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Or Shalom and Grace Tabernacle come together to celebrate Dr. King with music, sharing, and more.

01/09/2023 11:55:09 AM


Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

This week begins with the Torah portion Shmot, the beginning of the Exodus story, the central story of the Jewish people. In this portion, there are two sentences where we express our suffering to God because of the oppressive conditions of our bondage to Pharoah. In these two sentences, there isn’t just ONE verb for expressing our pain, but FOUR verbs in Hebrew. We moaned, groaned, and cried out in several ways. God heard us, and our redemption story began. We learn in this story the importance of speaking out, each one in their own way, each one with a different voice.  Our voices are unique, and our voices are heard as one.

This inspires me. We don’t just sit and wait for help. By moaning, groaning, lifting our voices, and crying out as a group, we began the process of change.

This redemption story connects us to Dr. King’s vision for a just world.  His vision was grounded in his commitment to non-violent civil disobedience as a strategy to create a community where no one is left behind. A community of relationship-building, with the ingredients of honesty, love integration, and equality. This vision guides us as we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with the Grace Tabernacle congregation.

Many of us take pride in the strong Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s/60s. At the same time, it is important for the Jewish people, a community composed of White Jews, Jews of Color, radical Jews, Conservative Jews, Jews proud to be LGBTQ+, and more, to continue our deep spiritual tradition of working toward social justice. It is not enough to just look at the past, at those very important moments in history; it is our responsibility as Jews to show up and cry out about the injustices that still continue. To hear more on this topic, please join Or Shalom Friday night at 7 p.m., January 13, at Grace Tabernacle, for an interfaith service celebrating the legacy of Dr. King.  We look forward to deepening the relationship we have built with the members of Grace Tabernacle over the years.

Artwork by Rabbi Chaya Gusfield

Wed, February 8 2023 17 Shevat 5783