Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day Three Blogging the CCAR Convention

Day Three
Today I leave and return home. I have mixed feelings about it. It takes two days to get into the flow of a conference. So I wish I could stay one more day. On the other hand there is much to share and the work of our congregation calls me home. And so we say Heneni- I will be here!
 It is not so difficult to imagine that our conference’s effervescent spirit has been diminished today.  The recent killings in Toulouse, France at the Otzar HaTorah Jewish day school call out to us to stand in solidarity and communal mourning. Sometimes words don’t capture the depth of emotions. For this reason I ask that at noon on Friday that we take one minute out for silent reflection no matter where we are or what we are doing on behalf of these souls who are now, in the words of the Jewish memorial prayer el maleh rachamim, “bound up into the bonds of eternal life.”  I also hope that everyone who reads this blog post will join me at Temple this Shabbat to recite Kaddish for Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his two children Arye 8, Gabriel 6, and Miriam Monsonego, 8, who is the school principals’ daughter. If you are an out of town reader of this blog, then I urge us all to attend a temple and say kaddish.
Besides attending morning services at the convention, I went to a session led by the famous and respected Rabbi Harold Kushner who wrote When Bad Things Happen to Good People. He is a conservative rabbi and is an expert at interpreting the Torah. For those of us from Conservative backgrounds, Rabbi Kushner edited the recently published Conservative Movement’s Tree of Life Torah.  His topic was what did Moses learn from leading 600,000 unappreciative congregants?
You can just imagine the discussion that ensued with all the colleagues!

1 comment:

williambilek said...

Rabbi, you wrote in your e-mail:
"We need each other and we should not let life go by as if everything is normal. Yes, we live far away from these events. Yes, they do not directly impact our daily living. Yes, if we do this then will we have to mourn each time there is a terrorist murder?

My response is that we do not live in a world isolated from joy or pain. We of all peoples cannot turn our heads away when suffering strikes our people especially when the violence is specifically targeted to children. Will we go about our business as usual ignoring that the grandparents of Arye and Gavriel Sandler and Miriam Monsonego are heartbroken? What about the mothers of these children and the wife and family of Rabbi Sandler? Can we in our own way show support and solidarity with the families knowing that by a moment of silence we will all have mourned together and we will all be able to stand in strength at Temple to provide them with the dignity of reciting Kaddish. "

It is not enough!It is not NEARLY enough. These events do not happen in a vacuum. They come from the depths of the hatred that so many in the world have for our People. They come from those who, while protesting loudly that they have nothing against the Jewish People, it is the Zionists that they despise, who find moral equivalence between the inadvertent killing of children used as human shields by those trying to murder us, and the willful animalistic murder of children, even while staring into their terrified eyes. It is because of our "leaders", here and in Europe, that equate the Shoa with the Naqba, the gas chambers with self-defense, the IDF with Hamas that those who want to kill and murder find the opportunity, and yes, even the acceptance to do so. It is the fact that you actually seem to agree that "we live far away" and that "these things do not affect us" that is so chilling. Each one of those children is our child, our grandchild, and may well be so in fact, as well as in thought, tomorrow, or next week.

You should not be the one calling the community to prayer. IT IS ALL OUR "ECUMENICAL FRIENDS" who should have contacted you, and requested a joint interfaith service, to show solidarity. How many called? How many have expressed shock, and disgust? Hypocrites!! How long will we grovel in obsequiousness?

Never mind! Invite them anyway. Perhaps, even make it on Shabbat morning, to make it stand out, to be different, for our Congregation. Or do you think there will be too many of our own, with too many other things to do....golf, shop, sleep in. It is our apathy, our denial, and their enablement that have brought these things to pass. And it will not be the last time. And it will not be in far away France. And it will not be just "us", although, no doubt, we will be "first".