A Zionist Nationalist Inspired by Black Power

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Steven M. Cohen
Steven M. Cohen
Steven M. Cohen was raised in a family he describes as “non-observant Orthodox”—keeping Kosher at home, Shabbat candles, Shabbat services, but otherwise fairly lax. He was a member of Young Judaea briefly in his teens (1965-6), but Zionism was relatively unimportant to him at the time. This changed when he entered Columbia University in 1966. As was the case for so many, the Six Day War was a turning point. “With the war, I was swept of in all kinds of pro-Israel rallies. I remember holding an Israeli flag in the street and having people put money in it walking by. And there were celebrations after the war, so on and so on.” He helped to organize a new Jewish organization on campus, Kadima, and soon was working as a liaison with the AZYF (American Zionist Youth Foundation, an extension of the Jewish Agency’s Youth and Hechalutz Department, then chaired by Gen. Morele Baron) <Read Steven M. Cohen’s story here>

Visionary Peacemaking

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Rabbi Rachel Mikva
Rabbi Rachel Mikva brings a unique background to her peacemaking. She has served as both a congregational rabbi and a professor at a progressive Christian theological seminary – and grew up in the family of beloved liberal political icon, the Hon. Abner J. Mikva. Mikva seeks to create caring and self-critical discourse on Israel among both Jews and Christians. As she describes it, learning about the dark side of Israel’s story entails going through stages that include pain, denial, anger, and rebuilding. “When we first discover the hard stories, we may go through denial. You can live in denial and say, ‘No, Israel is still perfect and wonderful.’ Or you can abandon it entirely and say, ‘I want nothing to do with Israel because it is this flawed nation’ (like every other nation). Or you can reimagine and reengage” and ask, ‘What is my relationship with this place? What kind of state might it yet become?’ You can rewrite that story, preferably with others who are also struggling. <Read Mikva’s story here>