Getting Brighter. Photo by A. Daniel Roth
Social Media and the Context for the coming out of Jason Collins
By Nir Z.
Earlier today Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay player of the North American “Big 4” sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). While other retired athletes have come out in the past few years, he is the first of those 4 major North American leagues to come out while still playing. Unless you’re a devoted NBA fan, Jason Collins’ name probably meant nothing to you before today. He’s not Kobe Bryant. He’s not LeBron James. He’s most certainly not Michael Jordan. He’s Jason Collins – a journeyman center who’s career can only be defined as “serviceable” (at best) to this point. For years now he’s toiled in relative obscurity – a player many hardcore NBA fans forgot was even still in the league. Until today.
This was originally published in the Open Zion section of The Daily Beast.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a Passover Seder with hundreds of other people on a kibbutz not far from Haifa. As I looked at the faces of those around me in this year’s recounting of the exodus from bondage to liberation, I couldn’t help but think about the many ways in which we were reading the same Passover story, yet understanding it in massively different ways. As a critical educator, I spend a lot of time thinking about how people think about things.
My family, like many others, spills a drop of wine for every one of the ten plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians. It is a small way in which we temper the joyful feeling of liberation with the memory that the Egyptians, another group of human beings, suffered in the wake of the ride to freedom.
Is a bird on a wire in its natural habitat?
A look at All That's Left: Anti-Occupation Collective.
Tectonic shifts are constant, though we only feel them when they intensify into earthquakes. Change, we all know and feel in our bones, is a steady truth. As we exit the age of television and find ourselves more and more digitally engaged with the form and content of the internet we can feel major changes in human politics, interactions and activism.
I have been organizing with a group of anti-occupation activists
who are generally not from Israel and Palestine, but who live here now. It occurred almost naturally in a group of 15 or 20 people that we decided that we were interested in forming a collective as opposed to an “organization”.
This is a reflection by Luke Nephew of the Peace Poets.
The Israeli authorities have issued a deportation order for next Wednesday April 10th.
On Friday, March 29th i was on a solidarity walk with the Freedom Bus and community members from five Palestinian villages in the South Hebron hills. The army came to disrupt our peaceful walk. I was arrested and charged with interfering with soldier's search of Palestinians, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
Fortunately, leading up to the arrest I was with an absolutely beautiful, loyal and inspiring group of people. In spite of the chaos the police and army caused, we supported each other vigorously and nonviolently in attempt to remain free and continue the walk. It could have been many of the international people there or many of the Palestinian people we were accompanying who was arrested, but that day it was me. I am grateful for this because if it had been any of the community members they could have been detained for long periods of time without even being charged, tortured, fined large sums of money, or worse.
'This is Not an Ulpan' facilitators and organizers meeting. Tel Aviv March 8, 2013
This was originally published at Waging Nonviolence
I am a member of a group of Tel Aviv-based educators that has come together to explore and practice new ways of engaging in Hebrew language study — known as ulpan
in Hebrew — with the aim of creating a space for critical discussion on the politics and society in which we have found ourselves. I am a co-founder of This Is Not an Ulpan as well as a learner in it.
Too often, language programs expect learners to act as depositories for information about what is right and wrong, good or bad, done and never done in Israeli society. But our program model is built around the idea that it is imperative that we rethink this training-method of language study, and this goal of absorption into a society, and replace it with dialogue instead. Participants are asked to think about how to fix the problems in the society rather than learn to accept them.
In a state of shock at the outcome of some event
An observer contemplates
A state that is free for those who are free
The state will be empty of toxins for the stomach and soul
And there will be an open call to those who identify with this lifestyle
Intimidation in South Tel Aviv. Dec. 31st, 2012
This article was originally written for the Canadian Jewish News. Unfortunately, there was not enough space for it in this week's edition. The authors feel it is important to get this message out to the Canadian Jewish community right now.UPDATE: The article was published on January 28 in the Canadian Jewish News.
By Naomi Lightman, A. Daniel Roth and Leora Smith with members of Right Now
On December 10, many of us gathered at home to light the menorah in honour of Hanukah. In Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park, a different sort of Hanukah gathering took place. There, hundreds of Jewish Israelis joined prominent politicians to light the menorah amid picket signs reading “Sudanese, go back to Sudan.” Looking on were non-Jewish African asylum seekers, many of whom are homeless and living in Levinsky Park. While significant segments of Israeli public opinion have turned violently against African asylum-seekers, very little has been heard about this in North America. We’d like to start that conversation now.
Recently I took a look at this report on the world in 2030
. It is bleak with little pieces of hope strewn about to make sure we don't get too sad when thinking about the future. The politics, racism and hate of this place make it hard to imagine massive change in a positive sense. It is hard to imagine us choosing to embrace new technologies and new ways of organizing over here. But every now and then I hear from someone who is working in fields that focus on technology and the future and who see the potential that we hold as a species on a daily basis and it opens a door that I had previously shut.
Banner in Ramallah, West Bank, on November 29, 2012
This article was originally published at Waging Nonviolence.
After the overwhelming “yes” vote on Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for Palestinian non-member observer state status at the United Nations on November 29, a friend in Canada wrote to me wondering if I would go and dance in the street in Tel Aviv. I might have been out there dancing if there had been any sign that anyone else was out there that night. I hate dancing alone.
Few in Israel were vocally in support of the bid. Strange, since it was a modest proposal that did nothing to harm Israel and only spoke of raising the status of Palestine in the eyes of the United Nations from an “entity” to a “state,” which seems like a reasonable step toward the “two-state solution” that so many Israelis claim to support. It was also a proposal that would not have any immediate impact on the ground in terms of ending the occupation — although it might have an impact on the way in which we think about what is possible.
I moved to Israel last year with two missions in mind: Learn Hebrew and work to end the occupation, which is, in my opinion, essential to both Jewish and Palestinian Liberation in Israel and Palestine. With these goals in mind, and others, a group of language learners and teachers have come together to create a Hebrew learning space called “This is Not an Ulpan”.
I have spent a cumulative 16 months in various Ulpan (Hebrew language study) programs during my (some would say) short life. I’ve successfully completed Ulpan Aleph and Bet on Kibbutzim and (some would say) successfully completed another Bet and a Gimmel in Tel Aviv Ulpan programs. It’s safe to say that I know Ulpan.I have spent so much time (and I will continue to do so) learning Hebrew because it is at the core of my socialist-Zionist, Jewish identity. It is one of the most important ways that I engage with my culture and my people. Language and culture affect each other
and I want to participate in that process in Israel, with the Jewish people, in our language: Hebrew.
I have known for some time that I have not really enjoyed learning in the Ulpan spaces that I have experienced, but for years I thought it was just a result of the often uninspired lessons, which view the learner, as Paulo Freire would put it, a bank account ready for a knowledge deposit. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Plenty of great teachers work in the Ulpan system. In the last few months it has dawned on me that it's both the form and content of that system that doesn't sit right with me.