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Temple Menorah Rabbi's Weekly Message
What Do I Say To My Children?
08/30/17

Dear Friends,

With an understanding that national and world events weigh heavily on the minds of many, what follows is an excerpt from my remarks to our congregation last Friday night during our fun and uplifting Barechu and BBQ with music from Queen and The Who:

We talk about "Oneg Shabbat" as the cookies after services. But in truth, "oneg Shabbat" means the "delight of Shabbat." It is the potential that Shabbat has to bring delight, even during difficult or challenging or scary times. How important this night is...

In the aftermath of the events in Charlottesville last Shabbat, and in the face of symbols and acts of hatred that are popping up right in front of our faces, it is the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, that I carry with me. "The very idea that in our time we would see a Nazi flag – perhaps the most vicious symbol of anti-Semitism – paraded in the streets of the world"s greatest democracy and Israel"s most cherished and greatest ally, is almost beyond disbelief," he said.

It is almost beyond disbelief. Yet it is here, whether we want to believe it or not. And so, to the parents who have reached out this week to ask, "what do I say to my children?" And to the leaders of our congregation who have challenged yourselves to find your voice in the face of this mess, I say: There are no easy answers. I wish there were. I so wish there were.

Our tradition teaches that the task of healing and ensuring that love overpowers hatred is too great to tackle on our own. It always has been. And, therefore, the rabbis teach, it is not upon us to complete the task, but neither are we free to desist from it.

In that vein, there are two things that we can do in the immediate future right here, at Temple Menorah:

  1. Many of us are getting ready to send our children back to school and we want to be able to prepare them as well as we possibly can for whatever they may face – as bystanders or, God forbid, as victims of hatred. Because the answer to the parents who are asking what they can say to their children CANNOT be "there are no answers," we are going to have a conversation about it. Let"s figure it out together.Join us on Tuesday evening, August 29th, at 7:00, for a community conversation about how to best talk to our children about hatred, and about love. The program is still being developed, but as a community, we will equip ourselves to help the next generation…and in doing so, we will help ourselves, as well.
  2. "Oneg Shabbat." We are taught that when everyone celebrates Shabbat, we get a sampling of the world to come. Tonight is our time to celebrate, to delight and to enjoy so that when Shabbat ends, we will be refreshed, renewed and ready to do the work that our world so desperately needs us to do. So... with no further ado, as promised, "We Will Rock You"!

Warmly,

Rabbi Leah Lewis

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