January 3, 2019 // Tevet 6, 5780

Dear Haverim,

I'm experiencing a myriad of feelings and emotions as I process the news of the past 24 hours. Like you I'm sure, I'm feeling shock, anger and fear by the very real potential of a war with Iran - brought about by the US government's reckless, cynical actions. What on earth should we possibly feel or do in response to news such as this? While I know there are no easy answers to this question, I'd like to share some personal memories that are providing me with a measure of hope even in the midst of this fearful moment.

As some of you know, I participated in an interfaith peace delegation to Iran with the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 2008, shortly after the election of Barak Obama. It was a life changing experience for me, and I still savor many indelible memories from that trip on a regular basis. I remember particularly well the cautious optimism we shared with the Iranian people we met that we might possibly be on the cusp of a new diplomatic era between our two countries 

This morning I went back and read my blog posts from that trip. And while it filled me with a deep sadness to contemplate how far we've fallen to reach this fearful political moment, it also helped me to summon the sweet, fragile hope of those days. I'm holding on to that hope right now and I encourage you to do so as well. 

I'll end with a quote from my final blog post, an excerpt from a public letter that was written by the human rights group, Iranian Mothers for Peace. While it is so very painful to realize these words could well have been written yesterday, I am still inspired and motivated by their call to action. 

In 2020, may we heed their courageous call.

To all peace-loving mothers of America:

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing each American family $25,000 a year during a time in which the United States is in an economic crisis, with many citizens still lacking health care and economic stability.  Once again American Government officials are singing the ominous song of war – this time against Iran. It is unjust for our children to be killed and murdered while the weapons manufacturers and oil monopolies collect blood money.

Therefore, we are asking all of you peace-loving American mothers to oppose the war and those who are inciting the war in order to prevent this mistake from happening again. Please do not let our children draw weapons against each other. Please do not allow the decision makers to force Iranian, American, Iraqi, and Afghani mothers to suffer from pain and heartbreak for their children forced into fighting unjust wars.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Brant Rosen