No Rest Just Yet




For more than 10 years, this newsletter, The 77% Weekly, has issued a “non-issue” on the last Monday of the month. (It is both humbling and electrifying to know that many people have been reading my words for even half that long.)

Last week, even though it was the last Monday of the month, I wrote about Black Lives Matter because it is far from a non-issue.

Two critiques

I believe you honor a person when you ask them to make an effort. And, while it’s difficult to see when being chastised, behind every criticism is a commitment.

My objectors could simply unsubscribe.

But they cared enough to write.

And I care enough to recognize them here.

BLM #1

I stated “So, BLM movement was established with some un-Jewish/un-Israel positions. Who cares? That’s not what this is about. The BLM movement changed positions.”

This was factually incorrect.


In BLM’s initial 2014, 40,000-word manifesto, BLM aligned with the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement calling for the total academic, cultural, and economic boycott of Israel, and BLM claimed that the Jewish State perpetrated genocide against Palestinians.

The BLM movement has not changed positions on this as I alleged they did.

(I am sorry for that factual error.)


However, anti-Israel is not anti-Semitic. And Pro-Palestinian is not anti-Israel.


It is not un-Jewish to call out oppression and to support justice for all, including mistreated Palestinians.


(If you were a Jewish kid who gave money to JNF to “make the desert bloom,” you might be sickened to learn that 2/3 of the forests were planted over, with the intent of concealing destroyed Palestinian villages.)


This is why I wrote: Who cares? That’s not what this is about.


Bringing up anti-Semitic possibilities is CHANGING THE SUBJECT from the very, very important issue that needs addressing: Black lives matter.

BLM #2


The second rebuff was with regard to my assertion that “Almost three Black people are being killed by the police for every one white person. THREE TIMES.”


I was sent stats showing that in 2019 there were 259 Blacks killed by police as opposed to 406 whites. Which would seem to contradict what I wrote—that I was way off.

I wasn’t.


Were more whites (406) killed by law enforcement than Blacks (259)?


But not proportionally.


2017 census bureau stats show 234 million whites and 40 million Black or African Americans. If Black people and white people were killed by law enforcement at the same rate, (remembering, of course, that being Black is not supposed to be a crime), an additional 1,100 whites would have been killed.


So the number should have been FOUR TIMES.

Any number is too many. This issue needs to be addressed.



Two Asks


Support Black Lives

  • put a BLM sign up in the background of your Zoom window
  • donate to Black-led causes
  • Watch the documentary 13TH
  • Read this article about how predictable it was/is that white folk are retreating


Keep hope alive.

Do not get too scared right now.

As Rabbi Nachman of Breslov wrote:

The whole world is a narrow bridge, what is important is not to add to the fear.

As the Chinese aphorism goes:

The birds of worry and fear will always encircle your head, over this you have no control. That they make a nest in your hair, over this you have a choice.

As Larry taught me:

Hope is a decision. You have to choose to have it.

Dig within yourself to NOT give up.

You are the product of generations of those who did not give up.

You know what life without hope is.

Do not give up.

Be both heartbroken and hopeful. Both.

As Larry also taught me:

I would rather live with hope and be occasionally wrong than live without it and be always right.

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer resides in Portland, Oregon. He is the founder and head of Religion-Outside-The-Box, an internet-based, global group of 3.2K+ digital-age seekers. ROTB produces excellent spiritual content.

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