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Being a Jew

French police stand guard outside the
Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse on
Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
I shared with my Bnai Mitzvah Students today news of the attack just yesterday on a young Jew in France (click here for the article) as well as a shul voicemail I received yesterday (one of 5) from a person urgently arguing that the only way for my Jewish soul to be saved is to accept Jesus' blood as an atonement for the Jews. My thinking was/is that, while our children are blessed to grow up in the supportive Jewish environment at shul and home, both Jewish places where Jews and non-Jews love and learn and grow together, there are students in our shul's class and in their friendship circles who I know encounter much harsher realities. I shared that, though I feel incredibly proud to be a Jew, there are moments that remind me that being a Jew is not so simple, and not always the Freedom ending of the Pesach story. I told my students that, while I believe the person who left me the messages is likely in need of some help, I also felt a bit afraid - as a Jew - when I heard his voice. Sometimes, I shared, being a Jew touches the fear and uncertainty of our history.

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Sometimes, it isn't about nuance.
Sometimes it just comes down to facing the storm,
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no soul impervious to life itself no nation purely noble.
If it were any other way,
there would be no need for cathedrals
in the first place.

Kneel,  stand,  sit,  rise up.

To kneel is
to submit  to lower oneself  to step down  to pause.
To kneel is to call attention  to touch the Earth's face to listen to those  whose blood saturates  the very roots of our story.
To kneel is to step aside  to step outside  to invite others to come closer  to remember.
To kneel is not to stand not to stand not to stand idly by.
Speak your truth,
God damn it.

That's what God wants most of all.

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