Occupy Judaism is for *radical* Jewish activists looking to take their views and rituals to a public space. In relation to the collective Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Judaism plays a much different role. For one, Occupy Judaism Philadelphia is focusing part of their Sukkot energy into a Fair Food rally at Trader Joes. Besides for this obviously screaming #yuppieproblems, it seems to be off the mark on the collective Occupy protest. There is great reason in protesting for Fair Food on the harvest week of Sukkot. In fact, it’s probably one of the greatest radical Sukkot ideas I’ve heard (Obviously behind sukkah hopping. Sharing junk food = socialism). But how does this message relate to our neighbors?
I understand that most of us Jews do not have the same problem as these protestors. Most of us are not in crippling debt. Being at the higher end of the Middle Class, it’s hard to understand not being able to afford three meals a day and a roof over your head. This isn’t the movement that our Jewish parents were involved in during the 60′s and 70′s. Occupy Wall Street is about class warfare. And Jews tend to be on the other side of this fight. Even the reaction I have gotten from many Jews, including ones involved in Occupy Judaism, were laughing and questioning why the people on the other side of the park were even protesting. We are comfortable and selfish. And we don’t understand that this is a broader problem that needs broader solutions.
If you cant comprehend what someone is going through, but understand they are feeling pain, you can at least stand next to them and say “hey, we are with you, we want your life to suck less, too.”
What I would like to see is a greater participation of Occupy Judaism in the realm of Occupy Wall Street. Use a microphone and talk about how you support everyone. If you’re against corporate greed, then speak up about it. Talk about it. Invite the leaders of your local OWS movement to come to your sukkah. Invite your rabbi. Get everyone together and have a conversation. Ask others how the Jewish community can help OWS.
Is Occupy Judaism just riding the coat tails of Occupy Wall Street?
I understand that this is a new movement within another new movement and therefore is still trying to understand themselves, but Occupy Judaism seems to be less about Occupy Wall Street and more about discussing Jewish theology. I want both groups to succeed. I would just prefer that right now Occupy Judaism worked with Occupy Wall Street, without trying to label or separate themselves from the movement. In the future I would love to see Occupy Judiasm focus inwards at some point, and try to work towards liberalizing Judaism.