I have spent the past week thinking about so many things. I really wanted to begin some serious and genuine reflection on 2019 while at the same time considering the excitement of 2020. I am lucky to serve a truly wonderful community. My family feels so incredibly blessed to be here and we truly appreciate the love we receive. Thankfully, my kids and wife are healthy and happy. We are thankful we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. There really is so much to be thankful for...and spending a week in Houston with family was seriously rewarding and refreshing. Celebrating the 80th birthday of Marilyn Ozaroff was so much fun!
Hanukkah was supposed to be festive and full of joy. While there was both light and joy during Hanukkah, there was also feelings of regret, devastation, angst, fear. It seemed that every day brought a new cause for anger or fear. This was the dawn of 2020 and yet I was still faced with the same terror and trauma that has faced my community for what seems like our entire existence. This is the United States of America - the "Beacon on the Hill." This nation was supposed to be different.
I am well aware that among my group of friends and family, we have many disagreements. We have many different opinions on every topic. It is sometimes hard to come to an agreement. There are, however, some no-brainers. Hating another person because of their religion, their skin color, their nation of origin...or in any other way is not just wrong...it is tragic for all of us. Acts of violence or terror against another should NEVER be ok. I have always been proud to be Jewish...and I truly have only had to fear being Jewish a few times in my life. What I do not want is for my children (or any children) to ever feel afraid because of how they identify. Hearing of the anti-Semitic events of the past few days and weeks just added to an already awful 2019.
Don't get me wrong...there were wonderful times in 2019...many of them, personal and public. And, I am not going jump off the deep end. I am angry. I am afraid. Yet, I know I must be strong for my family, my community and for the future. So, what do I do? I write; I speak out; I act. This is the way to get things done. People need to be aware of what is going on around them. Ignorance is usually the root of evil...not always, but more often than not. People tend to be afraid of what they do not know or understand. So, their reaction is violence or terror toward the "other."
I refuse to let the actions of others define who I am or my experiences. I refuse to sit back and "let things go." I want to cry out; I want to act; I want to fight back. This does NOT mean I believe violence begets violence. Fighting back does not have to be violent. It can be with love...Love is stronger than fear...there is no doubt in my mind.
God – do you hear my thoughts? What should I do?
I am physically trembling in fear; anger; resentment.
I feel my soul being torn apart with every news cycle.
Events; Situations; Violence; Ignorance.
My brain hurts from the constant wave of thoughts.
Spiritually, I feel drained; exhausted; terrified.
I want to run and tear something apart.
Crying; Emotional; Pain; Fear.
God – I know you are there. Please take my hand.
Show me what to do; how to act and take the next step.
Tears dry on my face as I search for the right perspective.
Tired; Sleep; Awake; “Woke.”
I need to do something, to lead others away from this pain.
I can pray with them; for them; about them; to them.
My gut tells me to do more – but I do not know how.
Attacks; More attacks; Even more attacks; End?
The sun will rise tomorrow; of this I am certain.
I will pray; I will act; I will do.
God – be with me and help me to help others.
Love; Prayer; Heart; #Strongerthanhate.
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I am a husband, father and rabbi - just trying to help to make the world a better place!