[Isaiah], the exemplar of love and justice, says that God's people must share their bread with the hungry, welcome the poor into their homes and clothe the naked. [Jonah] is a whole other story. He flees rather than obey God's command to preach to the Ninevites. Why should he care about them? They weren't even Jews. God thought otherwise: Everyone counts and should have the opportunity to change. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, and the people repented.
For Daniel Sokatch, discussion leader and executive director of the Progressive Jewish Alliance, it means reconsidering capital punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear three final appeals from prisoners on California's death row. On Dec. 13, the state will execute Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who has been imprisoned for 24 years for committing four murders.
Williams spends much of his time coauthoring books that tell young people not to ruin their lives as he did. Sokatch sees this as evidence of a spiritual change. For that reason, and for the sake of the divine spark within, Sokatch does not want Williams put to death in his name -- that is, in the name of the people of California.