Yisroel Goldstein, the rabbi of Chabad of Poway, offered courageous and uplifting words in the New York Times this week, even in the face of the violence and loss that upended his community. He pledged to be more brazenly Jewish, to do abundant acts of lovingkindness and to show up at synagogue as a proud Jew. His courage is an inspiration to each of us and a ray of light in a dark week.
Coming the same week as our annual commemoration of Yom Hashoah, this tragedy reminds us that the power of hatred must be confronted. In this moment of infinite sorrow, we pray that we find the strength within ourselves to promote human dignity and justice. May we find the courage to assert our own unyielding belief that xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are not an acceptable new normal. It is up to each one of us to model a world where people of all faiths can pray without fear.
Join us this coming Shabbat as we raise our voices in prayer for the realization of the Prophet Isaiah’s vision: “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, nor devastation and destruction within your borders” (Isaiah 60:18).
Rabbi Sarah Mack
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman
Cantor Judy Seplowin
Rabbi Gutterman mentioned this week in an interview with the R.I. Foundation that his early interest in the rabbinate was kindled by involvement in Jewish youth group. As if we needed a reminder why NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) and youth work is so very important.
The prophet Joel articulates that truth, “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy; Your elders shall dream dreams, and your youth shall see visions.” (His words might call to mind the Debbie Friedman song inspired by them.)
Our youth are the leaders of the present and are also the voices and moral compass that will lead us into a bright and vibrant Jewish future. This weekend Temple Beth-El will host NFTY Spring Conclavette for the first time in recent memory. Join us on Tonight at 7pm for Shabbat services for a glimpse of the future of the Reform Movement. We are grateful for the community support that has enabled Temple Beth-El to fully embrace this sacred opportunity–over 50 host families and volunteers are making this possible.
Our young people are a ray of light in an oft dark world. It is my prayer that their voices and vision for the next generation of Jewish life are a balm for our spirits that nourishes and sustains our hope in the future.
In 1964, Rabbi Al Vorspan was jailed with a group of Reform rabbis who responded to the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to join in the civil rights protests in St. Augustine, Florida. He would later write of the experience: