We received this letter from the Jewish Community yesterday in regards to North Standing Rock and wanted to share:
We are asking you to join 17 Rabbis -- leaders from every stream of American Jewish life -- in signing the following statement, calling for an end to the building of the Dakota Access Pipe Line and supporting the Lakota Nation and other Native Nations in their opposition to it
The two of us are adding our own urgency because even in the few days since the statement was drafted, the situation at Standing Rock in North Dakota has become one of life and death. The police appear to be on the verge of clearing the Water-Protectors camp that is on the pipeline route.
It would be a sad and horrifying continuation of one of the worst strands of American history, if in this Native-led effort to protect Native lands, the Missouri River, and our Mother Earth, a Native person were to be killed. We need to do what we can to prevent that.
This is not only about American history, American values, and the American future. Torah teaches us both to protect the Earth and to nurture the “outsiders” among us.
The Native Nations are taking prayerful nonviolent action to protect the water for all of us. The knowledge that Mni Wa'coni -- Water is Life -- is the guiding principle of all their actions. During the week that one of us (Rabbi Liebling) spent there, every meeting, every action began with prayer. Until 1978 it was illegal for Native peoples to practice their religion -- part of the cultural genocide that was and is inflicted on them -- so even the act of public prayer is reclaiming their way of life. As Rabbis, we remember the days when the Jewish community was dealt with in these ways – and we utterly reject this behavior by American governments and corporations.
Racism is the original sin of America, and the Native Nations were the first victims. To redeem our nation from racism, we must begin with the First Nations. From the bottom of our hearts we ask you to sign this statement. And we ask you to share this letter and statement with your colleagues, inviting them to sign as well.