An estimated 1000 members of the Jewish community rallied last Sunday at Lafayette Park across from the White House to demand that the camps be shut down on the southern border and to protest ICE policies. More than fifty similar events took place around the country last Sunday coinciding with Tisha B'Av. A couple hundred Jews, including Am Kolel members, also gathered at the Howard County Detention Center. It is significant to note the number of main stream Jewish organizations & congregations represented, including Am Kolel and Kehila. I don't recall the Jewish community coming out in such numbers since the days of the Soviet Jewry freedom movement. But I'm concerned that other religious and ethnic communities have not raised their voices similarly. Last weekend's events also addressed the rise of white supremacy, gun violence and the pressing need for our leaders to address this now.
This Shabbat is Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of Comfort, the first of seven sabbaths before Rosh Hashanah. The prophetic readings these weeks offer hope. Good timing. The traditional reading from the Torah this week contains the blueprint for success. In his farewell address, Moses calls upon the people to remember the Covenant with G!d, its core principles, and the special action strategy of Mitzvot. We hear, once again, the words of the "Ten Commandments" and the eternal mantra of the Sh'ma - "Listen, Yisrael, YHWH (the Life Breath) our G!d is One". "And you shall do what is proper and good in the eyes of the YHWH, in order that it may be well with you, and that you may come and possess the good land which YHWH promised to your ancestors."
This Shabbat is also the anniversary of Woodstock! Like Nachamu, Woodstock was about promoting hope and peace. The founders were certainly in that prophetic tradition.
"Come on people now, smile on your bother and sister..." -- Reb David