WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish clergy across the world are participating in a "rolling fast" to call attention to the situation in Darfur.
The water-only fast has been under way for about six weeks and is scheduled to continue through Rosh Hashanah in late September.
Spearheaded by the Religous Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Union of Reform Judaism, but including sponsorship from Conservative and Reconstructionist groups and others, the fast — in which clergy each commit to fast for one day — comes after more than 80 rabbis participated with RAC director Rabbi David Saperstein and American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger in a three-day, water-only fast in mid-June.
The humanitarian situation in Darfur has worsened since the government of Sudan expelled 13 humanitarian aid groups from the country in March. At a U.S. Senate hearing on July 30, Obama administration Sudan envoy Scott Gration said he was optimistic that new aid organizations promised entry into the country would be able to operate freely, but Saperstein said one shouldn’t be too hopeful.
"The repeated failures of the Sudanese government to live up to its agreements indicate that any optimism must be tempered by a realistic assessment of the situation on the ground," said Saperstein. "All people of conscience must remain vigilant and engaged concerning the pattern of ethnic cleansing by the Government of Sudan.”