- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On September 25, 2020
- 0 Comments
It is never easy to hear someone say, “Your words have hurt me.” “The way you acted belittled me.” “Your comment insulted me.” We want to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps their intention was merely to ask a question, offer a compliment or make a joke yet the impact hits hard.
From the perspective of the aggrieved, that person has to decide whether in that moment of feeling threatened by insult they engage in “fight or flight”, the physiological reaction our bodies engage in. To call out someone takes courage and an inner strength not always available at the moment. Too many take in the comment and don’t say anything. They hold it and have few places to release it.
I believe most of us have been in both situations, though some much more than others.
The purpose of the soul searching of these days is truth telling, to reckon with our own behaviors and be lifted to our higher selves while we pay attention to the truths offered around us.
From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, each day, as part of 10Days10Waysthe whole congregation has received true, compelling, and some heart wrenching stories and some heartwarming stories from our members about experiences and encounters they have had.
All of us at Temple Israel and our orbit have been working hard to recognize that we have much work to do in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Over the past year, we held a staff training with Yavilah McCoy and have followed up with more sessions. Our Board of Trustees also worked with Yavilah McCoy and is moving forward to lead the congregation deeper into exploration and change. More than 100 people showed up during Martin Luther King weekend for training as well. We are all in this together.
What we seek to do is to turn indignation to dignity and self-righteous responses to righteous behavior.
We have a shared humanity, the divine gift of life. Our bodies may look different in shape, size, and color, yet all of us have blood coursing through our veins, air filling our lungs, with hearts and minds that feel, think, and respond. Our stories vary and opportunities even more. And yet, we are connected to one another, created in the image of the Divine.
The ancients tried to set us on this path with this origin story. In the Talmud Adam the first man was created alone: And this was done due to the importance of maintaining peace among people, so that one person will not say to another: My ancestors are greater than yours. And this serves to tell of the greatness of the Holy One of Blessing, as when a person stamps several coins with one seal, they are all similar to each other. But the Sovereign Holy One, stamped all people with the seal of Adam the first person, as all of them are his offspring, and not one of them is similar to another. Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me, as one person can be the source of all humanity, and recognize the significance of their actions. (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)
Many have called this Covid time, “The Great Awakening”. That has meant reprioritizing family and reassessing what is important. It has also shined a bright light on inequality and access to good healthcare. We all have come to realize the importance of community and connection and how much places and spaces like the synagogue matter in fostering our interconnectedness.
This time has also become the great reckoning for and toward people of color, indigenous nations, and immigrants with regard to systemic racism and bias in our nation. We take this reckoning seriously at Temple Israel. Martin Buber taught that we must start with ourselves but not end with ourselves.
If we name it we can own it, if we own it we can change it.
This week, through 10Days/10Ways, we are taking a step closer to our desired culture shift in our community by reckoning with the pain and hurt people have felt. It feels awful to hear and read what they have to say. It breaks my heart that there are those among us who have to articulate what they have experienced. And yet, how grateful we are for their courage.
Please explore what our members have to say. Let it be your own reckoning as part of the larger community of Temple Israel. Together, we will move forward toward a different, better, and loving society, starting with ourselves and enabling respect and inclusion to ripple out so that we can embrace and bring one another closer.
L’shanah Tovah and Shabbat Shalom!
- Tonight at 6:00 p.m., we celebrate Shabbat virtually from the TI Garden, where members of the TI Clergy will lead Qabbalat Shabbat “together”, while physically distanced. We can pray together HERE on the Temple Israel website, or HERE on Zoom, or even HERE on TI’s Facebook page. You can find it all on the website www.tisrael.org/TogetherWithTI .
- The Village gathers at 5:00 p.m. for a Shabbat story and blessings HERE.
- Riverway Shabbat gathers at 7:30 p.m. Register HERE.
- Torah study engages everyone. We start with a short Shabbat morning service at 9:00 a.m. with Torah reading and then launch into a provocative discussion. BYOBagel! To join the conversation interactively, access HERE to Zoom. You will be amazed by how well and easy it is to participate and comment. You can also watch HERE on Temple Israel’s website or HERE on TI’s Facebook page.
- Celebrate Shabbat as a family with TGIS with Wayne Potash at 10:00 a.m. HERE.
- 10 Days 10 Ways Havdalah will take place at 8:00 p.m.
- Kol Nidre Village Service will take place at 4:00 p.m.
- Kol Nidre Family Service begins at 6:00 p.m.
- Kol Nidre Full Community Service begins at 7:30 p.m.
- Kol Nidre Riverway Project Rosh Hashanah Service begins at 8:00 p.m.
- The Village Service takes place at 10:00 a.m.
- The Family Service takes place at 9:00 a.m.
- The Morning Majestic Service takes place at 9:00 a.m.
- The Morning Contemporary Service takes place at 11:00 a.m.
- Majestic and Contemporary Yizkor and Ne’ilah Services take place at 4:30 p.m.
- Riverway Project Condensed Yom Kippur takes place at 6:00 p.m.
- Explore our interactive library of High Holy Day materials
- Sign up for virtual small group sessions during Elul and on the holidays themselves
- See the full schedule of virtual High Holy Day services