Author: Jeremy Burton

Preserving the Legacy: Join us this Sunday for Yom HaShoah

This Sunday, April 23rd, at 10:30am at Faneuil Hall, we will again come together as one community to commemorate the Holocaust. Each year, as part of this Yom HaShoah program, we recognize the winners of the Israel Arbeiter Essay Contest. Mr. Arbeiter, a Holocaust survivor and a leader in our community, is a passionate advocate for Holocaust education. His story of survival in the face of horror has inspired thousands of students across Greater Boston.

Zachary Sclar, an 11th grader from Bromfield, MA does not have a Holocaust education program in his school. He is part of the JF&CS Legacies program that matches high school students with Holocaust survivors. Coming from a family of Holocaust survivors himself, he is passionate about learning all he can.

His eloquent, thoughtful, and heartfelt essay is the first place winner of our 2017 essay contest and I’d like to share several excerpts from it with you ahead of this Sunday’s Boston Community Yom HaShoah program.

Compassion and the Holocaust

By Zachary Sclar

“In the final analysis, I believe in man in spite of men.” Elie Wiesel uttered these words while giving his Holocaust Remembrance speech on April 23, 2009. In that same speech, he stated that even under the worst of circumstances, with cruelty and darkness abounding, many survivors of the concentration camps treated each other with compassion. Whether it was sharing a piece of bread with someone hungrier, or shielding a child from harm, somehow survivors found it within themselves to treat each other kindly despite their plight. Wiesel believed that compassion was not just a human right, but it was part of one’s identity and makeup as a human being. Additionally, he felt that every human rights campaign must begin with compassion if it were to be successful.

…I believe that compassion is more than a human right; it is deep inside each of us, and part of our wiring. Compassion is not an agenda item of the political left, nor is it exclusively the doctrine of religion. Compassion is our instinct and duty as human beings to abide by basic human principles that bind us together as members of the same human family. “When some deny our human capacity for compassion by denying human rights to others, they are not just attacking our universal human rights; they are also denying their identities as human beings” (Inn 2010).

Studying the Holocaust the past four years has had a profound impact on my life and has underscored the critical need for compassion today more than ever. One need only look at the Syrian refugee plight for proof of this. The few countries that have stepped up to help are making a huge difference in people’s lives. Whether suffering is in plain sight or around the world, it is everyone’s concern.

I remind myself daily that compassion starts with the smallest of good deeds. In my own experience, the smallest act of kindness goes a long way and can make a huge difference to someone. I am conscious of my privilege as a white middle class male, and I know that others often do not receive the same treatment that I do. I strive to listen to and respect everyone and believe everyone has a story to tell that is interesting and valuable. My responsibility to all, I believe, is simply to listen and remember. If we don’t honor the lives of those who suffered and learn from past mistakes, as the last remaining survivor population dwindles, their stories will die with them. Remarkably, none of the Holocaust survivors whose testimonies I have heard want revenge, and they don’t exhibit any hate or contempt. The unifying theme of all of their testimonies is a wish for a future that is more kind and humane, and that histories’ lessons don’t go ignored. When we bear witness, we become a witness. The onus is on my generation to create a world that is more compassionate. We are the bridge to a better tomorrow. We all need to be aware and do our part in this world. Kindness and compassion are the tools essential for building a future that is more humane.

I hope you will join us on Sunday, 10:30 am at Faneuil Hall as we recognize Zachary’s work and that of five other student winners. Together we will honor our local survivors, pay tribute to those who perished, transmit memory and ensure an enduring commitment to preserving this critical legacy.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

Beyond Books and Borders

On the eve of Passover, when we share our national story and reenact our journey, I share with you the story of one of our literacy volunteers and the deep connections she has fostered with her students through their shared life journeys.

In May of 1960, Marion Bank was 13 and living in Chile when she experienced the largest recorded seismic event to date. What became known as the Great Chilean Earthquake had devastating effects all over Chile, and continued to have ripple effects from Japan and the Philippines to Alaska. This experience left a lasting impact on Marion - one she would share over 55 years later with a group of fourth graders at the Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham, where – as part of a team from Temple Beth Sholom, Framingham - she tutors with the Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL).

Marion currently works in the fourth grade science class on Wednesday mornings. On this particular day, the students were learning about earthquakes and Marion was able to make the concept come alive with her story of trauma and survival from her childhood. The room lit up. The students asked questions: “What did you do?” “Were you scared?” “Did you have nightmares after that?” The lesson became much more than a routine science class and the students were able to understand the very real impact of earthquakes in a new way.

