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Ending Genocide Can Be a Walk in the Park


My feet hurt. So do my kids’ feet. I’m guessing that there are about another 1,998 other pair of feet in Los Angeles that are still hurting right now.

That’s what you get when you try to make a statement on a world-wide scale about morality and genocide. I suppose it is also what happens when you spend a morning Walking to End Genocide. Standing up to take a stand sometimes leaves you feeling your morals secure and your feet sore.

It all started this morning in Warner Center Park as about 2000 of us gathered for Jewish World Watch’s annual Walk to End Genocide. It was a diverse group: adults and children, parents, grandparents and grandchildren, teens from NFTY and USY, high schoolers from New Jewish Community High School (among others), a bunch of college students from Hillel. It was also interfaith: Jews, Christians, Muslims and more. We all gathered in the hot sun to make a statement, loudly but firmly: that this world has no place, and we have absolutely no tolerance, for genocide in any of it’s forms or mutations.

Jewish World Watch, one of my favorite Jewish organizations, ensures that we who remember enduring oppression in Biblical Egypt and genocide in Nazi Germany, will raise our collective voices against modern genocides. So we march to tell the world that…

… We will not stand by after 400,000 were brutally murdered in Darfur Sudan and as the two million Sudanese refugees live in fear of a return of that genocidal brutality; and

… We will not stand idly by as hundreds of thousands of women and children are brutally raped, murdered and abused in the Congo as armies abuse the women so they become instruments of oppression and control; and

… We won’t allow the memory of the Holocaust whcih took 6 million of our people and 5 million others to become merely a slogan and our own private pain. No, we will use ou righteous anger over it to ensure that no one anywhere needs to face the scourge of genocide.

That’s why we at Congregation Or Ami ensured that over 170 members turned out to participate in and lead the walk as it’s largest delegation and biggest fundraisers (over $6000 to help end genocide). That’s why our social action chair Laurie Tragen-Boykoff and walk promoting chair Lisa Richman publicized and prodded people to come out and participate. It’s why our congregant Illece Buckley-Weber Participated on the Walk planning committee and orchestrated the silent auction. And why LOMPTY youth advisor Michelle Westmiller had our youth group participate and Mishpacha Coordinator Lauren Luskey brought out her participants enmasse.

It’s why I remain in awe of the staff, founders and board of Encino-based Jewish World Watch, who daily find new ways to stir up the Jewish community all over the country to cry out “Never Again!” and act out to bring genocide to an end.

So my feet hurt. Perhaps I will soak them. Perhaps I will call our congregant and podiatrist extraordinaire Terry Boykoff. Or perhaps I will just soak them in the nachas we are schepping (pride we are feeling) that our little congregation again took a stand – a strong, loud, few hundred person strong stand, against the murderous excesses in our world.

And then I think I will just go to bed early.

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