Today's After Birkat haMazon talk "A Prophetic Call from Ferguson... and Beyond" with our
teacher Pastor Michael McBride was provocative, well attended, and
riveting. He had just returned from Ferguson, and the stories he shared
shocked and galvanized us, shaking us like the call of a shofar. Many
attendees asked for links to his work and related information. Pastor
McBride is the National Director of the PicoNetwork's LifeLines to
Healing Campaign, designed to reduce Urban Gun Violence and Mass
Incarceration, a group that has been on the ground in Ferguson and many
other sites of violence and racism, bringing peace and hope to many,
We also heard from Netivot Shalom members, leaders of Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, Molly Shapiro, Kate Smallenburg Burch, Rabbi Dorothy Richman, and Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, ways in which Netivot Shalom can begin to make a difference in prison reform, safe neighborhoods, and schools, all issues related to Pastor Mike's sacred work. We will be learning in an upcoming after Birkat haMazon teaching (with Rabbi Rothbaum) more about California's Prop 47, as a partner of Bend the Arc in performing the mitzvah of Tikkun Olam, repairing 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&…