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The Only Democracy Wishes You Knowledge and Power This Shavuot

By Jesse Bacon

The Jewish Holiday Shavuot, which begins tonight, commemorates the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai. It is the very epitome of revelation from on high. But this holiday, revelation is not from a mountaintop. It is cumulative, from a thousand different places.. It is cumulative, dare I say it, open source. And what have we learned? We have learned that Israeli Democracy is being withdrawn bit by bit, even from its Jewish citizens. As if we are watching the tape of Sinai in reverse, with the law being taken away, one person at a time, back into a dusty tablet, and then eventually out of reach.

But we also have learned that the crowd is not taking this quietly. In the best tradition of complaint, people are demanding it back. Starting with the Palestinian people at the very back, out of sight in prison cells, under  guard towers,beneath  gag orders, menaced by midnight raids, and in the shadow of the Wall.  Thier truths are spreading to their allies in Israel and around the world all the way to the University of Berkeley and beyond. People are demanding the manna be shared equally just as it was in the bible story. Here we see the tape on fast forward, as the process of coming out for democracy accelerates, blooms, and spreads. Everyone a Sinai. What will you do when it reaches you?

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JESSE BACON (Philadelphia) is a freelance activist and father. He has a Masters in teaching from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He is an observant progressive Jew, and is trying to be a good ally for Palestinians and all dispossessed peoples, while staying true to the best traditions in Judaism. He visited Israel and Palestine in 1996, 2001, and 2002. He served for three years on the local steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago, and one year on the board of Pursue the Peace in Seattle. Read his posts here.

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