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Season for Interfaith-Intercultural Celebration

9-Week Self Study Program

Week TWO: Restorative Justice

Interview Dialogues
Discussion Questions
Preparation & Background

Related Global Manifesto
Further Reading/ Links


Rabbi Deborah Bronstein on Justice from the Perspective of Judaism
Educated at Spertus College of Jewish Studies and Northeastern Illinois University, Deborah is Rabbi at Congregation Har HaShem in Boulder, Colorado. She has a deep interest in the prophetic dimension of Judaism and its relevance in our time.

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Download Call Notes

Dr. Sallie B. King on Non-Judgement and Justice
Profesor and Head, Department of Philosophy and Religion, James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia). Formerly President, Society for Buddhist - Christian Studies. Co-clerk, Harrisonburg Friends Meeting. Co-editor, Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia.


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Download Call Notes




1. Why, in your opinion, is the concept and practice of justice so central to Jewish thought and life? (And in all three of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?)

2. How is justice a dimension of the spiritual life?





Judaism is the tradition grounded in the religious beliefs and practices and the way of life of the Jewish people. It finds its anchor in the monotheism adopted by the biblical Hebrews. In this early period there also developed a belief in the ultimate coming of God's kingdom on earth, a time of peace and justice. While not all Jews subscribe to the belief in the coming of the Messiah, many still hold to this ancient hope. Judaism is a religion and a civilization that emphasizes the personhood of all its adherents. It is grounded in trust in God’s covenant with God’s people. Observance is shaped by adherence to the divine commandments or expectations, which have both a ritual and an ethical character. Judaism celebrates life and culture and enjoins its followers to the celebration of life’s essential goodness andto service to humankind in the name of God.

Excellence: The most profound celebration of the holiness of every dimension of existence, of the oneness and the universal presence of God. The celebration of the wonder and richness of community.
Story: Exodus and Sinai
Ritual Pattern: Seder
Ethic: Do justice

Theme: Non-Judgement and Justice

Does forgiveness require redress of grievances? Does true justice demand retribution or atonement? What are the implications of the Buddhist concepts of non-attachment and non-judgment for the pursuit of social justice and human rights? These are just a few of the questions we take up with Sallie King, one of the foremost experts on Buddhist social engagement. Sallie argues that while Buddhists generally regard “human rights” as an important concept, many think that the notion of “justice” is not so useful, since it is often seen as a prerequisite – and therefore an impediment – to finding peace.

Sallie offers a Buddhist critique of popular notions of justice, with special attention to topics including:
• Identity politics—the sense of victimhood, which nourishes suffering and keeps it going generation to generation.
• Righteous Indignation—the angry sense that we are justified and the others are wrong.
• Revenge—the linking of the concept justice to retribution, which merely perpetuates conflict.

Excerpt from Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope at a Time of Cultural Sea Change (Jim Kenney, Quest Books 2010), p. 225:

Theologian Walter Wink, as we’ve noted, offers an evocative “new story” flourish to the peace-culture paradigm. Human societies since prehistory, he argues, have most often lived by the myth of redemptive violence, the story, told in countless variants, of good overcoming evil. That victory, however, is always accomplished through violence. It’s a story that dominates the literature and imagery of our own modern society, the tale of the villain who just needs killing. Now, however, Wink and many others see a new myth taking shape, already emergent in some ways, still horizonal in others. It’s the myth of restorative justice, the powerful new story that recognizes the interrelated values of peace, justice, and sustainability and teaches the lesson that peace can often be secured by restoring the missing leg of the tripod.


Links & Media

LINK: Quotes from the World's Religions on Justice
LINK: Video Meditation on Justice



The Brandt Report: (1980: international development) CLICK HERE TO READ
& Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration : (Parliament of the World's Religions, 1993: ethical principles on which the world's religions can come together) CLICK HERE TO READ



Congregation Har HaShem: http://www.harhashem.org/1/Home.php

Sallie King’s article, “Being Benevolence: the Social Ethics of Engaged Buddhism”