Tag Archives: Hispanics

Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility

The season of Pesach (Passover) is a time for reflection for many people.

Shimon Zachary Klein finds that the relevance of Pesach as a festival of freedom is lost for many reasons. He writes
It is a festival that conjures up obsessions for the “Kosher for Pesach” foods that result in the annual hair-splitting arguments between the secular and religious. The losers are inevitably the secular who have to kowtow to the whims of the religious who have the law on their side. What is free about that? Religious coercion reaches a climax during the Pesach week.Another aspect and one that very few people give a thought is the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Their limited freedom is even further curtailed. Road-blocks, closures and checkpoints are stricter. The reason is always security. However, the difficulties that innocent Palestinians have to endure are further increased by this “Festival of Freedom”. The Israeli soldiers who are on duty in the occupied territories are even more abusive and insensitive to Palestinians to ensure that the “Festival of Freedom” is not “interrupted” by Palestinians.

It is difficult and even hypocritical to celebrate a festival of freedom while denying another people basic human rights. The settlers in the occupied territories show their presence during this “Festival of Freedom” when they trespass on Palestinian lands. At the same time the Israeli government is still expanding settlements on Palestinian land. Racist rabbis continue their anti-Arab diatribes and this does have much influence for the celebration of Pesach. {Pesach (Passover) – the Festival of “Freedom”}

Today, having a holy week and having listened to the stories how God liberated His people, we in these days of particular times, showing that we are coming closer to the end times, it should be a challenge to all of us as lovers of God to seek new meanings and learning new lessons as to how relevant Pesach remains today.

From the previous writings you could find that it is not enough to celebrate the liberation of the Israelites, who to all intents and purposes, are our ancestors. It is also not enough just to think about the Jewish rabbi who called his disciples together to speak about a new covenant.

English: Omer ceremony - Pesach 2007 , Jewish ...

English: Omer ceremony – Pesach 2007 , Jewish holidays עברית: חגיגת אנשי אילות לקראת סדר פסח בדשא חדר האכילה.ריקוד אמהות וילדים:שיבולת בשדה., Original Image Name:טקס העומר-פסח 2007, Location:אילות (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Jews still come together in a very traditional way and even may perform what others consider out dated rituals as to what is Kosher for Pesach and what is not. The religious hair-splitting explanation over what is “kitniot” –“legumes” that are forbidden to be eaten by religious Ashkenazim.

Rabbi John Rosove, J Street Rabbinic Cabinet, Co-Chair brought following message

“As the festival of Passover approaches, we are all challenged, this year even more than most years, to reflect and act on the universal message it conveys — especially in the light of very disturbing trends both in the United States and Israel.

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in ...

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in Prague, 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The overriding message conveyed through the Haggadah is that it is our duty to experience the story of our liberation from Egypt as if it happened to us personally — and not just a story that happened to our ancestors countless generations ago. As former slaves, our tradition teaches us to be sensitive to the plight of the oppressed throughout history and in our own time. Accepting our role as active participants in that drama, we realize that we have a hand in forging our own destiny and cannot allow ourselves to become mere bystanders.

“We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.”

We are sensitive even to the pain of our enemies, taking a drop of wine out of our glasses for each of the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians, lessening our joy as we recall their suffering.

As our sages have noted, the one commandment in the Torah reiterated more than any other is to care for and love the stranger — for we ourselves were strangers in Egypt. It is repeated no fewer than 36 times.

Perhaps the repetition is necessary because this commandment tells us to do something that is both counterintuitive and very hard to do. It goes against something that is very deep and fundamental within us. We’re hardwired to be loyal to our own tribe and to be suspicious of and hostile to “the other.” When we’re hurting or in distress, some of us blame strangers and pour out our rage on them. It’s happening again, right now, in Syria, Iraq and in sectors of America.

He is not the only one who looks at what is going on at the 2016 presidential campaign in the United states of America where some of the leading candidates have built their campaigns by exploiting the fears and anxieties of fellow Americans. Also on several religious websites, mainly fundamentalist Christian or American right wing Evangelist sites everything is done to bring people against each other and to downgrade one or an other faith-group.

The rabbi rigthly remarks:

They have cynically fomented an anti-immigrant, xenophobic, nativist feeling against Muslims, Hispanics and others.

and sees the same problematic matter in Israel

we see the same phenomenon in the very disturbing recent polls showing that a sizeable proportion of the Jewish population would favor depriving Arab Israelis of their democratic rights or even expelling them from the country. And tragically, Israelis and Palestinians have become strangers to each other, meeting in fewer and fewer places and not currently engaged around the negotiating table.

Yes, Israelis have been subjected to heinous terrorist attacks, rockets, missiles and constant psychological pressure — and we must stand with them in upholding their right to defend themselves and our Jewish homeland — but returning hatred with hatred is not the response our tradition teaches. We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.

This is not who we are as Jews — nor who we can be and should be.

As individuals and collectively, working through organizations like J Street and its many American-Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian allies, we need to change this. We are called upon by tradition to pursue peace and justice and to love compassion. We must see that our neighbors are fellow humans with the same desires and aspirations as us — and we must never abandon our goal of reaching a two-state solution to end the conflict.

That is the great challenge of our time and it is deserving of particular reflection this festival season.

