The people of Israel stand at a crossroad. Tangled lengths of history tug at our heels; a mountain of stories hovers over us like a wedding canopy, or is it a shroud? In the middle of the path where the road divides, a sign is posted on the way. Two arrows point in opposite directions. One arrow points to the Path of the Book. The other arrow points to the Path of the Sword. Which path shall we travel? The Book or the Sword? Our elders taught, ‘If the sword, then not the book. If the book, then not the sword.’ About this, Torah says: ‘Record this instruction: “Resist the way of the sword with the way of the book.”’Trail Guide to the Torah of Nonviolence
Experience the power of Jewish nonviolence
- Invite me to perform and read from the Trail Guide
- Host peace education workshops and trainings based on the principles of The Torah of Nonviolence
- Shomer Shalom Sabbaths and Holy Day retreats
Peace Primer II: Quotes from Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scripture and Tradition
by Lynn Gottlieb, Rabia Terri Harris, Ken Sehested
Baptist Peace Fellowship, 2012
Paperback, 77 pages
It is common today to hear the claim that we are engaged in “a clash of cultures.” The first step in addressing conflict is for all parties to listen to each other. That is the goal of this publication: to allow Christians, Muslims and Jews to listen to each other’s scripture and tradition, particularly to hear what each has to say about seeking justice, pursuing peace, and working for reconciliation. What makes this collection unique is the authors’ commitment to The Torah of Nonviolence, The Gospel of Nonviolence and The Qur’an of Nonviolence. Here is a section of the book (p. 70) that describes the principles that inform our understanding of dialogue:
In the work of the Peace Primer dialogue, we lift up those aspects of Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions that promote nonviolent conflict transformation, prophetic witness, restorative justice and community peacemaking. We cherish our scriptural traditions.
- We support non-cooperation with expressions of state and communally sanctioned violence.
- We recognize that healing from trauma by survivors of gender, racial, religious and political violence, whether in the context of their own faith groups, or at the hands of others, must be acknowledged as part of our collective interfaith work. We are sensitive to the personal experiences of suffering and loss in any given group of people.
- As interfaith allies, we are committed to a truthful examination of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in our own traditions that may contribute to sustaining structural violence. However, we are not here to challenge the faith of others in negative ways, but to seek understanding from a place of humility and genuine interest. No one person can represent the whole of their faith community, nor can one person be held responsible for the actions of some members of their faith community. We acknowledge the diversity between faiths and within our faith communities.
- The people that are here have chosen aspects of their religious tradition that they feel comfortable sharing in this context, but it is not an invitation to take or use other people’s traditional ways for one’s own purposes. In honoring each other we respect the dignity and right of peoples not to share certain aspects of their tradition and to hold them sacred unto their own community.
- We work for the well-being and safety of families and communities throughout the world.
—Peace Primer II: Quotes from Jewish, Christian and Islamic Scripture and Tradition, p. 70
She Who Dwells Within – A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism
by Lynn Gottlieb
Paperback, 256 pages
A high-spirited woman rabbi assesses contemporary Judaism and breathes new life into classic tradition by drawing on Jewish, feminist, ecological and Native American sources.
This book helped forge acceptance of Jewish feminism and Jewish Renewal. Ceremonies, ancestor stories, guided meditation, healing from trauma ritual, and proactive peacemaking, this book is still as deeply relevant and challenging as it was in 1995.
Chapter One: The Forbidden Fruits of Winter 1975
I remember the first time She called me. I was hunched over the Talmudic tractate called Ketubot (Marriage Contracts) in the Jewish Theological Seminary library, trying to decipher rabbinic conversations about girls not yet menstruating who must engage in sexual intercourse to consummate a marriage. How soon after the first time may intercourse be repeated? After four days, says one. Till the wound heals, says another. Not until the following Shabbat, counters yet another rabbinic sage. I once asked Dr. Francus, who graciously let me attend his class in Talmud when no women were as yet admitted to JTS’s rabbinic program, whether he thought the sages consulted women on this subject. He stared at me blankly.
I glanced hopefully out the window. Twilight tinged the horizons, heralding the hour of my release. I swept up the heavy volumes of rabbinic commentary and sailed down the stairs out into the city. A modern sculpture of the burning bush suspended over the entrance to the seminary declared words of revelation: “And the bush was not consumed.” Yellow and red city lights cloaked the iron leaves in a thick urban haze. I swung around, inhaled deeply, and set out toward Union Theological Seminary, where the New York Feminist Scholars in Religion were meeting to discuss their personal relationship with the Goddess. My anxiety level soared. A battery of biblical taboos pounded in my head. “You shall have no other gods before Me! Don’t even try to find out about other gods. The practices of other nations are perversions.”
Yet just as the biblical character Dinah ventured forth, I felt compelled to “go out and meet the women of the land,” even though I feared the encounter.
—from chapter one of She Who Dwells Within – A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism