Jan 20, 2021

Upon the Inauguration of President Joseph Biden

We Americans must decide today that ‘the political divide’ is simply a catchphrase and a distraction. The real issue is seeing people with whom we disagree as people. We must acknowledge where we all, as a shared society, are broken, if we are to truly engage in the work of healing. And we are deeply, deeply broken. All Americans, Jews included, are responsible for the reestablishment of truth and trust in our communities. As the ancient sage Rabbi Joshua ben Perachiah once said, “find for yourself a teacher, make a friend, and give all people the benefit of the doubt.” Jewish tradition would have us remember that ideas like unity and faith are shallow promises unless our communal decisions reflect the very real belief in a common good and the commitment to actions that affirm universal human dignity. The sorrow that unites us in the face of 400,000 American lives lost to COVID must translate into a culture of healing and of kindness, grace, and respect. There will be no real peace if there is not enacted justice. As Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel taught, “on three things does the world depend: on justice, on truth, and on peace.” Let there be hope. Let the great work begin today. Let it begin with me. May God bless the United States of America. 


Inauguration Day: Kindness, grace, and respect. Good morning. Today, I wept through Maya Angelou's "On the Pulse of Morning."

 

בָּרוּךְ ...הַנּוֹתֵן לַיָּעֵף כֹּֽחַ Blessed is the One who gives strength to the weary.

 


Jan 18, 2021

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

#RecitingTheLetterFromBirmingham

I just recited the letter and am in tears from the profundity of Dr. King's prophetic expression, the depths to which humanity was and remains willing to fall, and the sense that God's Hopes are alive in this text. I'm so overwhelmed. And so grateful. And I feel even more ready than I was before to pursue justice with everything I've got.

Jan 16, 2021

A comment on language,

A comment on language, something explored in the rapid-response rabbinic collection to January 6, "Remember and Do Not Forget" - using the use of the word "storming" to describe what happened romanticizes the coup attempt in the eyes of the domestic terrorists. 

I ask us consider using other words, like "attack" or "assault." Storming the Bastille was an act of liberation and led to a holiday. Storming the beaches of Normandy helped turn the tide in WWII for the allies. The assault on Washington, DC on January 6, 2021 was not noble. It was sedition. It was terrorism. It was hate incarnate.

Jan 13, 2021

Israeli Singer Ninet Tayeb performs "I have no other country", by Ehud Manor, at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

Israeli Singer Ninet Tayeb performs "I have no other country", by Ehud Manor, at Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.

Translation: 

"I have no other country 
even if my land is burning. 
Just a word in Hebrew 
pierces my veins, my soul, 
in a weak body, in a broken heart. 
This is my home.

I will not stay silent 
because my country changed her face

I will not give up reminding her 
And sing in her ears 
she will open her eyes."

Remember and Do Not Forget: Rabbinic Testimonies of January 6, 2021: A Horrific Day in American History

I wish there had been no need for this rapid-response book, testimony from 46 American Rabbis from diverse movements, locations, and political opinions, about the horrors of January 6, 2021. The voices are powerful, the messages they send their communities were honest and searing, comforting and strong. I'm especially grateful to my friend and colleague, Rabbi Jesse Olitzky, who shared in the editing of this project, and to my mentor, Ruth Messinger, for offering a prophetic foreword to the book.

To the contributors, may your words reach every corner of Heaven and Earth. May our fragile nation do better.

May God bless the United States with justice, and with peace.

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08STPFM83
Table of Contents: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookTOC
Contributor bios: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookAuthors
_________________

From the introduction:

"We will forever remember the events of January 6, 2021. We also understand that, just like Torah, there is power in collective memory. This is especially true considering that we may remember the events of this day differently, each of us reflecting on it using our own eyes, hearts – and our unique choices of words.

Was the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 a riot? A coup? Insurrection? Domestic terrorism? A protest? Words matter, and how we remember is shaped by the words we use. As the great essayist and thinker George Orwell once observed: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” We have done our best to collect diverse rabbinic testimonies from an indescribable moment of American history with a commitment to remember and a promise to not forget. We will not be defined by the threats of white supremacists and the acts of domestic terrorists. But they undoubtedly shape us and shape our view of the world.

We are not ignorant enough to think that bigotry did not exist before the Trump era nor would we be so foolish as to suggest that it will cease once that era is over. But we had thought that American society was in collective agreement that bigotry belonged in the sewers and gutters of society. But when the President amplified such bigotry in 240-characters at a time on his Twitter feed for four years straight, and worse yet, successfully used that bigotry to influence his supporters, he gave them permission to proudly and loudly -- and violently -- express such hateful bigotry for the world to see and incite violence. We are not ignorant enough to believe that Amalek has ceased to exist.

But it is our deepest prayer that as long as we remember, as long as we continue to call out the events of this dark day for what they are, then the bigotry of Amalek will return to the sewers of society, where it belongs."

Torah in the Morning!

 

Jan 5, 2021

Announcing: the second volume of my father's reflections: 'Praying for Our Country!'

 ***Special Announcement ***


Thrilled to announce the publication of the second volume of my father's reflections: 'Praying for Our Country!' These essays, selected from his teachings 1998-2014, touch on:

- The Supreme Court & Religious Neutrality
- Justice and Mercy: To Pardon or Not?
- The Unfinished Business of the Civil War
- Is the Flag Sacred?
- Jewish Reflections on Domestic Violence
- How to Understand the Evangelicals
- Levitical Reflections on the Health Care Bill
- Upon Hearing That Osama Bin Laden Was Dead

And a special feature of this volume is a foreword by his grandson, Moshe, who wrote:

"My Sabbah is the kind of religious leader whose belief is centered on making the world a better place for everyone. Perhaps this sentence from one of his pieces says it best: 'That is what God wants of us. To care and take care of each other. To take care of the world.' I’m grateful to have a Sabbah who puts humanity first. As his grandson, I am proud to carry on his vision of humane ideas and a healthy, unified America."


#NewBook #newbookalert #Author #america #faith #justice