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A Tribute to Rabbi Brant Rosen’s Prophetic Voice for Justice and Peace

Rabbi Brant Rosen

We were saddened to learn that Rabbi Brant Rosen resigned from his position as Rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue, on September 2, 2014.  His 17 years of leadership were marked by his remarkable  gifts in teaching Torah; his compassion in meeting the congregation’s  pastoral needs—both personal and collective;  his guidance as JRC built a remarkable new Synagogue that has gained national recognition for its environmental excellence; and his courage to address the search for justice in the   always controversial Israeli/Palestinian conflict.   Brant’s prophetic  voice has been significant in recent years which he  described in his book Wrestling in the Daylight,  that includes his dialogue with those who agreed  and disagreed with his public statements.

FOSNA salutes Rabbi Rosen as a beloved friend and fellow-traveler in the challenging search for truth-telling about the present realities in Israel and Palestine.  Brant has been a frequent speaker at FOSNA conferences and he was a major author in FOSNA’s theology project  last year that resulted in the newly published volume Zionism and the Quest for Justice in the Holy Land.   We urge our friends to read and reflect on his brilliant theological analysis in chapter 3, aptly titled “Rising to the Challenge: A Jewish Theology of Liberation.”   He begins the chapter with these words: “As a Rabbi, a person of faith, and an activist committed to the values of universal human rights, my religious thinking has been profoundly influenced by the ideas of Palestinian Liberation Theology.”    This courageous affirmation begins his remarkable  essay that delves deeply into his own Jewish tradition in search of theological affirmations that embrace the equality of every human being before God, the centrality of justice in the “healing of the world” (Tikkun Olam, and the priority of non-violent resistance as one of the instruments available to us as we embrace justice and peace.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Brant, his family, and the JRC congregation as they pursue healing and the next steps for all concerned.  May this present situation open  doors  to a larger stage for Brant’s prophetic leadership.    Thank you Rabbi Brant Rosen for who you are and we look forward to a growing partnership with you in our mutual calling to be God’s instruments of truth-telling, justice, and the prophetic ministry of the Hebrew Prophets, Jesus, and Muhammad.

WRitten by Rev. Don Wagner, Program Director; Friends of Sabeel: North America