The Same Old Hatred – Racism & Anti-Semitism

Lies about people, stereotypes about groups, distortions of truth all lead to hate.

When people are seen as not human the hate leads to violence against them.

These lies, stereotypes and distortions lead to distrust and then to horrible violence
against people of color.
And against people of the Jewish faith.  

The lies MUST STOP.

Look for what makes us One, what makes all of us Human and ultimately the same.

Find the good in other humans. 

We must, else the future will continue to be unjust.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel……Siddur Extracts

Below are two beautiful pieces I encountered in my Siddur at yesterday’s Saturday Morning Service;
written by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

We are a people in whom the past endures,
in whom the present is inconceivable without
moments gone by.
The Exodus lasted a moment, a moment enduring forever.
What happened once upon a time happens all the time.

A thought has blown the market place away.
There is a song on the wind and joy in the trees.
Shabbat arrives in the world, scattering
a song in the silence of the night:
Eternity utters a day.

Another Gem found in my Siddur

My Siddur (Jewish prayer book) is filled with gems of poetry. Not only the beautiful Shabbat prayers which we recite as a group, extolling the wonders of Creation, blessing and praising the Creator; but also poems which capture the mood of the Shabbat service.

Such is a poem, When I Die, by Merrit Malloy.  It is one of several meditative poems to be read prior to the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish.  Poems which ask us to reflect on the frailty of our human condition, our too human body. Counterpoised to the actual Kaddish prayer which clearly proclaims the perfection of creation, and God’s plan for creation which of course contains the living and the dead:
Exalted and hallowed be God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.

I’d like to quote the last stanza of Ms. Malloy’s poem, When I Die.  It is one of the poems I’ll ask to be read at the service held in honor of my departure from life.  Yes, I have begun to collect such poems because I am fully aware of how fleeting is our stay here.

Last stanza of When I Die by Merrit Malloy:

You can love me best by letting hands touch hands,
and by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn’t die, people do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
give me away.

Prayer from Rabbi Chaim Stern

I quote from my Siddur (Reform Judaism prayer book) a prayer which touched my heart this morning. I want to share these beautiful words of Chaim Stern:

Days pass and the years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles.
God, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing;
let there be moments when Your Presence, like lightning,
illumines the darkness in which we walk.
Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns unconsumed.
And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness, and exclaim in wonder:
How filled with awe is this place, and we did not know it!

Blessed is the Eternal One, the Holy God!

Why I Love Judaism

Cause I can see the waxing moon growing nearly full with a plane’s pink contrail against an azure blue sky and know that in two days we will celebrate this particular full moon with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, Passover. A Celebration of Freedom from Slavery, coming out of Egypt, out of our Narrows, coming into Freedom, New Life.

My Rabbi, Gershon Winkler, teaches that this Coming Out of Our Narrows should ideally occur certainly yearly with Passover’s Remembrance, but daily, daily renewing our commitment to Freedom, Aliveness, Acceptance and Love. Come out of our constriction of mind, narrowness of thought, hatred and pettiness.

Weekly Shabbat creates a time of Renewal, Time of Rest and Honoring The One who Created us and Our World. Lighting candles to hallow the passage of Night into Day, acknowledging Time the Creation of the fact of Time. Honoring the tiniest particle of what God, Sovereign of The Universe, has given to us. Creator of the fruit of the vine, our bread, our working bodies, our Souls. Healer of all flesh. Giver of All. A Creator who asks us to act as Loving, Discerning Co-Creators, who gives us some simple rules, to keep us Human.

I Love Judaism because weekly, in Temple, my body turns into a receptacle of Love, a puddle of Joy and Bliss. I am with a Body of People who unite to Love God, who wish to be with other Jews to Sing, Praise, Rejoice, Grieve and Pray Together for the benefit of ALL. Who wish Peace Peace and Goodness to ALL; despite centuries of suffering extreme hate extreme cruelty extreme torture and extreme killing. We wish Peace, Kindness and Goodness for ALL. Still.

Cause this Body of People, Yisrael, are community community community and if needed would care for me, do care for me, love me and each other. Who hallow each presence with friendship and respect. Because this Body of People, Yisrael, watches the Moon; celebrates the New Moon; celebrates Festivals on the Full Moon. Who Love Words, hold Sacred a Text The Torah which has survived survived which is discussed, picked apart, thought deeply about, cherished. Who take nothing for granted. Whose ancestors’ lives have been examined in detail, story by story, word for word, even letter for letter and they have been found to be fearless, brave, generous, loving, merciful, forgiving; also vengeful, lacking, all too human. But foremost these Ancient Souls believed in Themselves and in Their One God Creator of The Universe. Their stories provide hope and guidance for living our own lacking, wanting, all too human lives.

Because my People, Yisrael, have rituals which cause me to purposefully stop, consider Good in my life and Good in others. My People sing out praise for Our Creator. Praise. Joy. The collective, ritual acknowledgement of our Oneness, God’s Existence and Oneness, Graciousness, Goodness, Mercy and Kindness. We are asked to personally interact with God by being an example of Adonai’ Light when we interact with others. I love to be reminded, ritually, purposefully, so that I may consciously, and collectively with all Jews, display my love of God.

I love Judaism because it is Rich and Deep and Loving and Sparks every fiber of my being. I am proud to become a Jew, to enter into an Ancient Family to whom I have always belonged. To honor that part of my family who have suffered mightily for just being who they are, for the Love of Adonai.