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SHA’AR MOURNS AND SHA’AR ACTS 

Praise me, says God, and I will know that you love me. Curse me, says God, and I will know that you love me. Praise me or curse me And I will know that you love me. Sing out my graces, says God, Raise your fist against me and revile, says God. Sing out graces or revile, Reviling is also a kind of praise, says God. But if you sit fenced off in your apathy, says God, If you sit entrenched in: “I don’t give a damn,” says God, If you look at the stars and yawn, If you see suffering and don’t cry out, If you don’t praise and you don’t revile, Then I created you in vain, says God. (Aaron Zeitlin)

Sha’ar mourns the recent, senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We grieve over the violent, murderous racism that has plagued our country for over 400 years.

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים, שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְרוֹמִים, הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה תַחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים, אֶת נִשְׁמוֹת כָּל אַחֵינוּ בְּנֵי אַרְצֵנוּ, אֲנָשִׁים נָשִׁים וְטַף, שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ, שֶׁנִשְׂרְפוּ, שֶׁנִתְלוּ וְנֶחְנְקוּ מִפְּנֵי גִזְעֲנוּת וְשִׂנְאַת חִינָם, בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְהִי מְנוּחָתָם. אָנָּא בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים, הַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפֶיךָ לְעוֹלָמִים וּצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם. ה’ הוּא נַחַלָתָם, וְיָנוּחוּ בְשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכּבוֹתֵיֶהם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

God full of compassion, dwelling on High,
find perfect rest beneath the sheltering wings of Your Presence,
among the holy and the pure who shine with the light of the heavens,
for the souls of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors,
men, women, and children, who have been
killed, burned, and lynched
because of racism and baseless hate.
May the Garden of Eden be their resting place.
Oh please, Master of compassion,
keep them in the shelter of Your wings for eternity
and bind up their souls in the bond of life.
Adonai is their inheritance; may they rest in peace, and let us say,
Amen.

But it is not enough to mourn. We’ve done that before. Sadly, we’ll likely mourn again. COVID-19 sheltering requirements impel most of us to restrain our instinct to rush out and protest, embrace, or volunteer right now. But it may provide us with the quiet and time to consider a response with longer-term impact. For many, now may not be the time for immediate, proximate consolation which  is painful to accept. But it might be the time to finally make the systemic changes that will more likely prevent us from being back here again.

Think about the world you want to emerge into when this health-crisis is over. What does equality really look like? How does justice truly get implemented? Who has the vision and power to dismantle institutionalized racism in our country that perpetuates unequal access to clean natural resources, healthcare, education, jobs, and housing? How will you vote? How will you spend your money in the service of healing the chronic disease of hatred from whose symptoms none of us are immune? Injustice hurts more than those treated unjustly. It sickens and weakens us all.

Woe unto any of us who emerge from this public health crisis unchanged. Woe unto any of us who emerge from yet another racial crisis unchanged. Woe unto any of us who yawn in self-assurance knowing we are not racists, but who refrain from actively combatting racism. Woe unto any of us who fails to prove the worthiness of our having been created and who takes our lives, and our privilege for granted.

“The historical record — for tolerance, for human learning — is not promising. Yet I believe, more than ever, that at the bottom of each human being there is a reset button. Undeniably it is difficult to get to. To reach it seems to require that the ego be demolished by circumstance. But reach that button and press it, and the world might reshape itself.“ Tony Hoagland.

Now is the time to reset. Our country is crying out for real change. Our country is crying out for us. Are we listening?

Log on and learn about some of the important work being done. Find your way to be part of the change.

https://eji.org/

https://www.splcenter.org/

https://brotherhood-sistersol.org/

https://www.naacpldf.org/

https://www.naacp.org/issues/environmental-justice/

https://colorofchange.org/

Parashat Pinchas  July 27, 2019

Parashat Ki Tisa 2019

Rosh Hashanah 2017/5778 Un-Remembering 

Yom Kippur 2016/5777 Lighten Up!

Rosh Hashanah 2016/5777 A Sanctuary of Mirrors

Hate Also Kills A Rabbi remembers her former intern, a transgender woman who killed herself in March

NiSh’ma Disassembling and Reassembling

Yom Kippur 2015/5776 Goat to Hell, and Back Again

Rosh Hashanah 2015/5776 The Courage to Be

Yom Kippur 2014/5775 Intermarriage: I do

Rosh Hashanah 2014/5775 Israel – Two Solitudes

The New Month of Kislev

Counting the Omer

Parashat Bamidbar/Shavuot: Judaism Behind the Scenes — Keeping it Real

Keeping the Torah and the World SAAFE

Walls Coming Down, Walls Coming up
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Tzedakah and Philanthropy

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Endless Love

Parashat Tetzaveh

Shattering the Tablets-The Case for Jewish Peoplehood

Rosh Hashanah 2012/5773, First Day
Mei Hayeshuah – The Waters of Salvation

Rosh Hashanah 2012/5773, Second Day Drashah
The Certainty of Doubt

Yom Kippur 2012/5773
Drashah: One and Only

Parashat Toldot:
Brokenness is the New Wholeness

Parashat Vaera:
Hearing Aids for Freedom
Learning to listen is a precondition for being able to speak.

Shabbat Shirah:                                                                                                                          
Praying and Singing with our Feet

Security at The Israel Day Parade: Protecting us from Ourselves    
Lessons from Parashat Korach and Rosh Chodesh

Walls Coming Down, Walls Coming up: TISHA B’AV AND THE LAUNCH OF THE HIGH HOLY DAYS

Rosh Hashanah 2013/5774   Compromise

Recalling our visit to Auschwitz on the 70th anniversary of the Liberation. A Journey of Remembrance and Renewal

A Dvar Torah – Parshat Toldot

Thu, November 26 2020 10 Kislev 5781