optional Film Screenings “Soldiers of Conscience” and “The End of America”

12:40-12:45PM Musical Performance

  • Adrienne Cooper, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Cantor Jonathan Gordon, Woodlands Community Temple

12:45PM-1:05PM Afternoon Keynote Remarks/An Insider’s View from the Hill

  • Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
  • Introduction: Marty Schwartz, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring

1:05-1:30PM Views to the Hill and Beyond

  • Introduction: Rokhl Kafrissen, Jewish Currents
  • Leslie Cagan, United for Peace and Justice
  • Jeremy Ben-Ami, JStreet

1:30-2:45PM Afternoon Plenary: Confronting the War in the Jewish Community at this Historic Moment of Opportunity

  • Moderator: Lawrence Bush, Jewish Currents
  • Rabbi Marla Feldman, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Peter Knobel, Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Sammie Moshenberg, National Council of Jewish Women
  • Rabbi Arthur Waskow, The Shalom Center

3:00-4:15PM 4 Concurrent Afternoon Sessions

A. Domestic economic consequences of the war and peace

  • Moderator: Gary Ferdman, Common Cause
  • Bill Lipton, Working Families Party
  • Liza Featherstone, journalist and contributing editor to The Nation
  • Bill Tabb, Queens College

B. Jewish values, texts, and organizing with rabbis and synagogues

  • Moderator: Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, The Shalom Center and Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives
  • Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Temple University
  • Rabbi Or Rose, Hebrew College
  • Rabbi David Shneyer, Am Kolel

C. Building a Jewish anti-war activist network

  • Moderator: Marty Schwartz, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Jeffrey Dekro, The Shalom Center and founder of The Shefa Fund
  • Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation/Olive Branch Interfaith Partners for Peace
  • April Rosenblum, author “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere” and contributor to “Righteous Indignation”
  • Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, Hillels of Westchester
  • Tammy Shapiro, Union of Progressive Zionists
  • Dara Silverman, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

D. The Media & Changing Jewish Public Opinion

  • Moderator and respondent: Esther Kaplan, The Nation Institute
  • Jeff Cohen, Park Center for Independent Media
  • Dan Sieradski, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

4:30-5:15PM Closing Keynote Remarks/Close of the Day

  • Introduction: Adrienne Cooper, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Keynote: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
  • Robert Kaplan, Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring
  • Jeffrey Dekro, The Shalom Center

5:15-6:00PM Musical Performance

  • Basya Schecter and Pharoah’s Daughter

5:30-5:40PM Optional Film Screenings “Soldiers of Conscience” and “The End of America”

6:00PM Close of the day