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Wednesday, May 29, 2024


by Rob Okun

A new Jewish tradition is growing in those places where solidarity flourishes. Amid the ugliness and death, and as our institutions cleave to the mistaken idea that our safety comes from ever more brutal applications of state power, the future of our people is being written on campuses and in the streets. Thousands of Jews of all ages are creating something better than what we inherited. Our new Jewish tradition prioritizes truth-telling and justice, and in this way it is actually the old Jewish tradition, which has given us all the tools we’re using. —William Alden, The Nation, May 10, 2024. Photo: Jews calling for a cease-fire in Gaza demonstrate at Grand Central Station in New York City on October 27, 2023. (Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images)

now comes a multigenerational exodus:
next gen jews leading us out of the
desert of fear where
too many in our ancient tribe
—hearts paralyzed by trauma—still 
cannot see 
the nakba as a catastrophe for
our semitic cousins

stifling next gen voices only strengthens resolve
shutting down encampments is a 
losing proposition:
love flourishes in these life camps and
 “justice, justice, thou shalt pursue” 
remains our north star
of david

with an outstretched hand 
fingers tightly wrap around 
the braided fringes hanging at
the ends of our meditation shawls
we hear the cries of our far flung 
family in diaspora

turning inward—to the work of tikkun olam
there is a jewish renewal unfolding
a new jewish agenda being birthed 
at street seders and shabbats 
in the rain 

no one, not netennotajew nor any jew—no 
matter how hard they squeeze their eyes 
wide shut—
can unsee the future 
blowing in the wind on campuses 
in the streets and in the hearts of all 
those following next gen jews out of egypt

Rob Okun is editor emeritus of Voice Male, a magazine which has been chronicling the profeminist men's movement since the mid-1980s. His commentaries and op-eds are syndicated by the Portland, Oregon-based Peace Voice.