Kolot Chayeinu at Occupy Wall Street
Rabbi Lippmann & Kolot Chayeinu at the Occupy Judaism Sukkah, Friday Morning, Oct. 14
Rabbi Lippmann speaks at the Occupy Judaism Sukkah, Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011:
- How to Help, from Occupy Faith NYC
- Faith Leaders Statement of Support from the Faith Community, signed by Rabbi Lippmann
- The Rabbi's Blog: Report From the Field: Occupy Wall Street
- Facebook Photo Album: Kolot Chayeinu at Occupy Wall Street
- Occupy Judaism flickr: Kolot Chayeinu & JFREJ @ OWS Sukkat
- Ritual for the Palm Sunday/Freedom Seder Processional
- Video of Rabbi Lippmann and other Kolot members at the demo against Bank of America on Tuesday, May8, 2012
FROM OCCUPATION JUDAISM:
November 14, 2011
Over 1,000 supporters of Occupy Wall Street have signed a statement opposing both anti-Semitism and its abuse by those who seek to discredit the movement. https://www.facebook.com/ows.antisemitism. Organized by members of Occupy Judaism, a contingent of Jewish supporters of Occupy Wall Street, the statement concludes:
"We are committed to keeping Occupy Wall Street free of anti-Semitism and other forms of oppression. We are committed to holding accountable those who would attempt to discredit Occupy Wall Street with unfounded allegations of anti-Semitism."
On Saturday evening, OWS adopted a resolution condemning the anti-Semitic attacks that took place last week in Brooklyn, after neighborhood residents had told reporters they faulted OWS for heightened levels of anti-Semitism. http://blog.occupyjudaism.org/post/12738875603/ows-official-statement-against-anti-semitism. Two week ago, several prominent Jewish figures, including two former governors, denounced right-wing attempts to smear OWS as anti-Semitic. http://blog.occupyjudaism.org/post/12200600418/jewish-leaders-denounce-right-wing-smears-of-occupy. More on OWS and the issue of anti-Semitism here: http://blog.occupyjudaism.org/post/12187364893/putting-the-ows-is-anti-semitic-meme-to-rest
Daniel Sieradski email@example.com
Nov. 11, 2011
From a Kolot member, Ami, who volunteers at Zuccotti Park: I can tell you for now, that its a much different atmosphere there than when we were all singing around the sukkah.. Its pretty grim. My estimate is that the population is about 50% homeless now, with all the problems associated with that - mental illness, drug abuse, etc etc etc.., they are both using and being used by the movement. In a way the park provides them with a lot - food, medical, clothing, community and maybe most important - purpose and status. but conditions there are not great and the biggest worry is hypothermia.
There's a large group of trans youth that were kicked out of a shelter who landed there and I'm trying to connect them with other services.
I've been mostly connected with the medics and medical group who are great, (I can’t say enough about how dedicated patient and selfless this group is – btw they need strong battery operated lighting for the new tent!) but I've recently connected with other mental health workers there and I can tell you that is a bit of a mess. There's a group involved who believe that psychiatric conditions are “mad gifts needing cultivation and care..." they are dug-in with support, causing lots of problems when we try to get psychotic/dangerous people out of the park... and i'm basically getting raked over the coals for even bringing up the idea that they are not a helpful part of mental-health.. sigh... and there's a general anti-traditional medicine bias (which I guess included me - who knew?)
so thats it for now. my focus is really on doing social work in the park and keeping everybody as safe as possible, i haven't been so involved in the political movement, although I'm a sympathizer. --Ami
Friday, Oct. 14
Ellen Garvey: Wonderful to be at Occupy Wall Street this morning, part of the crowd standing shoulder to shoulder. At sunrise, Rabbi Lippmann and two others who'd brought their own lulavs and etrogs recited the blessings and waved them in the doorway of the tiny pop-up sukkah in the middle of the crowd (followed by Emma, Jenny, and Ellen G.) We took a break from being human microphones, relaying the messages from one end of the park to the other -- much as the crowd must have done at Sinai, as the rabbi noted -- to sing. Protesters cleaned the park with mops and buckets of water -- ""today we are cleaning our community; tomorrow we will clean up Wall Street." And the massed crowd turned back the harsh decree, and the police did not kick us all out.
