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Rabbi Rachel Timoner

Israeli and Palestinian flags painted on a brick wall

It’s Shabbat morning and I am in a van making its way along a dusty, bumpy road. On my right is a young Arab-Israeli doctor in a hijab. In front of her is a middle-aged Jewish Israeli pediatrician. In front of me is an Eritrean nun, and she is sitting next to Professor Raphi Walden, a vascular surgeon on the management team at Sheba Hospital outside Tel Aviv and president of Physicians for Human Rights Israel.

The sights and sounds of last night’s Kabbalat Shabbat service at the Tel Aviv port are still with me – the sun setting over the Mediterranean as hundreds of people in...

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This past weekend, we observed Memorial Day, when we honor and remember generations of Americans who went to war and gave their lives for freedom, for democracy, for the noblest principles of this nation. This weekend, we also learned two things: ICE, Immigration Control and Enforcement, is forcibly removing children from their parents at our Southern border; and a school board in Northern Georgia voted unanimously to arm its school teachers with guns, hoping to become the first in a national trend. This Memorial Day, when we bring our attention to the lives lost through war – sometimes...

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Rabbi Rachel Timoner being arrested by NYPD while wearing a prayer shawl

I sat on the police bus in the dark with my hands cuffed behind me, and I knew I was safe. During my arrest for civil disobedience with 18 other rabbis in protest of the Muslim ban in front of the Trump Hotel in New York City, the police had been respectful and even kind. I knew I had the right to participate in civil disobedience and that there are not yet laws criminalizing protest in the United States (as some lawmakers are proposing). I knew I was being represented by a team of excellent volunteer attorneys, and that I am white and not poor – and a rabbi.

These last factors...

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