Marion, like many of our GBJCL students, immigrated to America when she was young. Her parents fled Nazi Germany in 1939. They got on a ship -not knowing where it was headed - and ended up in Chile. Almost a quarter century later, having survived the Nazi era, Marion’s family decided to move to America.

Marion’s connection to the immigrant experiences of others is a deeply personal one. As a tutor at Stapleton, she is able to connect with students who are new to this county and who are adjusting to a new life in a new place. One young boy joined the Stapleton class shortly after he and his family emigrated from Brazil. He was very shy about using English and did not feel confident writing when asked. Marion worked closely with him, engaging him in conversation about what he wanted to learn. She would then write down his answers and share it with the teacher.

That experience gave this student more assurance and, by the end of the year, he was a full participant in the class. Marion’s own experience of being a stranger in a new land allowed her to lend the support needed to build her young friend’s confidence as a capable student and an English speaker.
After learning Marion’s story about her family’s journey to Chile and then America, Lianne Manzella, the 4th grade science teacher, decided to design her immigration unit around Marion’s experience later this spring. Once again, the students will have the opportunity to learn from Marion’s first-hand experience. They’ll have the opportunity to understand her unique perspective as an immigrant and just maybe, to share their own immigration stories.

As we continue our GBJCL20 celebration, we are sharing stories that celebrate the impact the program has had on students and volunteer tutors. Our tutors are as diverse as the students we work with, coming from different backgrounds and bringing a variety of experiences with them to the program. Join us in celebrating the 20th anniversary of our literacy volunteer program as JCRC Celebrates on May 24th.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a meaningful Passover,

Jeremy

Four Questions, Four Actions

Click here to download our Seder Supplement for 2017/5777, featuring action items and Boston-specific stories about immigrants and refugees.

 

With Passover just over a week away, and many of us already deep into preparations, I ask you to pause with me for just a moment, as we acknowledge some remarkable community-wide efforts addressing issues deeply resonant of themes of the Festival of Freedom.

As you may have read in today’s Boston Globe, CJP - Combined Jewish Philanthropies is teaming up with Catholic Charities of Boston to fund legal services for immigrants in a powerful display of interfaith cooperation in this challenging time. I’m particularly proud that JCRC Board President Adam Suttin is taking the lead amongst donors to the fund. As Adam says in this Boston Globe piece today: "He sees aiding today’s newcomers as a matter of “basic human rights, civil rights, and Jewish values.”

“We were once strangers in this land,” he said. “We have to remember that and provide opportunities for others to enjoy the benefits of this country.”

This new fund is the latest action step in a multi-pronged collective agenda in which our local Jewish community is standing in solidarity with immigrants and refugees. I’m delighted to share more about our actions – those we’ve taken so far, and those we invite you to join us on in the future – which are featured in JCRC’s Seder Supplement for 2017/5777: Standing with Immigrants and Refugees (PDF).

We are very proud to be distributing this in partnership with ADL New England, JALSA, Jewish Family Service and JVS.

But how is this Seder Supplement different from all others, you may ask?

This one is specifically about – and for – Boston’s Jewish community.

  • You will read stories that should be roundly and proudly shared, of the actions that Jewish organizations and synagogues members are taking to support and act in solidarity with our foreign born neighbors.
  • You will also read about the profound way in which these issues resonate with our own experience and history as Jews, including the seldom told story of how many of our people found safety in this country, even without legal access or documentation.
  • Finally, and most important, you will learn how you can take critical action now, to breathe new life into our age old commitment to freedom for all people.

Wishing you a joyous and meaningful Passover!

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

Boston’s Jewish Community Deserves Better than the Jewish Advocate’s Lies

KORFF RESPONSE3

Dear Rabbi Korff -

I have been dismayed by the direction of the Advocate in recent years. In the current issue of the Advocate your employees manipulate facts and narrative to tear down a respected community institution seemingly in service of your own pernicious agenda.  The continued attack on an honorable community leader is the latest outrage in the Advocate’s pursuit of shoddy journalistic standards and even shoddier and more questionable integrity.

I have chosen by and large to hold my tongue, even when those lies and manipulations are about myself personally or the organization I lead. However, I will not remain silent when you malign my staff. On the Advocates’ March 31 letters page, in response to a letter from Jen Kiok of the Workmen's Circle, the Advocate falsely attributed a quote to a JCRC spokeswoman in an “editor’s note.” We have reviewed our communication with your employees regarding the anti-BDS legislation. At no time did our spokeswoman ever say that "all JCRC members also support the bill" nor did she ever say that the Workmen's Circle specifically had taken a position in support.