English: Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of th...

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, at National Poverty Hearing 2006 at Westminster, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the former Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, has noted,

“Judaism is God’s call to human responsibility. From this call you can’t hide, as Adam and Eve discovered when they tried, and you can’t escape, as Jonah learnt in the belly of a fish. The first humans lost paradise when they sought to hide from responsibility. We will only ever regain it if we accept responsibility and become a nation of leaders, each respecting and making space for those not like us.”

Also for those who want to call themselves Christian should ring the same bell. Jeshua asked his followers to be messengers of peace. We can not permit it that we again would loose the paradise. It is promised to us, but we can go along the wrong paths and miss that important entrance or small gate to the Kingdom of God.

Christians should take up their responsibility to preach the Good News and to show the right attitude of a lover of God, keeping to the golden Rule of the Agape love.

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Please do read also: Relevance of Observing Pesach Today

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62 Million Girls

On the 22nd of September the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics announced a series of commitments, a new report and a set of education data plans outlining the Obama Administration’s work to improve the lives of the 55 million Hispanics who live in the United States — whether through increased access to high-quality early learning and STEM education, more grants to Hispanic-serving colleges, more opportunities to participate in the internships or greater apprenticeships with small businesses.

“Today, nearly one in four students in our nation’s public schools is a Hispanic youth,”

said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Making sure these young people have the opportunity to achieve their dreams isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also a matter of our shared success as a country. In just the next few decades, Hispanics will represent nearly one in three American workers. It’s clear; the future of our nation is closely connected to the future of our Hispanic communities.”

An other problem is that girls do have to have the opportunity to be set on equal foot as boys and have to have good educational possibilities.

Right now, more than 62 million girls worldwide are out of school.

Many of them simply can’t afford the school fees, or the nearest school is miles away and they don’t have safe transportation to get there — or maybe there’s a school nearby, but it doesn’t have adequate bathroom facilities for girls. And for many girls, the obstacles they face aren’t just about resources, but about cultural norms and traditions that deem girls unworthy of an education.

That’s why on the 26th of September 2015, along with Girl Rising, the White House announced a new education campaign called 62 Million Girls — and we need you to join right now:

Share a photo of yourself on Twitter or Instagram, and tell the world what you learned in school using #62MillionGirls.

First Lady Michelle Obama posing for the action "Let Girls Learn"

First Lady Michelle Obama posing for the action “Let Girls Learn”

Those photos will be posted to Girl Rising’s yearbook at 62MillionGirls.com, and you’ll help us raise awareness about all the girls who aren’t in school and show the power of education to transform their lives.

This is a serious moral crisis — and it’s also an urgent economic issue:
Girls who go to school earn higher salaries, and sending more girls to school can even help boost a country’s entire economy. Girls’ education is a health issue as well, because studies show that educated girls raise healthier families and have lower rates of HIV and maternal mortality.

That’s why earlier this year, the President and First Lady Michelle Obama launched an initiative called Let Girls Learn. Working with the Peace Corps, businesses and organizations, and countries across the globe, we’re helping adolescent girls worldwide go to school. Now, the 62 Million Girls campaign is working to raise awareness for this cause and for these girls.

As I’ve traveled the world, I have met so many of these girls — and they are so bright, so determined and so eager to learn.

I see myself in these girls. I see my daughters in these girls. These girls are our girls, and I simply cannot walk away from them.

says First Lady Michelle Obama.

So I’m looking forward to seeing what you learned in school to help us make sure 62 million girls get that chance.

Thanks.

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Note: The Obama Administration is committed to investments to expand high-quality early learning programs; increase equity and opportunity for all students; support teachers and school leaders; and improve access, affordability and student outcomes in college. It is the Administration’s priority to ensure that every single child in this country deserves the opportunity to receive a strong education.

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National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

National minority Mental-health-awareness-month JulyJuly is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and health officials are using it to call attention to some surprising figures.

In many economical thriving countries a lot of problems occur by people who would like to be different or would love to have their dreams become reality.

Issues in Mental Health Nursing

Issues in Mental Health Nursing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people think the United States of America is the best place to be happy and successful. But that country, like the West-European countries is not the place where many people seem to feel they have a healthy mind.

One in five American adults will battle some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. While that may seem high, the data is even more staggering when it comes to minorities.

Hispanic high school girls are 70 percent more likely than their white counterparts to attempt suicide.

Whites are more than 50 percent more likely than Blacks to receive prescriptions to treat depression and other issues.

Asian women are the leading victims of suicide among senior citizens.

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon

Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The challenge for mental health professionals trying to curb those statics is overcoming long-held stigmas that have kept certain groups from seeking the help they need.

There are still a lot of stigma’s around mental health. Stigmas, limited access to care, and social and economic stresses are among the factors that keep some minorities from treating or even acknowledging mental illness.

There are multiple things we need to do to bring greater awareness to minority mental health:

  1. Build awareness
  2. Remember services are difficult to locate
  3. Remind clinicians and mental health professionals to be culturally competent
  4. Understand that:
    • Many cultures lack knowledge about mental illness or see it as taboo
    • Lack support from their own culture to seek services
    • Do not trust opposite cultures helping them
    • Struggle with gender bias

Read more here or check into this great research article published on the topic.

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