"We are committed to waging peace. With your financial support, we can succeed."
Deadly ideological violence in Charlottesville, VA has sent shock waves throughout the nation. While many are analyzing the words of public statements, few are aware that a vital organization countering extremism on the front lines has lost federal funding.
Please join the grassroots funding support for Life After Hate, created by former members of the American violent far-right extremist movement. "Whether working with individuals who wish to leave a life of hate and violence or helping organizations (community, educational, civic, government, etc.) grappling with the causes of intolerance and racism, Life After Hate works to counter the seeds of hate we once planted."
Also consider a donation to the Heal Charlottesville Fund, established to support both immediate needs and longer-term reconciliation efforts.
We are facing the worst global refugee crisis since World War II, with 65 million people uprooted from their homes. Consider supporting:
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) of the Urban Justice Center, which has developed a high-impact model of legal advocacy on behalf of refugees to the U.S.;
Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, which defends the rights of migrants and refugees in Israel and combats human trafficking;
HIAS, whose core mission is to assist refugees — "not because they're Jewish, but because we are" — and a key resource for additional ways to help;
Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief, which includes HIAS and many other organizations in its multi-national support for Syrian refugees in particular;
Nonsectarian organizations such as Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees.
Rabbi Louis Rieser is living through treatment for a brain tumor. He and his wife Connie Rieser decided to give tzedakah for each initial week of treatment:
"Tzedakah is on behalf of healing, for ourselves and for our doctors, and for all of our helpers.
"The first Tzedakah recipient is Sawyer Shore. Sawyer is the one year old baby of our dear friends, Sarah and Cantor Stephanie Shore. Sawyer is currently undergoing chemotherapy for Wilm's Tumor. We encourage anyone who wishes to support them as well....
"Our tzedakah for [the second] week goes to Talia Agler Girls Shelter (TAGS) in Nairobi. On January 27, 2012, Talia, the daughter of our colleague and friend, Rabbi Richard and Mindy Agler, was struck by an automobile and fatally injured. According to the website created by her family, 'Tali sought to better the world and she succeeded in doing so — through her work, through her wit and through her love'."
Shira Banki was murdered while supporting LGBTQ friends and others at the 2015 March for Pride and Tolerance in Jerusalem. The first anniversary of Shira's death was commemorated among 25,000 participants at the 2016 Jerusalem march, where her bereaved parents reaffirmed their call from her funeral "to hate less and love more":
"The lesson that we have to learn from the murder of Shira, and from the national destruction of 2,000 years ago, is that moderation is a virtue for all of us — because extremism, no matter the kind, is a sure path to destruction. ...It's not too late for you. Don't let hatred, ignorance, and prejudice sweep you away. Get up and stand for your right to live in a tolerant and moderate society. Thank you."
In the midst of their initial grief, Shira's parents — like the parents of Talia Agler — made the decision to donate their daughter's organs to save the lives of others. Learn about Jewish anatomical donations, and consider helping to make more of these gifts of the body available to the millions of people whose lives depend upon them.
Before the 2015 / 5776 High Holy Days, the Israeli grassroots coalition Tag Meir called for donations to support the orphaned Ahmed and his surviving family. The month-long fundraising campaign brought in the equivalent of nearly $100,000 in Israeli shekels, the average donation being the equivalent of $37.
Consider a donation to the Parents Circle - Families Forum, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization made up of more than 600 bereaved families who have chosen a path of reconciliation. Also consider supporting Healing Across the Divides, which supports health initiatives in Israel and the West Bank that promote the health of Israelis and Palestinians while helping to forge inter-agency cooperation and mutual understanding.