The month of August, as well as the Hebrew month of Av that began a week ago, have long histories of tragic events in human history and in the history of the Jewish people. This week commemorates the horror of the Nuclear Age with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Jewish history we commemorate this coming weekend the fall of Judea in 586 BCE and, again, in 70CE, the beginning of the First Crusade in 1096, the beginning of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and other events. In August of 1939 the Nazi armies prepared to invade Poland (September 1).
In the Book of Deuteronomy, we read this Shabbat, Moses gives his first farewell address to the people. Standing on a high place overlooking the Land of Canaan he calls the people to continue to resist their internal and external enemies. He calls on them to take action and appoints leaders to guide them. He reminds them of their forty-year journey through the Wilderness, the challenges along the way, the lessons they learned and their growth as a people.
In America today we are faced with the question of how we move into the future, as individuals and as a nation. Sadly, we don't have a Moses or a Martin Luther King Jr. to point the way. We need to call on own inner prophet, drawling on the vision of our country's founders, on the vision of our prophets and sages and move forward. There is a movement around the world of so many people crying out for a better life. We stand in solidarity with the residents of Hong Kong and with so many others fighting oppressive governments.
This Sunday of Tisha B'Av, August 11th, at 2pm, several Jewish organizations in solidarity with other human rights organizations will be be protesting the despicable situation on our southern border.
Later in the afternoon, members of Never Again will be protesting in Jessup, Maryland, at an immigrant detention center there. If you cannot attend these events you can call or send a post card to Mitch McDonnell or others who are fermenting violence and injustice in our nation.
We read from the Book of Lamentations this weekend. We are the descendants of Jeremiah, the prophet and author of Eicha.Am Kolel has a new Tikkun Olam Advocacy Committee headed up by Janeane Marks. Its initial focus will be on Gun Reform. Ask how you can help.
Kadimah Khazak Khazak vNitkhazek! "Be strong. Be Strong and let us strengthen each other." This week we invite you to light a Yahrtzeit candle in memory of the victims in El Paso and Dayton. Reb Davd