- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On October 12, 2018
- 0 Comments
To Our Beloved Temple Israel Community,
We write amid a moment of civic darkness to acknowledge the raw pain felt broadly and deeply within the hearts of so many within and beyond our community. We will not understate what we are witnessing, as American society risks the approach of what the great philosopher Martin Buber called, “an eclipse of God,” a moment in which Divinity itself is hidden, obstructed behind the opaqueness of widespread hardened hearts, confusing the collective conscience of a critical mass of humanity.
“Real listening has become rare,” wrote Buber in 1952. Today real listening is no less rare, as countless individuals chosen by our society to lead instead have chosen to dismiss the courageous voices of survivors of sexual violence. This is not a partisan issue; it is not merely about the Kavanaugh confirmation nor a matter of political party affiliation. We are appalled, above all, by the phenomenon of complete and utter disregard of the sacredness of listening – and there is no such thing in Judaism as listening without authentic response.
When a high-ranking Congressman says to an organized group of victims of sexual abuse, “grow up!” that is not listening.
When the President proudly mocks and humiliates a woman who came forward to tell her story of sexual abuse, and most acknowledge this as “typical behavior,” that is not listening.
When the crowd of tens of thousands reacts to that mockery with cheers and laughter, that is not listening.
When any individuals in positions of power refuse to respond to victims and witnesses, muting the very voices that can help restore justice and truth in place of cruelty and falsehood, that is not real listening.
Today, we remain even more emboldened on our pathway of pursuing justice and compassion.
We will never quit listening.
We will continue singing the “Shema,” with our hearts ready to hear- even if it means prying them open-the call to be “repairers of the breach,” healers of brokenness, and champions of a world in which power and love are one.
If we fail to do so, then we lose the sacred right to see a God who is One.
Buber also taught that if God is hidden, then that means that God can be found. However, only we can do this work-and only with an unwavering commitment to embodying the divine sparks that will obliterate the darkness around us.
As your clergy, we are here to listen to you.
If you are a survivor and have not been heard, our doors are- like our hearts- wide open.
You are loved, and you are our top priority.
If you have witnessed sexual abuse, and it is festering in your heart, we are here to listen.
And if you are feeling powerless to the wildfire of misogyny scorching our society, we are here, not only to listen but also to connect you to others who share your pain and are ready to organize, together, to build the power we need to restore dignity and love to this fractured world.
With abounding love,
The Clergy of Temple Israel of Boston
A Prayer for Assaulted Bodies and Souls
by Rabbi Jen Gubitz
On this Shabbat and every Shabbat,
around us, among us, and within us
are those whose bodies and whose souls
and whose hearts suffer assault:
Bodies harmed by the power of another,
scarred by unwanted advances,
and pained by forceful encounters desperately refused.
There are around us, among us, and within many of us
souls hurt by the harm of another’s hateful words,
and hearts wrenched by the woe our loved ones suffer.
For as they weep, their tears seep
into the broken cracks of silence and disregard,
a flowing pain seeking solace…
Around us, among us, and within us
are bodies, souls, hearts
that cry out to be heard, to be seen, to be believed;
they cry out to be understood, represented, protected;
they cry out for repair, mending, for healing…
And so we pray…
for healing that softens hurt,
healing that mends the breaks,
healing that repairs the tears,
healing that dries flowing tears…
Whether they are around us, among us,
unknown to us…or they are US-
We pray for the healing of hearing and witnessing.
We pray for the healing of solidarity and strength.
We pray for all who cry out to us to be heard and seen.
Mi shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
may the One who blesses the generations
Hear us, see us, heal us. Amen.
Qabbalat Shabbat begins at 6:00 p.m tonight. If you cannot join us live stream HERE.
The Riverway Project (20s & 30s) gathers at 7:00 p.m. for Soul Food Friday.
Tomorrow, Torah Study starts at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by a lively discussion. Please connect with Rabbi Zecher directly HERE.