More from Rabbi Waskow & Aaron Bushnell on Resistance


We are meditating on the disturbing news of the tragedy in Gaza and on a disturbing act of self-immolation by Aaron Bushnell meant to bring attention to this crisis.

“Aaron Bushnell’s Friend: ‘Honor the Message that He Left.'” Democracy Now

Rabbi Waskow compares Aaron’s act of self-immolation to the attack on October 7 against Israelis as well as the Israeli response and finds it far less extreme than either. He arranged to cause terrible pain to—himself, not another. Killing others is normal, at least if you have a colorful flag to wave.

Some have attributed Aaron’s act to a mental disease or to a traumatic childhood where he grew up in a sect called “Community of Jesus” or to his belonging to the military itself. Waskow disagrees. 

And he poses this question: The Spirit, Dancing in the Light. Is that where my cousin Aaron is? I don’t know.  How can I?

Rabbi Waskow comments: I found myself deeply moved by Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation — the second in the U.S. that was occasioned by the ongoing war/ devastation in Gaza. My emotions were stirred in contradictory directions, as yours may have been when you heard the news.

Are your emotions “stirred in contradictory directions” on hearing this news of self-immolation and maybe even seeing in on the YouTube channel where Aaron posted it? 

“American rabbis call for immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza.” TRT World

Rabbi Waskow’s position is this: When the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael are at peace, so am I. When they are shedding each other’s blood, I feel torn. I share my blessing with you that each of us chooses an action we WILL take to end this bloodshed.*

And what about us? How are we responding to this horrific war being carried out in our name by our government in league with an anti-democratic and failed leader, Netanyahu?

Some are pressuring the Biden administration to push harder for a ceasefire and to put distance between America and the Netanyahu government. The recent visit by a Netanyahu political rival to visit with the vice president in Washington DC was part of that drive. 

“What I Witnessed in Gaza Is a Holocaust: Palestinian Writer Susan Abulhawa.” Democracy Now

Hundreds of thousands of voters in Michigan and Minnesota primaries and elsewhere protested the killing of 30,000 people in Gaza. Efforts to wake up the Biden administration to the moral and spiritual demands in face of this slaughter of innocents seems to be having an effect.


https://mailchi.mp/theshalomcenter/self-immolator-protests-gaza-bloodshed?e=b9b5e3803b

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

Banner image: “US/UK complicity in Israel’s war crimes.” Alisdare Hickson on Flickr.


Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize the courage and generosity in yourself and in those all around us who are committed to standing up for peace and justice? Do you derive inspiration from the people we have been remembering from the past in recent DM’s as well as the woman protesting in Vietnam and the young soldier in Washington DC?


Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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3 thoughts on “More from Rabbi Waskow & Aaron Bushnell on Resistance”

  1. Avatar

    The human atrocities of war continue in Sudan, Gaza, and Ukraine… Our human hearts have been broken by the continued needless human losses and suffering of our sisters and brothers in those countries… We somehow continue having Faith and prayers that God’s Spirit of Love~Wisdom~Truth~Peace~Justice~Healing~Transformation~Strength~Compassionate
    Actions~and Loving Diverse Oneness has not abandoned our hearts/lives/Souls with one another as We continue evolving as a human species in Our Sacred Mother Earth with the support of All spiritual beings in All spiritual realms…
    May the Loving Wisdom Divine Feminine Spirit be especially with-in All of our hearts/lives/Souls on this International Women’s Day as we make daily steps towards the ETERNAL LOVE~PEACE~JUSTICE of Our SOURCE~CO-CREATOR’S QUEENDOM~KINGDOM on Earth as IT IS in HEAVEN…. Amen

  2. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson MD

    At the State of the Union address, President Biden said we are going to build a big pier at Gaza, so ships can come and unload needed supplies. This means lifting the blockade! This is huge news. It also seemed that there was more energy for a cease-fire, and greater attempts at diplomacy. So Aaron’s self-sacrifice mattered. It is always true that giving one’s life for our values matters, but this is a consequence we did not look for, or maybe even hope for. Prayers for Aaron. Prayers for everyone trying to protect human rights in the world. I felt that President Biden was doing his best to overcome the intertia and selfishness in our country, and I thank God that he made sense, was coherent, and was well-received, even by Johnson, for the most part.

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