Tag Archives: Power

Why Honduras Still Needs Human Rights Advocates Two Years After the Military Coup

Two years ago on June 29, 2009, in the middle of the night, Honduras’s democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped at gunpoint in a military coup d’état and sent to neighboring Costa Rica. Before his ousting, Zelaya planned to follow through on a public referendum to reform the Constitution by extending the maximum term for presidents, even though the Supreme Court had ruled it illegal. Even though many critics questioned Zelaya’s push forward with the referendum, most agree that a coup was a disproportionate response and likely related to the branding of Zelaya’s government as left-leaning.

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Posted in Human Rights, LGBTI Rights | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Text with Texture: Generosity with Power

Text with Texture is a weekly blog series (featured on Tuesdays) that explores the rich and textured material found in On1Foot in connection with what’s happening in our world today.

Working at a non-profit, I think a lot about generosity—with money and with time. Here at AJWS, we depend on our supporters to give us some of their hard earned income so that we can use it to support human rights activists in the developing world. We also depend on staff and volunteers for their time. But I recently came across a medieval text that challenges the notion that money and time are the defining structures through which generosity is expressed.

Rav Avraham tells us that it’s not enough to be generous with our money. We must also be generous with our power. We must use our influence; call in our favors for the weak and the needy. We must throw our social weight on the side of the downtrodden.

I wonder: What would it look like to truly stare down the amount of power that I have as an American, a voter, a Jew, a teacher, and commit to being generous with that agency? How could I throw that power into advocacy work or community organizing to help those in need? And what would the world look like if we all began to think of our power as something we were obligated to give of generously?

Posted in Jewish Justice | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Storytelling for Justice Part II: Supporting Characters in the Pursuit of Justice

This AJWS series on storytelling and justice is guest edited by Deji Olukotun.

The Education and Community Engagement (ECE) department at AJWS holds a wealth of knowledge about Jewish tradition and, importantly, provides a vital bridging role across the organization in making Jewish learning salient for our justice work around the globe. In this piece, adapted from AJWS’s service-learning core curriculum, Expanding the Universe of Obligation: Judaism, Justice and Global Responsibility, I discuss the power of viewing yourself as a character in the stories of others.

Judaism relishes a good story. The Torah, Judaism’s anchor text, bubbles over with stories—stories of love, stories of betrayal, stories of conquest, stories of loss. Writing centuries later, the rabbis continued to use stories as a powerful medium through which to teach morals and lessons, including the importance of recognizing one’s own role—however small or supporting—in the stories of others.

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