346: Readers Tell Us About … Honors for a Rabbi, Spiritual Campaign to End Torture and Inaugural Prayers

hank you, readers, for your warm and wonderful notes! It’s time for our Friday Reader Roundup in which we turn the page over to you, sharing concerns you’ve raised throughout the past week! We’ve got LOTS to share, so here goes …


We told you so — and early, too!
    We just got word that on March 9, the beloved writer and sage Rabbi Harold Schulweis will be honored at the Jewish National Book Awards as the prize winner in the category “Contemporary Jewish Life and Practice.”
    Bravo to the rabbi, who is in his 80s and gave the world this very important little volume at precisely the moment when we all need to hear this tough piece of spiritual wisdom.
    If you missed it, go back and read our Conversation With Rabbi Schulweis on “Conscience.” Or, visit the Jewish National Book Awards site to look over the other winners for the publishing year of 2008. There’s a free PDF file you can download to read about all the winning Jewish books — and finalists as well. Or, visit the Web site of Jewish Lights publishing, where Jewish Lights founder Stuart Matlins was an important creative force in getting this particular volume on “Conscience” to readers — just when we all need it most.


agree with you, Mr. Chairman, that waterboarding is torture.”
    With those words, Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder signaled loudly and clearly that not only would the prison at Guantanamo be closed under the new Obama administration, but that a fundamental shift on the American policy concerning torture is underway as well.
    “I haven’t seen any convincing evidence that torture has saved anyone’s life by forcing victims to scream out secrets,” Jim S, a ReadTheSpirit reader in Dallas wrote to us this week. “So, I agree with your argument that it’s a spiritual and moral issue. I won’t be fasting. Can’t do it physically. But I’ll be praying with these folks.”
    Jim was referring to our earlier story by the Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann about his fast for an end to torture and the closing of Guantanamo. Bill also is part of an effort known as 100 Days.
    “I’ve had an ache in my stomach over this for a long time. … I’m glad someone is doing something,” a middle-school teacher in Ohio wrote. “I want to be able to tell my students that, to put it bluntly, we’re the good guys again.”
    If you missed it, go back and read Bill’s first-person story about fasting — and, in that same story, you’ll also learn about several other forms of spiritual activism surrounding the inauguration.
    ALSO — Jim S and our friend in Ohio preferred not to post online comments (they dropped us an Email and you can do that, too) — but, please, don’t let that stop you from publicly voicing your concern! That’s important right now. Dr. Wayne Baker has been welcoming comments about these important, heart-felt issues at http://www.OurValues.org/ all this week. The OurValues.org Web site is a great place to have your concerns “heard” in a broader forum of readers.


And you can, too.
    Earlier this week, we published an inclusive Inaugural Prayer that got a lot of positive feedback from readers across the religious spectrum — and across the nation coast to coast. We welcome readers to spread that prayer around: copy it, email it to a friend, reprint it, pray along with other men and women.
    Of course, millions are turning to prayer right now and lots of people are offering their own prayers. That’s a great development — people feeling free to share such spiritual reflections.

    We’d like to share one more with you today, written by a racially, ethnically and religiously diverse coalition of clergy in southeast Michigan. It’s one more prayerful reflection — and suggestion of a “light” as well — for you to consider this weekend.


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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