Astute readers of the Advocate know that your editor has an unhealthy affection for falsehoods. That the editor would boldly lie and blame his journalistic failures on falsely attributed quotes is a new low, even for your paper.

Jeremy Burton, Executive Director

Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston

 

Layers and Narratives of Complexity

Last month I had the opportunity to spend four days traveling in Palestinian Authority controlled areas of the West Bank, and in Jerusalem neighborhoods with Palestinian majorities. This opportunity was provided by Encounter, which invites American Jewish leaders to engage with Palestinian experiences and perspectives.

I found some familiar experiences: meeting co-existence activists in Bethlehem (including one we meet with on our JCRC trips); touring Ramallah and hearing from a member of the Palestinian negotiation team. I also had new experiences: visiting a refugee community near Bethlehem that I have often viewed from afar; walking through a security checkpoint that six weeks earlier I had viewed from the Jerusalem side during a security barrier tour; visiting Battir – a Palestinian village with ancient Jewish significance - abutting the Green Line that divided the area for nineteen years, but where the Green Line remained open so that villagers could continue working their farms.

I’ve been thinking a lot about two particular encounters:

A small group of us had tea in Bethlehem with a Christian woman. She was animated, her emotions heightened as she relates her experience. She is adamant that she knows no one who has engaged in violent resistance, she rejects it, even abhors it. But she asks us why she must pay the price for the violence committed by others, and suffer the consequence of Israel’s response; why she must live with a security barrier limiting her passage to the Jerusalem she knew fondly, and complicating travel to other areas of the West Bank beyond the Bethlehem area.

During our conversation it becomes apparent that - despite having met with many American Jewish groups over the years - this woman’s perception of our identity is wildly inaccurate. She does not understand the distinction between “Jewish” and “Israeli” or seem to know that we visitors don’t have a vote in Israel, or that most of us never plan to move here. She is shocked by our articulation of this nuance. Then she is eager to move on rather than explore this new information. She has an urgent need to resume her narrative and have us hear more about her experience.

My second experience was a walking tour with a resident of Sheik Jarrah. The neighborhood is just north of Jerusalem’s Old City, over the Green Line and inside the present municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. Our host was an academic and a mother of four. She was born in the home she lives in today - when the area was under Jordanian control. Her parents were refugees from what became Israel and, after 1948, Jordan resettled them in this neighborhood.

As a resident of the neighborhood, she and her children carry blue identity cards. Blue cards are for non-Israeli citizen Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Her husband carries the green card of a West Bank Palestinian. She is indignant that he is not permitted to live with her in Jerusalem, that she is forced to visit him at his home in Ramallah. She is passionately angry about the Jewish presence in the neighborhood and about the Jews that, she tells us, have “stolen” Palestinian homes. She is frustrated with the quality of her municipal services.

There is more to the story of this neighborhood that she does not tell us, and that she may not even know: before 1948 Sheik Jarrah was a mixed Arab and Jewish neighborhood with a second, Jewish, name: Shim'on HaTsadik. In 1948 the Jewish residents were forced to become refugees themselves and move to the western part of the city; many of the homes Jordan provided to the new Palestinian residents were on Jewish properties.

This omission from the narrative doesn’t diminish the importance of her experience. Why, we ask, does she stay here rather than live with her husband? “This is where I was born. This is my home.” Why doesn’t she exercise her right to vote in municipal elections and use the power she has? “Because not voting is part of our non-violent resistance.”

I’m comfortable with the intentionally unbalanced nature of these experiences. For me - steeped in Israel education, with years of living in Israel and traveling here– this is another slice, another aspect of a place I care so much about. And sometimes we need to do a little quieting of our own narrative so we can really hear the narrative of another. Too few of us get to travel here and converse with these people. This may be in part because we lack opportunities to do so, but often, we’re simply not interested in the whole picture.

This is a familiar challenge and frustration. So many of us are insistent on sharing our narratives, but we have little interest in hearing those of others. We become enamored of those facts that affirm our biases, and we claim them as our narratives, while ignoring that which challenges our world views or forces us to look beyond our own stories. Even during this encounter I wondered what our conversations with Palestinians would be like if they included participation by Israelis I know, with their own experience of suffering and helplessness in the face of the second Intifada’s attacks; violence that the security barrier almost completely halted. I wonder if those two narratives, side by side, could find some common narrative that could bridge the divide between them.

