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“In It Together” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

Friday, September 10, 2021

Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we draw near to Shabbat.

The rabbis teach: Our days are like scrolls write on them what you want to be remembered.

In these days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we examine the scrolls of our lives. We encounter our true selves and in these liminal days, we consider how we want to be.

At the same time, our community is involved in self-examination. For the past 6 years, we have shared stories through the 10 Days/10 Ways Initiative to learn from one another with a focus on racial justice. Last year, members of our community told us about biased and racist encounters they have experienced not far out in the world, but closer to home; some, even in our own home. Our synagogue has not turned away from telling the truths that exist among us. We are working to create a culture where all those who call Temple Israel home, truly belong. Our leadership is committed to a culture shift and we have the work and effort of our Racial Equity and Inclusion Team already engaging our congregation.

This year for 10 Days/10 Ways we celebrate the many years of our interconnectedness with Bethel AME in Jamaica Plain, pastored by the Reverends Ray and Gloria Hammond. We have shared our pulpits, stood together for righteous causes, learned and studied together as well as prayed with one another. Some of the stories offered this year lift up personal relationships meeting members of Temple Israel or Bethel who share their experiences of hope, challenges and possibility.

Today, day FIVE, we hear from Carole Copeland Thomas, a very active Bethel member, whose piece is entitled Black History is Facing Fear Everyday. She writes:

It wasn’t just in my personal life that I’ve experienced fear, but also my career path as an entrepreneur, working in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, multiculturalism, and antiracism. So many people do not want to approach these topics – people are so afraid. And if we are not careful, fear can be weaponized. “Things are fine the way they are!” and “I don’t want to rock the boat!” are fear-laden comments I often hear in my line of work. The status quo is comfortable, but when we move out of the status quo, that’s when fear sets in.

Carole is someone with integrity and grace. I know and admire her greatly. She goes on to say:

So when you study the history of Crispus Attucks, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, The Crafts, Fannie Lou Hammer, Madam CJ Walker, Viola Liuzzo, Cesar Chavez, and thousands of other black, brown, and white patriots, you’re looking at decades of fearless, bold, and outrageously courageous men and women who stood up to racial injustices, faced their fears and marched on anyway!

I have witnessed her commitment to her values in her dedication to her church and life’s work. You can read her piece as well as the other ones in this link.

Shabbat Shalom and may we all be sealed for a life of purpose and meaning.

L’shana Tova!

Connect with me HERE. I look forward to corresponding with you and to hearing your thoughts.