Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Healing the Hate On Our Buses

Starting today, Philadelphia's city public transit, SEPTA, will carry ads with photographs from 1941 of a meeting between Hitler and Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist who made radio broadcasts supporting the Nazis.  The hurtful slogan trolling the streets of Brotherly Love for the next month: "Islamic Jew Hatred: It's in the Quran."

Thirty-thousand dollars purchased this far right wing campaign. SEPTA fought to say no, but the courts said free speech dictates that The American Freedom Defense Initiative can have their say. This organization has grown by leaps and bounds in the US and Europe since 2010 with its purpose to Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Shamefully, a Jewish woman, Pamela Geller is one of its founders. 

I confess my tribal nature-when a Jew does dumb and bad, it feels shameful.

The Interfaith Center of Philadelphia, led by a woman grounded by Torah values, Abby Stamelman Hocky, invites us to say

Not here. Not now. Not in our city. 

Abby asks that we "embrace our diverse voices and to unite to effect positive change. To stand in solidarity with those might otherwise be alienated." To counter the hate on our buses and in people's hearts go to:

Another Philadelphian, grounded in Torah, and committed to healing, not hating, is Dr. Barry Mann. His new book, Dreams of Peace, is a language primer for Hebrew and Arabic. Dr. Mann is a physician-surgeon-Chief Academic Officer- yet found the time to create an easy access language primer that helps readers learn Hebrew, and Arabic. He even found the time to teach the primer in a course to rabbinical students. We need a shared language if we are going to ever understand one another. This book is a great start.

Ibrahim Miari of the University of Pennsylvania comments on Dreams of Peace: "As a bilingual native speaker and instructor of both Arabic and Hebrew, I know through experience how language creates a window into culture and allows an opening for a new perspective. The innovations of this dual language primer demonstrate the similarities between the two languages, and may be one small step towards both facilitating language acquisition and fostering further understanding." 

Would people who spent time learning one another's language, and honoring their common roots, put hateful ads on city transit? Dreams of Peace is available on Amazon. Hey, I wrote the first reader review!

Salute to Abby and Barry for healing the hate.

I am inspired.

I take the challenge today to do something to heal the hate. What are you inspired to do?

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