Session 3: You Gotta Fight for Your Right! Political Freedom

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And This Place Could
Be Much Brighter Than Tomorrow

And If You Really Try
You'll Find There's No Need
To Cry In This Place You'll Feel
There's No Hurt Or Sorrow

There Are Ways
To Get There

If You Care Enough

For The Living
Make A Little Space
Make A Better Place...

Heal The World
Make It A Better Place
For You And For Me
And The Entire Human Race
There Are People Dying
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Better Place
For You And For Me

If You Want To Know Why

There's A Love That
Cannot Lie Love Is Strong
It Only Cares For Joyful Giving
If We Try
We Shall See
In This Bliss
We Cannot Feel
Fear Or Dread
We Stop Existing And
Start Living

Heal the world…

And The Dream We Were
Conceived In Will Reveal A Joyful Face
And The World We Once Believed In
will shine again in grace
Then Why Do We Keep
Strangling Life
Wound This Earth
Crucify Its Soul
Though It's Plain To See
This World Is Heavenly
Be God's Glow

We Could Fly So High

Let Our Spirits Never Die
In My Heart
I Feel You Are All
My Brothers

Create A World With
No Fear Together We'll Cry
Happy Tears

See The Nations Turn
Their Swords
Into Plowshares

We Could Really Get There

If You Cared Enough
For The Living
Make A Little Space
To Make A Better Place...

Heal The World….

GROUP 1: Darfur

“He who does not learn from history, is doomed to repeat it”

Why does this resonate so much for Jews?

Genocide: Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. Genocidal acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

What has been/can be done:

 rallies, letters to congress, peacekeeping missions

 While it is true that the Bush administration should be lauded for its courageous declaration of genocide a year ago, since then it has pulled back from its leadership in trying to stop the genocide. And as the administration's public commitment has waned, the violence has continued.

 Consistent pressure on the US government to step in and end the violence and mass murders

What can YOU do: Examples

--Invite someone who has survived the Rwandan Genocide to speak at a USY program

--Attend a rally

--Write letters to senators and congress

--Join "Million Voices for Darfur" by sending an electronic or hard copy post card to President Bush calling for US support for a larger, stronger multinational force to protect the civilians of Darfur

-fundraise for American join Distribution Committee’s Darfur Relief Fund

-fundraise for American Jewish World Service Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund

Let Our People Go! Pidyon Shvuyim: Redeeming Captives
Spotlight on Israeli captives – prisoners of war
“We who embrace democracy,
We who cherish freedom,
We who stand with Israel…
We have not forgotten you
I am proud to stand in solidarity with the families and friends of Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser and all of Israel. I demand their freedom now!”

--Anti defamation league online pledge of solidarity

Ehud Goldwasser, Gilad Shalit and Eldad Regev are the most recent Israeli prisoners of war, kidnapped by Hizbollah during the war of Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

Jewish response to the mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim (redeeming captives): Which do you agree with?

  1. Talmud (Bava Batra 8b) calls pidyon shvuyim a “mitzvah rabbah” (great mitzvah) and says that captivity is worse than starvation and death.

  2. Maimonides (Rambam) says that he who ignores ransoming a captive is guilty of transgressing commandments such as “you shall not stand idly by the blood of your brother” (Lev. 19:16); and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18).

  3. And one who delays in ransoming a captive, is considered like a murderer

  4. The Talmud explains that “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh bazeh – all of Israel is responsible for one another”. When one is in danger, we all share the pain

What do YOU think? How far should Israel go to redeem its captives, to get its boys back? Should they negotiate with terrorists who go to such extreme measures? What if it was one of your close family members?

The terms of pidyon shvuyim:

When is it too far?

a) “because of the [financial] burden on the community”;
B) “so that they [the captors] should not seize more captives”
i.e. paying a high ransom for captives will encourage kidnappers to kidnap more Jews and demand still higher ransoms.
Advocacy – add your own to what is being done today

1. An online pledge of solidarity like one found on the Anti defamation

2. Pressure on Israeli government to negotiate (is it possible to negotiate when you’re dealing with a group like Hizbollah?)

3. Education: raise awareness that these men are still missing

Global Warning over Global Warming
Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth shed the light on a major world catastrophe. Global warming is the cause of the day, one that will have devastating impact on the world over time.
WHAT is Golbal warming and why should you care?

Carbon dioxide and other gases warm the surface of the planet naturally by trapping solar heat in the atmosphere. This is a good thing because it keeps our planet habitable. However, by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere and temperatures are rising. An unusually warm winter day may seem exciting, but the more we have them, the more dangerous they are.

The vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is real, it's already happening and that it is the result of our activities and not a natural occurrence. The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable.

We're already seeing changes. Glaciers are melting, plants and animals are being forced from their habitat, and the number of severe storms and droughts is increasing. Signs of G.W.:

The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years,

Malaria has spread to higher altitudes in places like the Colombian Andes, 7,000 feet above sea level.3

The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade.4

At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving closer to the poles.5

If we don't do something...consequences!

-->Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years -- to 300,000 people a year.6

-->Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide.7

-->Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense.

Droughts and wildfires will occur more often.

-->The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050.8

-->More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.9

Jewish text reminding us to care for God’s creations

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ:

Genesis 2:15 God placed man in the Garden of Eden to till it and tend to it

טו וַיִּקַּח יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם וַיַּנִּחֵהוּ בְגַן־עֵדֶן לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ:

Kohelet Rabbah 7:13 1 “When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at my works! See how beautiful they are – how excellent! For your sake I have created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.”

What needs to be done?

This isn't something that affects children in third world countries which can sort of make you feel more removed from the issue - this effects us ALL. Natural disasters that happen could be a result of global warming- what we have created by not taking care of the earth. When you overuse, you abuse and will be left with nothing.

