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Forty-four voices of Jews (and one Christian) here struggling with the meaning of Judaism and Jewish life in the 21st Century. Not armchair theoreticians but rather participants who have been there: to Israel, in the streets of U.S. cities bearing placards, risking jail, working among the neglected, conscientious objectors, mothers, refuseniks, rabbis, soldiers, fathers of the fallen, journalists and professors. These are the voices of an increasingly vocal segment of Jewry, and an increasingly pertinent one. They all represent the voices of the historic and progressive Jewish tradition of peace and justice. From the courageous women monitoring checkpoints between Israel and its occupied territories to comforting prisoners in a U.S. prison system to caring for animals and people in trouble, these voices speak out on behalf of human rights for all as well as opposition to the disease of war.

There is now a profound and potentially long lasting moral crisis for many Jews who must choose between extolling uncritically whatever Israel (and any other nation) decides to do to others, and maintaining the Jewish age-long commitment to justice, to the poor, the hungry, the helpless, the oppressed (including Palestinians as well as Jews suffering from anti-Semitism). Jews must choose between an emerging form of Judaism where Israel is revered without question as the only safeguard against genocide, or shall we embrace an ancient Jewish tradition that, only where human rights are respected for all can Jews find true security and equality -- a view nourished during two millennia of the Diaspora, and which has proudly seen Jews at the forefront of struggles for civil rights, labor rights, anti-militarism and compassion for the most vulnerable among us.

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