Encountering Palestinians doesn’t undermine my core commitment to achieving peace through a negotiated two-state agreement. Rather, it affirms it. This experience deepens my understanding of the complex challenges in achieving peace for both Israelis and Palestinians. And, it widens my appreciation for those innocents, both Israeli and Palestinian, who live daily with realities that come from the absence of peace; and who express an experience of having no personal agency in solving this.

A month later I am continuing to sit with the challenge and the frustration, but also with a hope: that by investing in coexistence and peace-building between Israelis and Palestinians, in time it may be possible to build at least one shared narrative in this place; of two people sharing peace.

And I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

Embracing Optimism: Peres’ Message of Constructive Engagement

This blog was originally posted on JewishBoston.com.

At last week’s kickoff event for the CommUNITY Israel Dialogue, we honored the life and legacy of Shimon Peres. Israel’s former Consul General to New England Nadav Tamir began by sharing one of Peres’ guiding principles: unfettered optimism.

Peres chose to be an optimist despite facing various levels of opposition during his decades of public service in Israel. Peres, Nadav recalled, figured that since optimists and pessimists “all die the same way,” he would take the “glass half full” approach.

In these unpredictable and difficult times, we are embarking on a year-long effort to plot a course toward healthier conversations with each other about the ways in which we all connect with Israel. As we set forward on this path, one intention we can set for ourselves is to hear Shimon Peres’ wisdom in embracing constructive optimism.

Nadav articulated a few of the things that he learned from Peres that help him maintain an optimistic outlook for Israel and world Jewry.

First, he spoke about looking for win-win scenarios; seeking opportunities to learn and converse about significant issues together, particularly when we find ourselves in situations that appear to be adversarial in nature.

Second, he listened. Peres achieved his greatest successes when he was listening empathically, not when he was delivering a monologue based on scripted talking points.

Third, he didn’t dwell on past failures. Perhaps the ultimate key to Peres’ success was his ability to put the past aside to secure the future he hoped to create. He was not deterred by setbacks and failed negotiations. He insisted on pushing forward, armed with the belief that change would come, and that he could be a key instrument in bringing peace to Israelis and Palestinians.

Regardless of our personal politics, I believe we can wholeheartedly embrace this principle of constructive optimism.

If we are to create a more productive community engagement with each other about Israel, we will need to put aside external factors and past experiences that lead us to feel pessimistic, apathetic, and despairing when we talk to one another about Israel. We have the ability to move forward as a community with productive conversations about the Jewish state and its central role in the Jewish future.

This is a difficult task, one which involves individuals letting go of pre-conceived notions that are often deeply rooted in historical narrative and personal experience, stopping to truly hear each other’s perspectives when we would rather not, and shutting out the voices that say having a conversation about Israel is so difficult it isn’t worth our time.

For us to succeed, we will need to acknowledge that the significance of this challenge attests to the importance of the task at hand. We can help provide answers for those who are stuck wondering how to move forward. We can be models of civic discourse, unity, and optimism in a time when these qualities are in too short supply. We need only to take responsibility for our community here in Boston.

After hearing Nadav, I was left with the following thought: we cannot afford to wait for “things to get better” before we become optimists. The burden is on us to bring optimism into the world and that starts within our own community.

It is important to understand that Peres saw this as a choice that we make — between optimism and pessimism.

Some people today are experiencing that same choice, while others are more personally attuned to the tension between optimism and apathy, or between optimism and despair. Sitting in the audience I found myself inspired by the emphasis on optimism. If we as a community embrace the principles Shimon Peres espoused and that Nadav Tamir shared with us last week, then we have reason to be optimistic about our communal conversations about Israel.

Watch Nadav’s keynote here.

Watch CJP executive director Gil Preuss introduce the CommUNITY Israel Dialogue here.

Read more about the CommUNITY Israel Dialogue, including a list of our 60 partner organizations and upcoming events.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

How We Remember: April 23 is Our Community Holocaust Commemoration of Yom HaShoah

Last year I wrote about Dr. Robert Berger z’l, a Brookline Holocaust survivor, who had an immeasurable impact on our community and beyond. We were privileged to have him participate in our Yom HaShoah Committee, where he advocated passionately not only for the accurate portrayal of the horrific ordeal endured by Holocaust survivors, but also for teaching about the extraordinary ways in which they successfully rebuilt their lives and contributed so richly to our community .

