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
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:
This year, Temple Beth-El is asking questions. We know WHAT we do, we know HOW we do it, but now, we need to know WHY we do what we do. If you seek change. If you want to forge a new path to set us apart and lay the foundation for the future, you are ready to discover your WHY.
We are living in an era when many long-lived assumptions are being questioned: Can I count on having a good job with benefits? What does it mean to live more simply? How does this all affect my children? At times, it seems there are many more questions than answers, and it may take some time for answers to evolve. What we DO know, is that our lives will most likely be different from the past.
I have met with some congregants affected in different ways by the changes in the current political environment. I have heard their stories and it saddens me that there are so many members of our community struggling. We are all being touched in some way. I think that with this comes an “opening-up,” or an awareness that our lives will be forever changed and that we need to help each other through these transitions. That help may come through a renewed sense of interconnectedness.
So, what will all of this mean for us collectively as a synagogue? I think one very important thing, is that it makes us realize that we are all in this together! These challenging times of questioning and growth are an opportunity to have our own “Spiritual Stimulus Package.”
We are taught that the tent of Abraham and Sarah had an opening on each side to allow the entry of wayfarers – from whichever direction they came – to partake of their hospitality. As we read in Parashat Vayera this week, it was just such a visitor (actually, angels in disguise) who announced the future birth of Isaac. Hakhnasat Orhim – welcoming guests – is a time-honored tradition among Jews.
- Introduce yourself to people you do not know at a service or an event at TBE.
- Invite a new or prospective family for Shabbat.
- Invite an unaffiliated Jewish family to services or an event at the Temple.
This Sunday, October 28th, 12:30 – 2:00 PM, we have a great opportunity to open our doors to the community with the “World Series of Soup, Salad or Sandwich.” What better way to welcome to people to the TBE family – FOOD! Not only will it be delicious, but food always makes everyone feels better. Please encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to join us for this wonderful event!