Three Jewish Practices in Solidarity with Standing Rock

If you’ve been following the news or social media recently, you’re probably familiar with the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If not, here’s a run down.

Energy Transfer Patterns, a privately held company, is attempting to build a $3.7 billion dollar pipeline from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota to a refinery near Chicago. The project, which is being executed with the help of the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers, would span 1,1720 miles, and would threaten Native American lands and contaminate the water supply in areas with large Native American populations—contamination that other communities, like the mostly-white Bismark area, managed to avoid.

In opposition to the pipeline project and the resultant damage, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of Native American and non-Native supporters and allies have set up camps in Cannon Ball, ND. Acting as water protectors at a number of resistance camps and prayer camps, the protesters are fighting for their right to clean land and water, and have remained unarmed and peaceful. In response, they have been assailed by a highly militarized police force, and violent tactics such as mace, tear gas, rubber bullets, and over 400 arrests as of November.

The water protectors, however, have no intention of backing down, and their efforts may be rewarded. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced in September that it was temporarily halting construction permits, and President Obama has issued vague statements at the beginning of the month alluding to “whether or not this can be resolved in a way…that is properly attentive to the traditions of the first Americans.”

However, those advancements, no matter how hard won they were, are not nearly guarantees, and the water protectors struggling at Cannon Ball and the surrounding areas need solidarity and support now more than ever.

Tikkun olam, the sense that all human life is intrinsically valuable and deserves dignity, and the notion of stewardship over the land are all central tenets of what it means to exist and practice as a Jew. This has led many to lend their support to the Standing Rock struggle, with methods ranging from physically showing up to stand in solidarity, to donating money, time, or resources, to contacting lawmakers to stand with Native Americans against the pollution of their land and water. A good list of steps to take can be found here.

A number of Jewish individuals and groups, though, have made incorporated solidarity with Standing Rock into their spiritual and communal Jewish practices.

These are three examples:

1) Hashkivenu for Standing Rock

Mónica Gomery, Jessica Rosenberg, and Mackenzie Reynolds, three Rabbinical students, have developed a version of the Hashkivenu—the second paragraph of the Shema, and a petitionary prayer to be able to lie down in peace at night and wake up the next morning—specifically for the struggle at Standing Rock. It can be found here.

On their prayer, they had this to say:

2) Day of Public Jewish Fasting for Standing Rock

Jonah Sampson Boyarin, Jessica Rosenberg, and MJ Kaufman have called for a day of public Jewish fasting on Thursday, November 10th. The Facebook event can be found here.

On the fast, they had this to say:

3) Organizing as Jews in Petition for Standing Rock

The Network of Spiritual Progressives and Tikkun Magazine have opted to organize around the Jewish spiritual leaders in a petition, wherein Jews can express their stand with the water protectors as a part of the Jewish community. The petition can be found here.

On the petition, the Network had this to say:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Three Jewish Practices in Solidarity with Standing Rock

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