He was the first rabbi I saw to openly address the Palestinian nakba (the Palestinian experience of dispossession and exile as a direct consequence of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948) and publicly refusing to participate in the community-wide Israel Solidarity Day.
Rabbi Rosen is in the middle of a remarkable congregational trip to Israel/Palestine. Instead of the usual, Israeli-Jewish tour guide covering the standard Israeli Zionist narrative, his trip is led by a Jewish-Palestinian tourism agency. You can read a fascinating diary of Rabbi Rosen's Israel-Palestine trip on his blog Shalom Rav.
There are many local coexistence programs in Israel-Palestine. This is a wonderful way for American Jews to support these local efforts, and, at the same time to construct a new, Jewish-American narrative for Israel that acknowledges Palestine. We can help realize the vision for coexistence in Israel-Palestine by supporting the pioneers and by rethinking our received beliefs on the history of Israel-Palestine.
When I moved to the States some 12 years ago people here were largely ignorant of the issues. In 2000, I addressed a skeptical Jewish audience trying to convince them of settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. We have come a long way since then. But, at the same time, for American Jews, Israel is still a very difficult topic. At a time when Jews are avoiding the divisive topic of Israel, Rabbi Rosen is engaging fully with the issues and opening up the conversation in the American Jewish community.
|With Rabbi Brant Rosen (at a worker justice rally in Chicago in the summer)|