Greetings from Guatemala! Saludos desde Guatemala! I am spending the week in this Central America country, just south of Mexico, as a Global Justice Fellow. We’re a cohort of US Rabbis dedicated to learning about global Human Rights, Land, Water & Climate Justice, and Sexual Health & Rights, in a program run by American Jewish World Service (www.ajws.org). American Jewish World Service, inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. We begin our exploration today in Guatemala City, the capitol. We’re meeting with human rights workers, and also with attorneys advocating on behalf of victims of human rights violations that were committed or condoned by the State. Accused perpetrators include senior elected officials and military officers accused of genocide and other grave human rights violations. Tomorrow, we expect to meet with the US Ambassador to Guatemala, Luis Arreaga. Why should Jews care about what’s happening around the globe? There are many answers to this question, but I’ll cite three here, and more as I process this trip and speak about it back at Temple Emanuel. For one, I hold that ALL human beings are created b’tzelem Elohim – in God’s own image – and are therefore worthy of respect and fundamental human rights. For another, today’s world is profoundly interconnected. What happens far away impacts my own family; certainly many people (almost always invisible to me) are impacted by the ways I shop and the decisions made by my government in my name. As an American, I know that my country has fomented great tumult in many poor countries, including Guatemala. In addition, Jews are a global people. The fates of many nations impact the fates of Jews. To care about Jews means to care about the world. Here are a few pictures of our group. I plan to send you more on Thursday, as we continue to the town of Quezaltenango. There will be even more on my Facebook page, “Rabbi Dean Shapiro.”