I needed this Shabbat. And not just any Shabbat, this one — uniting over 1200 human beings of every race, gender, color and creed for an interfaith service at our synagogue with clergy and lay leaders representing Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Baha'i and a multitude of faiths. All stood arm in arm without hesitation or equivocation against anti-Semitism, against white supremacy, against racism, against Islamophobia, against discrimination, against violence, against bigotry, against hatred. For love, for justice, for unity, for understanding, for honor, for peace, for respect, for coexistence, for humanity.
We all exist interdependently and are blessedly alive: aware, loving, inspired, values-driven, engaged, as one Buddhist priest spelled out. A self-identified gay Jewish leader spoke to the tumultuous tale of the Jewish people, finding a nation and thinking we're fine, only to then be slaughtered, expelled or forced to a ghetto. 2017 is not akin to 1930s Germany, for we have learned grave lessons from that and countless precipitous moments throughout history — and will not hesitate to unite in word and deed to firmly defend the proclamation Never Again. One Muslim leader took the bima in a hijab to speak powerfully, "I'm ready to wear the Star of David and declare myself a Jew against anti-Semitism... we are Jewish today standing against this nonsense this hatred." She fought back tears and brought about a similar emotional response in hundreds listening to her resounding statement. A Christian Father lit a candle to publicly apologize for each time he has benefited from white, male privilege without acknowledgement, appreciation or gratitude. "The power of being here is resistance," a reverend affirmed, raising his hands before his dreadlocks to praise the transformative power of active citizens.
No matter the darkness in our towns, nation or world, we must still seek the light. We must still choose to unite. We must still speak to love. We must still lead with peace. We must still pursue justice. We must still gather humbly. And with that, I am off to San Francisco to stand proudly, joyously and gratefully with my community.