Forgive and Get Forgiven Online

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New Site Launched by National Jewish Outreach Program Encourages People to Send and Request Apologies on ProjectForgiveness.com -- Will Mel Gibson’s Apology be Accepted by the Jewish Community?--

Just as Mel Gibson requests forgiveness from the entire Jewish community for anti-Semitic remarks, the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) has launched Project Forgiveness, an initiative aimed at inspiring people to contemplate requesting and granting forgiveness in advance of the Jewish New Year. Will Gibson’s apology be accepted? Will his remarks inspire others to take responsibility and request forgiveness?

The website, http://www.projectforgiveness.com, launched today, will accept postcards, letters and emails from individuals wishing to express their personal thoughts regarding forgiveness. The Jewish New Year is a time when forgiveness plays a vital role similar to New Years resolutions associated with January 1. NJOP has teamed with noted psychologist, speaker and author Dr. David J. Lieberman to provide insight on the psychological implications of forgiveness.

“We launched ProjectForgiveness.com because the Jewish New Year is not only a time for Jews to work to repair their relationships with the Al-mighty, but to mend troubled relationships with friends and acquaintances,” said Rabbi Buchwald, Founder and Director of the National Jewish Outreach Program. “Jewish law goes so far as to say that one who has not repaired his/her human relationships, can not really attain forgiveness in his/her relationship with G-d. It is no small challenge to request or grant forgiveness. We hope that people will be inspired by others’ expressions of forgiveness. Perhaps after taking the first step online, some will connect directly to mend fences.”

“When I heard about National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) Project Forgiveness, I expressed immediate interest in supporting the program,” said David J. Lieberman, PhD. “If you are struggling with forgiveness, you understand the challenge it can be to grant or to request forgiveness. As NJOP hopes to inspire us to consider forgiveness during the days leading to the Jewish New Year, I welcome the opportunity to take part in this project and help shed light on how the path to forgiveness is also the path to the emotional freedom we all deserve.”

Of Gibson’s apology, Rabbi Buchwald, founder of the National Jewish Outreach Program says, “The Talmud states: In a place where the penitent stands, even the most righteous can not stand. We understand Gibson is seeking treatment for alcohol abuse and wish him a complete recovery. If Gibson indeed takes responsibility for his actions when he is well, and is sincere in his regret, then his apology will be welcomed. Mostly, it is our hope that his comments inspire us all to consider our every action and interaction with our fellow human beings.”

Gibson’s comments were posted on the projectforgiveness.com site yesterday.

To participate in Project Forgiveness, send an email or mail a letter, postcard or other expression of forgiveness to:

Project Forgiveness

National Jewish Outreach Program

P.O. Box 1931

Kingston, NY 12402-1931

About the National Jewish Outreach Program

Founded in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald to address the critical issues of assimilation and lack of Jewish knowledge, NJOP is now one of the largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations in the world. To date, more than 920,000 people have benefited from NJOP’s innovative, free programs which have been held in 3,645 locations—including synagogues, community centers, military bases and college campuses—in all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces and 32 countries around the world. (http://www.njop.org).

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Ilya Welfeld