- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On August 28, 2020
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way towards Shabbat. You can listen to it as a podcast HERE.
I share the words I offered this past week at our Temple Israel’s zoom program for the Reclaim Our Vote Campaign featuring Wanda Mosley from Black Votes Matter. 150 members of our community are involved in this project with more than 11,000 postcards sent.
As we begin, I present for inspiration, from James Baldwin’s book, Fire Next Time, written in 1963 and still certainly relevant now.
“Whatever goes up must come down.” And here we are, at the center of that arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbable waterwheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands: we have no right to assume otherwise. If we – and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of others – do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, recreated from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”
As we gather tonight, we are well aware how we teeter ever so precariously between the fire and the rainbow, between the charring of dreams and the blossoming of what is possible in full color, a full inclusion of everyone.
When Noah came off the ark, God spoke about the rainbow being a sign not to destroy the world by flood. In that instruction God also commanded certain laws. The Talmud refers to them as the Noahide laws, applicable to every human being. Six of them focus on behavior regarding the rejection of idol worship to the prohibition of murder. The seventh comes from the rabbis’ reading of the command against murder and thus, the need for justice, specifically courts where a system could be established to ensure righteousness. Those laws attributed to the time of Noah were meant for everyone. And we still have a long way to go.
We witnessed the fire of passion this summer born out of rage, frustration, and deep, deep pain. It continues still. A pain we must all account for and reckon with the baked in and legislated racism coursing continually through our nation.
What is also baked in and legislated is the right to vote. That freedom necessitates great protection and insurance that the pathway from every citizen’s hand that holds the pen to vote to the place where the ballot is delivered has no obstruction.
We are here tonight because of the potential of the rainbow, that ephemeral sight that signifies hope. You have to catch it in your view before it disappears. We are in that moment.
As the Psalmist’s exclaimed-This is the day the Eternal has made.
Now let’s get to work!
- 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 Re-Charge will take place at 8:00 p.m. 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.
- Mark the end of Shabbat together with Havdalah at 8:00 p.m. Join us interactively HERE on Zoom, or watch along on the website HERE, or on Facebook HERE.
- 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