Emma Missouri: I got to "Liberty Park" (Zuccotti Park) at about 5:30am. I think the OWS folks had been cleaning all night. By 6:30am or so there were 2000 to 3000 people shoulder to shoulder in the park. Kolotniks were at the tiny "tent" sukkah. Daniel Sieradski and JFREJ are responsible for organizing the Sukkot observance. This morning Daniel, jfrej members, Brooklyn Congregation United and Kolotniks were out in force. At about 6:45am the announcement came that Brookfield Properties and the Bloomberg Administration had "postponed" the "clean up." Everyone was elated. The media are reporting that it was because "local public officials" called and emailed them. This may be true. But also there were thousands of people in and around the park showing solidarity with OWS. What is important to know is that this is a battle won but the powers that be will be back and in force! It has been my experience that the OWS folks have an articulate, clear agenda. They want fundamental change in the way the USA practices democracy and capitalism. I certainly stand with them now and as the movement grows.
Dahlia Goldenberg: Last night I was thinking about other encampments - my sister and her family marching with the tent city protestors in Tel Aviv this summer, indigenous rural communities camping out in a park in Quito, Ecuador and, of course, Tahrir Sq. They didn't budge from these places and they were able to make huge changes. Bloomberg has pushed protestors around way too much. I had to get my tush to Zuccotti Park.. It was a great moment to be out with my fellow Kolotniks and my Rabbi. Margaret Hughes , Director of Brooklyn Congregations United and I (as a new organizer at BCU) were proud to be there with all of you. I am excited that our congregation and the set of congregations that make up BCU are doing a lot of on-the-ground organizing in our communities to raise up our voices on relevant issues like the Responsible Banking Act we are working to get through the City Council. On Sunday, October 30th, the congregations of BCU are hosting a Community Dialogue: Land of Opportunities or Land of Inequalities? It will be a time to discuss as a community, this big picture that Occupy Wall Street is all about. We will also relate the bigger context back to our concrete organizing work and to the social action projects that our Kolotniks are working on! We will have a speaker from a policy think tank in DC to talk about the history of opportunitiies and structural racism in this country. I look forward to more and more of Occupy Wall Street!
Tuesday, Oct. 18
Arthur Strimling: We just got home from Zuccotti park where Ellen and Lisa led a Succoth service. JFREJ has built a succah in the park, and there are services going on all the time. Ellen did a beautiful teaching about how the rabbis of old might have responded to a world where there is homelessness and no jobs to help the homeless get homes. And after each half sentence or so of her teaching, those of us close to her yelled it back to those behind (no mikes allowed if you don’t know). Repeating a teaching word for word is a great way to take it in as well as to pass it on. Lisa led singing backed up by an amazing impromptu band of Roy Nathanson, Marc Ribot and drummer Eve Sicular (I mean a lot of people pay big bucks to hear those guys). And Jesse Jackson dropped in! He was welcomed by our City Council Member, who belongs to our congregation, listened to the singing, made a little speech, and sort of blessed us. What a world!
Then we walked around for an hour or so. It really reminds me of the pictures and descriptions of Hoovervilles and of some of the ‘permanent’ homeless encampments I saw in NY in the 80’s and 90’s. At first it looks like chaos, like a rock concert in 1974 in the rain or something, or a weird bazaar that has been going on forever, with people looking very tired, very grungy, a lot of lost looking souls, hustlers, a big loud drum circle. But as you walk through you discover how much order and structure there is: a kitchen, a free clothes section, meeting places, tent/tarp areas, a place to recharge your laptop, passage ways. Because there are no mikes, gatherings are small and a lot else is always going on. So there is no focal point, and that is one of the great new elements of this whole thing. Its what makes the pundits look down their noses; no leadership, no list of demands, but it seems also to be a great strength. Something inchoate going on, growing, and the politicians and pundits are going to have to do some thinking on their own and figure out how to respond. They, the pundits and politicians, are so unused to thinking, so used to ‘responding,’ that this is jerking their heads around every which way. I really hope the mike ban continues, so no Mark Rudd can get up and make a huge speech and suddenly become the voice of the people. This time the voice of the people might just be the people! I really hope it stays so magnificently coherently incoherent.
There are interesting signs everywhere, a lot of art, and sort of performance art – a guy wearing a barrel like in the Depression, a young guy sitting, scrunched and uncomfortable, for hours in a metal frame dog crate (lots of people taking pictures of him; Reverend Billy doing his thing, while Jesse Jackson just stands in the crowd watching. This is a total media phenomenon in the sense that there are cameras and recorders and computers everywhere. It does not feel angry at all.
On our way out Lisa and I stopped to get a fruit shake at one of the many food wagons that have circled the square, and down the block as we I walked away, we came on a crowd of about 100 cops gathered for something. What feels so great ultimately is that no one has any idea where this is going. I think the mayor and the police have as little idea of what to do as the occupants have of where to go next. The cops are unlikely to move in, because I think they know from the Brooklyn Bridge episode that violence will only grow the protest everywhere. So we’ll all wait and participate and see where it goes.
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