Saturday, November 03, 2018

Solidarity Shabbat

Last night worshippers in synagogues across this country , in big cities and small towns, literally saw the support of their neighbors. Solidarity Shabbat gave voice to those who eschew a hateful and destructive anti-semitism that demeans all of us. 

I can’t speak about how arrangements were made in other small towns, but in one town two ministers spearheaded an effort to get people out and to make sure that as many people as possible knew about the vigil. Other religious leaders in the town made announcements to their congregations. 

Last night about eighty people showed up. We held candles and stood in such a way that the congregants walked through a pathway of lights. We sang songs. As the congregants walked in they thanked people—moved by those who stood with their candles and songs.

Because the rabbi invited us all in for services we went—hardly anyone left. We sat outside the sanctuary in a foyer because there were no more available seats. Our chairs faced the sanctuary and a loud speaker system allowed us to take part. Synagogue members handed out  Siddurs. 

When the rabbi gave his sermon he spoke about anti-semitism and the Tree of Life synagogue murders, but he also spoke about the  racial discrimination and the horrific acts —both individual and group—that have been perpetrated on the African American community. He spoke of the nine parishioners murdered at a Bible study by a white nationalist. He spoke about the Muslim community and how individuals have been targeted and mosques having to deal with threats. He spoke of the gay and lesbian and trans community and the violence perpetrated on that community. Who can forget the Pulse nightclub massacre? 

He also told all of us that we needed to do more. We needed to be welcoming to the other, to the immigrant, to those who are the targets of hate.

It was a spirited sermon and a call for both communal grieving and action. Showing up is one action.

Showing up is action. Across this country people showed up for Solidarity Shabbat. That’s a step.


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