There is no doubt we can solve this problem. In fact, we have a moral obligation to do so. Small changes to your daily routine can add up to big differences in helping to stop global warming. The time to come together to solve this problem is now – TAKE ACTION

Small ways to make a BIG difference (ask your parents for their help)
At home:
replace regular light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs (available at the same place as the regular ones)
--save energy by turning your heat down just a bit in the winter and using less AC in the summer (even a few degrees will make a difference)
-- take a five minute shower instead of spending all morning in there
-- try using a clothes line or dryer rack instead of the dryer
-- only run the dishwasher when full not just for 2 bowls
-- unplug your electronics when you're not using them (ie. shut down the computer at night)
-- recycle at home
-- ask your parents to insulate your home
--get an energy audit for your home- ask your parents to have someone come in and tell you where you're wasting the most energy
-- try and buy food that has less packaging
-- buy local or organic food
--bike or run to school in the spring and summer, take mass transit if you're allowed to
-- when you're parents buy their next car, ask them to use one that’s more fuel efficient


Session 3: How we can make a difference


1. Social action in action: Small ways to make a big difference: Wheelniks will learn of examples of the small and large ways we can stand up for what we believe in

2. How to advocate - Wheelniks will understand how to put their emotions into action. I feel passionately about a certain cause and want to stand up and speak. Can I really make a difference? How?

1. Create an Experience

Option 1: SONG - Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer

If not on Shabbat, play song. If Shabbat, read it

Option 2: read story “I made a difference to that one” (attached)

Option 3: get a bowl and fill it with water. Drop a penny into the bowl (or anything small) and watch the ripple effect. One penny causes a ripple of movement in the water.
2. Analyze and discuss the experience

What is this song about? What is its message? Who is it speaking about…or to?

Song: Do we stand by waiting for things to get better? This song is about young people who don’t know they can make a difference or don’t know how to do it. So…they keep waiting for the world to get better.

The water bowl or the little boy and the fish: What is the “moral of the story” here? Do you often feel the way the man does? Have you ever done anything with the attitude of the kid? To one person, you may look as if you’re efforts as for no reason. But, even if ONE person is affected by what you do, you’ve made a difference. One drop can create a ripple effect in a puddle.

3. Integrate analysis and experience

John Mayer song: When we hear this catchy tune on the radio or online, it sparks a part of the human (and Jewish) soul. We recognize that there is another way to see the world. Our tradition says that we cannot wait. 

Water bowl and boy and fish story: You don’t think you can make a difference, do you? You’re just one person. What is my one letter to a newspaper going to do? What good will one person at a rally of 10,000 really going to do? I’m 14 years old, what good am I? I just go to school and do my thing.

What does Judaism say about these common feelings and emotions young people often experience when it comes to making a difference?

4. Teach the Concept

Put the two quotes up on two sides. Ask the Wheelniks to choose which one would motivate them to take action. Can they share examples from real life as to when they demonstrated the idea? Advocacy is not just about knowing…but about doing. And you can make a difference; iis your duty to.

  1. Practice defined givens and add your own element

Wheelniks on Strike!

As a group, decide on an issue that you’ve been kvetching about on the trip. You don’t like it? What are you going to DO about it??

What needs to be done to make a difference and stand up for our rights?

  1. vote on the issue

  2. decide on a plan of action – what needs to be done and how

  3. delegate responsibility

  4. make it happen!

This experience can be ongoing for a day or just for the duration of the program. Making it day-long helps them recognize that change can’t happen immediately. Activities they can do include:

-demonstrate or create protest boards to get their word heard

- “chain” themselves to the bus

- write a letter to the group leaders signed by all

-offer solutions and alternatives and advocate for WHY this change needs to happen

Encourage the Wheelniks to fight for their rights as a group for something you actually are able to change as a leader. (example: protest for later curfew, more chofesh, better snacks, etc).
6. Debrief and discuss the activity:

Did you feel like you really could get into this, that what you could do would indeed bring change? Was it fun? Stressful? Did you think we would actually agree to what you demanded? You have to believe that when you fight for something, that the change you demand can and will actually happen. Apply this experience to real life. Standing up for a cause and actually doing something can make a difference. Small groups can cause major change, but you have to fight for it.

7. Apply to a new experience – apply to a site visit

  1. Mock demonstration, protest – prepare a mock demonstration for Capital Hill, Wheels East Tikun Olam project – look through USY Tikun Olam pamphlets for ideas they can actually do as a Tikkun Olam project on Wheels. TEXTS: blue and green USY Tikkun Olam Program pamphlets

“116 Practical Mitzvah Suggestions”

“11 Ways USYers can Change the World in Big Ways”

Jewish text:

Repeat the quote from Dvarim 16:20:

“Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof

Justice, justice you shall pursue!

Don’t stand there waiting for the world to change, do something!


Pirkei Avot:

Lo Alecha hamlacha ligmor, v’lo ata ben horin l’hibatel mimenah - It is not on you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” 

One step at a time, we can make a difference. But…it is our duty to take that step.

Attachment: Song

Waiting on the World to Change

by John Mayer

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing
There's no way we ever could
Now we see everything is going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change
Its hard to be persistent
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change

Attachment: OPTION 2: Story: I Made a Difference to That One

There is a story of man who came upon a young boy on a beach strewn with millions of starfish washed ashore.  As the man approached, he saw the boy bending down and picking up a starfish and throwing it back into the ocean.  The man looked at the boy, shook his head and said, “You cannot possibly think that you will make a difference.  There are millions of starfish dying on this beach.”  The boy bent down, picked up a starfish and threw it into the ocean.  Then he looked at the man said, “I made a difference to that one.”  He did the same with another and said, “I made a difference to that one.”

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