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November 03, 2011 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-11-03

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metro >> on the cover

Occupy Wall Street

Former Detroiters supporting the movement are arrested in New York.

Esther Allweiss Ingber

I Special to the Jewish News


"I grabbed a cop's lapels to keep myself
majority of Americans — "the 99 percent"
Wedes, an activist and part-time teacher
from falling. He said, `You're under arrest.'
— who want fairness, jobs and government
in Brooklyn, is 25 and had been valedicto-
So one cop twisted my arm and another
rian of his class at Berkley High School.
threw Jim to the ground. We weren't resist-
ing: ,
"We've watched the movement grow
Occupy Detroit
within five weeks:' he said. "It's a feeling of
Being a notable couple, their story was
A modest Occupy Detroit encampment
enough is enough, and our political system
news on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.
began Oct. 14 in Grand Circus Park down-
is not working for us:'
Garvin and Lafferty were in
town. Now, the city park on
A laundry list of OWS concerns found
the custody of Brooklyn police
Woodward at Adams has
posted to Facebook: "Stop out-of-control
for 14-plus hours. Lafferty was
sprouted about 90 tents.
corporate greed. Make Wall Street account-
taken to The Tombs, colloquial
Volunteer committees and
able. Stop the endless wars. Halt the deci-
of the infamous jail, while
cooperative neighbors are
On Sept. 19, Justin Wedes was arrested
mation of the middle class and enough
supporting the fledgling
for illegal use of a bullhorn.
of the union bashing. Stop tax breaks for
Hospital Center for a psychiatric
community, and one Occupy
wealthy corporations and billionaires. Stop
east. They joined Occupy Wall Street folks
evaluation. They must return to
Detroit protester says they
incessant partisan bickering and help the
marching around Chase Bank on Oct. 12.
a New York courtroom on Dec.
don't plan to leave anytime
American people."
"After 45 minutes, the cops for some
Bonnie Garvin was
soon. Their permit expires
Involved with OWS since "day one
reason yanked a couple in their early 20s
"We are white privileged peo- arrested Oct. 12 with in mid-December.
Wedes grew up believing he could "repair
out of line, threw them on the ground and
ple; so imagine what happens to her husband as they
A diverse gathering of
the world" from his tikkun olam projects
arrested them:' said Garvin, 63. "People
people who are poor, who don't
participated in a
300-400 came together on
at Temple Beth El's Hebrew school. His
began chanting: 'The whole world is watch- have any resources?" she said of march around Chase
a workday, Oct. 20, for an
social conscience grew while attending the
ing: I was at the front of the line when a cop her experience.
Bank in New York.
Occupy Detroit demonstra-
University of Michigan Residential College,
grabbed my arm, really rough."
"We live in a country where 1
tion outside the Guardian
a four-year interdisciplinary liberal arts
Garvin and Lafferty pleaded for him
percent of the people control all the wealth
Building headquarters of Bank of
to release her. Meanwhile, people were
— that is not right:' Garvin said. Occupy
America. As Rev. Edwin Rowe of Central
"A lot of what we [OWS] is doing is mod- jammed up and pushing her from behind.
Wall Street protesters say they represent the United Methodist Church explained,
eled off of what we've seen at ral-
lies in Tel Aviv and its tent cities:'
said Wedes, who visited there on
a Birthright Israel trip. He said
people rose up to "protest the
rising cost of living and housing
becoming so unaffordable."
Wedes, on the OWS social
media team, said it's a com-
munity of inclusion at Liberty
New York Jewish Week
express real Jewish values and put them into practice.
Plaza, where group decisions are
hen a call for a Kol Nidre service
Similar complaints have echoed throughout the ages.
reached by consensus at nightly
among Jews protesting near Wall
The biblical prophets railed against the hypocrisy of Jewish
"General Assembly" meetings.
Street produced a huge response
life, warning the people that God did not want their insincere
Police arrested him and two
virtually overnight – press reports on the
sacrifices, but rather that they deal kindly with one other and
others on Sept. 19. According to
number who participated on Yom Kippur
follow the commandments.
a Village Voice report that Wedes
ranged from 500 to more than 1,000 – it
Today, in a country bitterly divided between Red and Blue,
confirmed: "Justin had lost his
was more than just an example of Twitter
liberals and conservatives, one man's Tea Party is another's
voice and was using a megaphone
Occupy Wall Street protest; we have a hard time accepting the
to try to talk to people with it.
There is a new pulse of Jewish expression earnestness of those on the other side. Both groups express
The police beat him down and
out there; you can embrace it as grassroots
discontent with things as they are. But their solutions are at
violently pushed him down to the
authenticity or feel threatened by it as anti-
odds, calling either for less or more government involvement,
establishment. But don't dismiss the fact
and insisting that the other approach spells disaster.
Wedes was ticketed for using
that significant numbers of American Jews,
Kenneth Bob, national president of Ameinu, a progressive
a bullhorn without a permit. His
particularly among the young, are combining politics and faith
Zionist organization, hails the nascent Occupy Judaism move-
court date is in December.
in ways that blend a discontent with those in authority and an
ment, writing that it "inspires creativity, develops leadership
Screenwriter/college professor
interest in exploring deeper Jewish values.
and results in community. Are these not the values that the
Bonnie Garvin of Los Angeles,
Carrying over the energy of their anger toward the busi-
Jewish community strives for?"
a 1970 graduate of Wayne State
ness elite that drew them to the Occupy Wall Street move-
Critics on the right, though, see it as artificial, even danger-
University, met her husband, Jim
ment, Jewish activists are also registering their dissatisfaction
Lafferty, at a Vietnam War protest.
with mainstream Jewish life. Some are calling for an Occupy
"The organizers' attempts to combine Judaism and today's
Lafferty, 73, is executive director
Judaism movement, as witnessed by Occupy Sukkahs sprouting
fashionable politics are simply incoherent," wrote Matthew
of the Los Angeles Chapter of the
up here and in other major cities around the country during the
Ackerman on the Commentary magazine website, calling the
National Lawyers Guild, noted for
trend "deeply troubling."
litigating civil liberty court cases
The message is both fresh and familiar: Down with the old
Have we lost the ability to accept an adversary's point of
without charge.
ways that favor the privileged and leave out the little guys.
view as genuine, perhaps containing a grain of truth?
The Californians made a
Enough of crass materialism and empty rhetoric. Time to
Those calling for radical change today are, in many ways,
detour to New York during a trip

"Occupy" Judaism

Establishment critique has back-to-the-future
quality that echoes past protests.



November 3 a 2011

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