Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me

Dear friends,
The song “Let There be Peace on Earth” has become a global anthem for peace and one of my favorites. Despite the violence and injustice that surrounds us, we continue to sing this song, and in the singing, affirm our optimism, hope, and continued belief that peace is possible. And most importantly, the song acknowledges our own responsibility for bringing this possibility to light. A few years back, Robert Fulghum wrote a popular book titled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  So in that spirit, I propose that all we really need to know about letting peace begin with us can be Continue reading

Rights and Responsibilities

Dear friends,
December 15th was the 229th anniversary of the ratification of our Bill of Rights. These first ten amendments to the Constitution did not “create” rights, but rather clarified the constitution to protect them. Outlining these inalienable, pre-existing rights and liberties and setting up a system to prohibit our Government from infringing on them is the foundation of this country, and the beacon that continues to inspire and attract.

  • The rights of freedom of speech and religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom to dissent;
  • The right to keep and bear arms.
  • Protection from quartering of troops
  • The expectation of privacy, and protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
  • Due process of law and freedom from arbitrary imprisonment via habeas corpus
  • A speedy and public trial by an impartial jury;
  • The right to a civil trial by jury
  • Protection from cruel and unusual punishment.
  • Liberty from unwarranted government intrusion and protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Constitution.
  • Powers of States and people

Continue reading

Stand Up and Be the Light

Dear friends,
Today many people around the world are marking the 72nd anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year’s theme is “Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights”, reaffirming the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
Today also begins the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of light. And shortly after the eight days of Hanukkah, the winter solstice will turn the earth more and more toward the light. One of my favorite Hanukkah traditions is of the shamash, the ninth candle in the menorah. It is the helper candle used to light the other eight candles. After a hard year we all need a little light in the darkness. But today, let Continue reading

Keepers of Peace and Justice

Dear friends,
For as long as I can remember, JRPC has held a “Kid’s Night” in December, an opportunity for our youngest folks to shop and learn about fair trade. I will miss this part of our holiday tradition. It was hard work, but the rewards were many — faces lit up with joy at finding that perfect gift, the care taken to wrap each one just right and the pride as each gift was carried home to the tree. This year will require some adjustments, but hopefully we can find ways to keep the magic because we all need that. I don’t have children but I do appreciate Continue reading