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Post-Election Message

11/14/2016 12:03:50 PM

Nov14

 

Dear Beth Am Family,
 

Over the past week, our nation and our world has been taken on a journey, not too different from the journey of Abraham, our ancestor. God told him to “Go Forth” without giving him a GPS system or a map. Just go forward. That was definitely scary.

And regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, we now find ourselves going in a direction where we have no idea of its outcome. So what do we do? How do we manage our emotions? How do we cope with our angst?

This past Shabbat and throughout the past week, I suggested three courses. One is the path of respect for our system. As a democratic country, we celebrate the power of the people - one person, one vote. Because we have this awesome Democracy, this system sometimes goes the way we personally want it. It also means that sometimes it does not. Of course, we feel upset when it doesn’t go our way, but we must be like Joshua, our ancestor, and “be strong and be resolute.” We must respect the outcome because it is the outcome of OUR system. And let us not forget that this system is perhaps the most amazing democratic system that has ever existed in human history. It gives the power to the citizens. I can unify around that.

But this course of unity does not mean that we must unconditionally unify. Last week, we commemorated the 78th anniversary of Kritalnacht, remembering when hundreds of synagogues throughout Europe were destroyed or vandalized. That commemoration demands of us as Jews that we not unify around hatred, bigotry, and misogyny. I cannot come together around heinous language, racism, or degradation of any gender or special need.

One of our great sages, the Kotzker Rebbe, taught referring to Psalms 127:4:

 

“Like arrows in the hand of a mighty archer, so are the children in youth.” So what is the connection between arrows and children? Just as when an archer holds his bow closer to his heart, the farther and straighter the arrow flies. ​So too with raising children, the closer we hold them to our heart the farther and straighter they go.

 

One of my rabbinic colleagues notes that this should also apply to our values. My second suggestion for us is that we must hold our values close to our hearts like that archer, causing them to fly straighter and stronger. And when they are being challenged, when we hear horrific things or experience horrific actions, let the arrow fly straight and strong with our own actions. When we see the poor, the needy, or the stranger being attacked, we must stand by our Jewish values and do something. When we see the oppressed being put down, we must come to their aide. When we see our neighbors who look and act different from us being ostracized, we must stand with them.

The third suggestion is to use our Beth Am community. Please know that you are not alone. Cantor Jamie and I are there as a listening ear for you and your children. But, perhaps, more importantly, consider coming to services or programs so you can feel the warmth of others who might feel similar thoughts. The last thing we need at this time is for people to feel alone. Please see us as another home for you that is a safe place to chat and be yourselves within a Jewish community.

May our community and this nation Lech L’cha (go forth) as Abraham did years ago. While he went forth with some fear and anxiety, he also went forth into the unknown with a strong commitment to making this world a source of Shalom. May we go forth with that same charge.

B'shalom,
Rabbi Robbie Weiner

 

 

 
 
 

 
 
Tue, November 12 2019 14 Cheshvan 5780