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Rabbi Weekly Message

December 6, 2019/8 Kislev 5780

Dear chevreh,

 

After I graduated from college and just before my first full-time job, I was fortunate to have opportunity to travel to Europe on a Eurail pass. I stayed in youth hostels and explored on foot. My mother and a couple of friends met me but a fair amount of the time I was on my own. One such time I found myself in Strasbourg, France, located in the Alsace region. I walked the historic center city, with its gothic buildings, cobble-stoned streets and gingerbread houses. I visited world-class museums and grand cathedrals. What I remember most is the Jewish community. I walked to see the synagogue, which I tried to do wherever I went, and was welcomed and greeted by people who showed me around, gave me a drink and offered hospitality. I was just out of college, it was the beginning of my Jewish identity forming, before I had even joined a synagogue as a young adult. I felt welcomed and connected to Jews across the globe. There was something comforting about meeting my people and knowing that across the world I belonged somewhere. I was alarmed and saddened to read about the desecration of over 100 graves in the nearby Alsatian village of Westhoffen this Wednedsay. Our thoughts are with Jews in France, Germany, England, Belgium and other places where anti-Semitism in on the rise.

 

Closer to home, there have many multiple attacks of Jewish people in Brooklyn recently and a defacing of a synagogue in DC where a colleague of mine from RRC has been working. This hits home, as our own Little Shul had an incident with a swastika in 2000, something that new members may not be familiar with.

 

These are scary times. Anti-Semitism is proliferating, children are dying in cages in our land, in my home state of Ohio a draconian bill is being introduced into the realm of reproductive rights, and there is an awful, uncivil divide in our country. The news is devastating, heartbreaking, and at times infuriating. We may feel powerfulness.

 

We must engage in practices which keep us feeling connected, loving, proud of being Jewish and part of  our Jewish and American communities. I am going to turn off the news over Shabbat, welcome the Sabbath Queen and spend Shabbat with my community. There is time after Shabbat to continue the work of the movements we are involved with, to give money to organizations whose values push toward justice, to send another letter to a congressperson.

 

We are going to read from the Torah, where we will read about Jacob who awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely, God is in this place, and I, I did not know it." He exclaims, "Mah norah haMakom ha-zeh?!?! - How awesome is this place?" 

 

What do you need to do to be reminded that God is in this place? That there is holiness beneath all of the chaos of the external world and the chaos of our minds? I will be speaking about this tonight at services.

I’m wishing everybody a Shabbat shalom, a Shabbos filled with peace, nourishment and rejuvenation.

 

Rabbi Diana

 

 

Thu, December 12 2019 14 Kislev 5780