Sunday, October 16, 2011

Yidden #OWS Occupy Wall Street!

Yidden!  #OWS! #OccupyWallStreet!  Surely you must remember Yosl Kurland of the Wholesale Klezmer Band!  Yosl (Joe) Kurland visited Albuquerque last February, just in time for KlezmerQuerque.  He taught us Together With Your Money that Erev Shabbos.  Ah, now you remember!

Abq Jew posted Together With Your Money in response to Why Isn't Wall Street In Jail?, an excellent, and, as it turns out, prescient article by Rolling Stone's Matt Taibi.

Anyway - Yosl has sent this report from his home in Massachusetts, highlighting the Jewish aspect of and support for the #OWS movement.
At Succos services in Greenfield, MA Thursday, we studied the Torah portion which reads, "And when you reap the harvest of your land you shall not reap the corner of you field, nor shall you gather the gleaning of the harvest, you shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger."

In the discussion that followed we talked about how this teaching relates to the Occupy Wall Street actions taking place around the country. We recalled how the Talmud teaches that there is no prescribed limit to the corner of the field, or in other words, how the more that a wealthy person contributes to the welfare of others, the more merit s/he deserves. We talked of how our religion is opposite to the worship of wealth and power as personified by the Wall Street bankers and corporate CEOs who earn hundreds of times the wages of their employees and want to pay no taxes.

We agreed that the teaching of our Torah should inspire us to act in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. So, we proposed to bring our lulav's and esrogs to Greenfield town common on Monday, October 17 from 5 to 6 pm to stand and bear witness to the need for investment in infrastructure, education, jobs, and justice, and for the sharing of the burden by the wealthy.

There are many other teachings in the Torah and Talmud that teach similar lessons, such as the commandment to return the pledged cloak of a debtor at night (this would imply no forclosures) so that s/he will be able to sleep in it and stay warm.

I would like to invite the rest of the Jewish community of Franklin County, the interfaith community and anyone else, to join us. We may not all be able to go to Wall Street, we may not all be able to spend days and weeks in an occupation, but let us spend that hour to demonstrate our solidarity with the principles of the Wall Street occupation.

We Stand With the Majority of Americans:
Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed
 A large majority of the American people consistently support the following agenda:
  • Tax the rich and corporations
  • End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
  • Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security, Medicare for all 
  • End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
  • Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
  • Protect worker rights including collective bargaining; create jobs and raise wages
  • Get money out of politics
The government, dominated by elite economic interests, is going in the opposite direction from what the people want. The American people's agenda is our agenda.
        Gut Yontev and Gut Shabbos, 
 For more, see this Occupy Sukkot Across the Country video.

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