This year, the last Saturday of September, the regular day for the Global 100,000 Poets for Change Events around the world, falls on Yom Kippur, considered the Holiest day of the Jewish religion. Observant Jews around the world are fasting, having spent the Days of Awe leading up to Yom Kippur asking the people in their lives for forgiveness and inventorying their transgressions against Creation. Today, we Jews go to synagogue and ask Creation (G-d) for forgiveness. Another name for Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement.
First, the order matters: We ask the people in our lives for forgiveness. Then we think how we have acted against the World. Then and only then do we turn to G-d for forgiveness.
Second, saying sorry is not enough, in our tradition. It is a start. In the Jewish tradition, people must also act differently, that is, they must enact the apology with a change in how they are in the world.
Third, human purpose can be understood—in how I have been taught—as working toward Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Olam is the repair or healing of Creation. While there is definitely a range of interpretations that could be made on what this healing entails, it certainly incorporates attention to the physical world as well as the spiritual. These two intertwine and interrelate in such a way as to be inseparable. Social Justice, Environmental Sustainability, and Peace—and writing, the arts, music in service of activism for positive change—are very relevant issues to our human purpose, from this view.
And thus, on the Holiest Day of the Jewish Year, it is appropriate to work toward Tikkun Olam, asking G-d’s forgiveness for all we have done that harms our fellow humans, inventorying our own role, and moving forward with action that shows our genuine desire to change and make things right again.
And, further, as the spiritual and the physical are interrelated, so are all of the arts (literature, art, music, dance, stage, film…), so are all three of the themes: Social Justice, Environmental Sustainability, and Peace.
So this year, on Yom Kippur, we ask you to join in with your contributions from any of the arts—share your efforts toward healing and repair of our World. As you do, remember this, paraphrased from the sages:
Do not despair at the iniquity and injustice of the world in which we live. For today, that is, in this period where injustice, racism, and greed seem to have risen to power, do not give up or give in.
It is not up to us to complete the work of Tikkun Olam, but this does not free us from working toward the healing and repair of Creation. That is, although we may not achieve our goals of a just, sustainable and peaceful world in our lifetime, we must continue to make progress, and in working toward them, the healing of Creation will occur, one poem, one essay, one novel, one painting, one sculpture, one song, one symphony, one performance at at a time…
By action, not words alone, will this be done. If ever there was a time when this action is more needed than others, certainly now is one—Resistance! Activism! Peace! Sustainability! Social Justice!
Instructions for how to participate follow below.
—Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor
Thanks to Jamie Dedes for getting our virtual 100TPC underway. Travel issues left me in the lurch. My apologies. May this introduction partially atone for my tardiness in getting the event going! Instruction on how to participate in today’s event are included below:
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a [woman or] man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy South Africa, 1966
Today under the banner of 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change (100TPC) people the world over are gathered to stand up and stand together for PEACE, SUSTAINABILITY and SOCIAL JUSTICE.
Here is a sampling of the posters announcing these gatherings.They give you a small idea of how far-reaching this annual global event is and for which we have the work and vision of 100TPC cofounders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion to thank.
Think on this when you are tempted to lose all hope for our species. Remember that—not just today, but everyday—there are ripples and waves and tsunamis of faith and courage crossing borders in the form of poetry, stories, art, music, friendships and other acts of heroism. Hang tough. And do join with us—The Bardo Group Beguines—today to share your own creative work and to enjoy the work of others. All are welcome no matter where in the world you live.
Meanwhile our 100TPC host, Michael Dickel, was caught somewhere between Israel and the American Midwest, so we got off to a late start. Michael will be around during the day today. He did especially want you to have the link to the 100TPC Resist Wall, where you can post activist and resistance poetry today or any day.
POST YOUR WORK HERE TODAY
To share your poems, art, photography and music videos for our “live” virtual 100TPC today, please use MisterLinky for url links. Just click on the icon below. You can also simply paste your complete work or the url into the comments section. Remember the themes are peace, sustainability and social justice.
To read shared work see the comments section and click on Mister Linky. Enjoy!
On behalf of Michael and the rest of The Bardo Group Beguines
and in the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community,