It is also heartening to see the ongoing support we share with each other, be it carpooling to Shiva homes or participating
in morning minyan with an upcoming Bat/Bar Mitzvah, be it coordinating meals for members in need using tools like mealmein.com or purchasing CNS merchandise to support the community as a whole, we are ever more committed to fulfilling our mission as a Jewish sacred community in service of the world. Netivot Shalom is a shul that inspires us to model with each other the very best we must then offer the world we share.
This week was particularly special for our community, as our community's Torah Commentary, Paths of Torah, was named a FINALIST in the National Jewish Book Awards! The teachings of CNS' first twenty years, lovingly edited, are now part of the American Jewish cannon.Kol haKavod to the creative team of Claudia Valas (project manager), Peter Strauss (editor), Judith McCullough (associate editor), Lee Bearson (book designer), and Ellen Gobler (layout editor)!
I believe that the power of our precious community is meant to do good in the larger world. Wherever we go, whatever we do, be it at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, where last month Dan Schifrin, Mark Priven, and I packed oranges and met with the Director of Development to imagine an expanded communal relationship, be it the visionary dreaming the Youth Task Force and the CNS Board are doing to launch our next phase as a multi-generational community, be it any of the many things that comprise our life as Netivot Shalom, we should always be reaching higher and higher, deeper and deeper.
In two weeks I will stand in Washington DC alongside my brother, Pastor Michael McBride (from our sister house of worship The Way), where he and I will participate in a 100-clergy action addressing gun violence in America.
I spoke with Amitim about this a few days ago, as the trip will occur when I would otherwise be learning with them. I shared with Amitim that I have no idea what will come from this action, but that I know all the same that I am called to be there. I believe we are supposed to name this problem in our society, to call out for a safer and saner world. How can we not? How could I choose not to go?
Chevreh, every mitzvah is a gift, a connection, a possibility. Choose a new one in the coming week. Just one.
Find a private or communal moment and daven with all your heart;
find the time to reach out to someone else;
find the strength to ask someone for the help you need;
stand up as part of our larger community;
call out for justice in our country, in Israel, in the world;
move the world one step closer to peace by reconciling with someone with whom you experience conflict;
learn and teach Torah.
We'll never accomplish it all, but we must be absolutely committed to trying. May we be blessed to find ourselves - as individuals and as Netivot Shalom - strong enough to do what we're called to do in the world.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…