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mlk and herzl

01/12/2017 09:34:43 AM


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… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…
- Martin Luther King Jr.

If you will it, it is no dream.
- Theodore Herzl

Two quotes written by two men who lived almost 100 years apart, and yet, I feel as if the two of them are speaking to each other and giving us a message about our current state.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke as one of the founders of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Through his words and his passion, Dr. King tried to offer a specific vision for his community and the population at large. His was a vision of togetherness and unity. It was a vision where barriers were demolished and holding hands won the day.

Theodore Herzl spoke as one of the founders of modern Zionism. Through his words and his passion, Herzl tried to motivate his people and the world to a sense of understanding that the Jewish people is a part of the world community. The Jewish people need a home of their own and they should not sit back waiting for others to create it for them. They should “will” it into existence.

Over the past weeks, I am sure you been struck by the stories about anti-Semitism and violence that has been going on around the world. Not only have we lost some of our Israeli brothers and sisters in a horrific bus attack, but there have been bomb threats at various JCC’s across the country and even swastikas spray-painted at my Rabbinic Alma Mater. Messages of hatred and violence seem to be ruling the day and we are left to ask the questions, “What should I think and what should I do?”

I suggest that you bring together those two great thinkers and activists. Dr. King encouraged us to dream. We honor Dr. King by not letting the darkness of discontent deplete us from ideas, hopes, and dreams that can guide us out of our misery. We honor Mr. Herzl by going beyond dreaming and picking ourselves up by her bootstraps, coming together as a community.

One thing that I would consider you do this coming weekend is join us on Friday evening for Shabbat services. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King day, the Cantor and I are putting together a special Shabbat service filled with music, prayers, and words that we hope will enable you to dream of a better future, as well as empower you to create that future. Now is not the time to sit at home and be alone in our darkness. Rather, now is the time to come together as a community to be uplifted and empowered.

Please know that you are not alone in your frustration with the actions of others. I look forward to seeing you soon as we work to do acts of Tikkun Olam and be a light into the nations by furthering Dr. King’s “dream” and working to make it a reality with Mr. Herzl’s “will”.

Rabbi Robert Weiner
The truck ued by the terrorist against our Israeli brothers and sisters just a few days ago.
The 4 young Israelis killed by the terrorist.
The Cincinnati campus of my Rabbinic School vandalized with an image of hatred.
Hope and actions of unity and togetherness must win the day!!!


Temple Beth Am | 203 Church Place,Yorktown Heights, NY 10598 | 914 962-7500
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