Well, never wanting to miss the opportunity to attack an advocate for the common good, the Institute on Religion and Democracy has gotten into the act with this press release, which adds to Cizik’s list of abominations: defending Darfur and opposing torture. This is all in the lead up to the NAE’s board meeting tomorrow. Cizik’s job seems safe for now, but it’s worth watching this developing story.
It’s The Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS this week and The Balm in Gilead is speaking out against “complacency, denial and do-nothing attitudes regarding HIV/AIDS.”
Promoting the Healing of AIDS Week of Prayer for 18 years, Balm works to improve the health status of people of the African Diaspora by building the capacity of faith communities to address life-threatening diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.
It all started back in 1989, when Pernessa Seele, Founder and CEO, received the cooperation of 50 Harlem pastors to acknowledge those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Today, the Balm In Gilead mobilizes thousands of churches and mosques domestically and internationally to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Each year the Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS mobilizes thousands of faith institutions to champion AIDS awareness, prevention and education in the African American community. Balm also helps partner Black Churches with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to encourage communities to get tested.
Two recent articles from within the Jewish American community have challenged Jewish leaders to speak out against the continuation of the Iraq War. As Nathan Guttman pointed out last week, in spite of the fact that 77% of American Jews think the Iraq War was a mistake, “most Jewish organizations have refused to speak out against the war, and at times they displayed support for the administration.” As Rabbi Arthur Waskow writes in a current opinion piece, “What to do about the Iraq war has made for the sharpest and most important disconnect between the political behavior of large Jewish organizations and the opinions of the flesh-and-blood Jews who actually make up the American Jewish community.” In another op-ed, Rabbi David Saperstein put the challenge more bluntly in his title: “Time for Our Community To Join the Iraq Debate.”
A number of initiatives within the Jewish community are rising to that challenge. A group of Jewish leaders has launched an ad campaign in both Jewish and secular media outlets. See the ad below, and follow this link to the Shalom Center to find out more. And when the Union of Reform Judaism’s Executive Board meets next week, they will discuss how to best address the current situation in Iraq. Visit the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism for more resources on how Jewish leaders are responding to the crisis in Iraq.