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The podcast of the Sacred Inclusion Network

Oct 24, 2023

Cat Zavis discusses her personal journey and insights on integrating spiritualism and activism. Zavis is Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives

Cat and her colleague, Rabbi Michael Lerner, have worked tirelessly to build a Religious left movement in Israel, countering the religious right movement. They recognize the trauma and PTSD experienced by both Israelis and Palestinians and understand that Israel, as the dominant power, has the responsibility to address the unjust and inhumane situation created through the occupation.

Having personally witnessed the devastating situation in the occupied territories, Cat emphasizes the need for healing, repair, acknowledgment, and transformation to move towards justice. Trauma plays a significant role in both Israeli and Palestinian reactions, reinforcing a cycle of domination and imposing trauma on others.

This episode was recorded as a precurser to the April 2023 Sacred Inclusion Network Syposium on Spiritualty and Social Justice.

Zavis shares her journey of discovering her passion for social justice. Although she always felt a spiritual connection as a secular Jew and explored various spiritual paths she didn't find answers that integrated her outrage and passion until she discovered Judaism's powerful blend of spirituality and social justice. She highlights the tension between the domination worldview, which promotes power and oppression, and the love worldview, rooted in connection and care. Social change movements often reflect these contrasting ideologies, and the work of social justice extends beyond fights for specific issues to raising consciousness.

The conversation delves into the importance of prophetic empathy as a bridge between these worldviews. While activism can sometimes conflict with spiritual beliefs, it is necessary to heal the world. Zavis draws inspiration from the story of Moses, who was sent to overthrow the consciousness of oppression. Engaging in social justice work can be profoundly spiritual, challenging, and transformative.

The episode concludes by discussing the importance of embracing people of different faith traditions while acknowledging historical trauma associated with oppressive religious practices. It is vital for activists to have a spiritual center to ground themselves and sustain their work, and younger generations are recognizing the need for spiritual support in their activism