This week, Dr. Berger’s life and legacy were featured on WBUR’s The Remembrance Project. His wife Pat spoke of his career as a pioneering cardiothoracic surgeon, whose lifetime of work included exposing the junk science and bogus results of the medical experiments performed by Nazis on Jewish concentration camp victims. His response to the death and destruction he witnessed was to dedicate his life to saving others, through his long and remarkable medical career.

This year, once again, we will feature the stories of local Holocaust survivors, as attendees at our annual Holocaust Commemoration hear firsthand survivor testimony. We are honored to feature Rabbi Joseph Polak, a cherished leader of Boston’s Jewish community, as the survivor speaker for the 2017 Commemoration.

Rabbi Polak was just an infant in 1945 when the Allied forces began to move across Europe. Before his first birthday, he was taken along with his family, first to one concentration camp, then another. He was nearly three years old when he and his family were liberated from Bergen-Belsen. Despite the unimaginable trauma he suffered in his early years, his story, along with those of other child survivors, went largely unacknowledged by the larger community. In his book, “After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring”, he writes poignantly about the pain that he and other child survivors experienced at the additional trauma of having their story of survival ignored and invalidated.

Rabbi Polak is the Emeritus Rabbi of the Florence & Chafetz Hillel House at Boston University, and the Chief Justice of the Rabbinical Court of Massachusetts.

I hope you will join us on Sunday, April 23rd to hear his story, honor the local survivors in our community, and pay tribute to the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

Resilient Living

Jewish fears were front and center this week as the tide of bomb threats against JCCs and other institutions continued to roll across the country, disrupting communities, and sowing seeds of dread and anxiety. The desecration of hallowed Jewish ground at a cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri traumatized us as well. As buildings were evacuated, as members of our community reeled in horror at the violation of loved ones’ final resting places, many of us struggled to make sense of this new reality where Jews living in the United States in 2017 experience personal threat and fear; and it’s one that we are still trying to wrap our minds around.

On a larger scale, fears of various kinds have become the predominant experience for too many in our society. To some, this will be read as a partisan political statement. It is not. The fears are multiple and widespread, and are experienced across the diverse landscape of our nation.

The slow economic growth in recent decades (compared to the more dynamic U.S. economy in the latter half of the 20th century) has led many to fear for their security in our economy and for the prospects for their children’s futures. There are fears for personal safety in a world where violence of various kinds seems ascendant. There are fears of losing civil rights that we - incorrectly –assumed, once expanded, would not be reversed. There are fears that come from the experience of hatred and bigotry of all kinds.

But amidst the fear, we’re witnessing signs of hope as communities band together in solidarity. There was power in Vice President Pence’s surprise visit to Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery on Wednesday where he joined in the cleanup alongside Muslim activists who had pitched in to quickly raise the funds needed for repairs, while offering messages of condemnation and solidarity. And there is power in the many expressions of care and concern we receive daily from our Christian and Muslim partners here in Boston.

We know we’re being targeted in this moment – but we’re far from alone. One need only talk to members of other communities –Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ, among others – to understand the very real fears gripping them as well. We’re all grappling with the same dilemmas: How to resist giving in to the fear. How to keep getting up every day and going about our lives. How to make our communal spaces  safe enough to invite people in, while not allowing them to become fortresses that deepen anxiety and alienate people who would otherwise seek community.

And in appreciating the power that came from acts and expressions of solidarity directed toward the Jewish community locally and nationally this week, we recognize the power of our acts of solidarity with others; the folks who rushed to airports a few weeks ago; the Bostonians who reacted to the assault on a Quebec mosque by forming a “chain of peace” outside a local mosque.

The choice we have is between living in fear or embracing a more hopeful way forward; succumbing to victimhood or acting powerfully with the agency to not only take care of ourselves, but to join with others in repairing what has gone so wrong with society. We can live in despair or we can choose to act with resiliency. Resiliency requires solidarity - coming together in a powerful, shared endeavor. Resiliency includes rejecting the false choice between standing  up for ourselves or  standing up for others, because by doing both together we create a greater force to do all of the necessary and urgent work of repair that is so desperately needed right now.

I keep stepping out with my kippah proudly on. Every day, all across this country, parents continue to take their kids to JCCs, where we celebrate our heritage and explore our rich Jewish culture. We leave the mezuzot on our doors for all the world to see that we are here, living proud and joyful Jewish lives. We do so in the confidence that in moments like this week, when it really mattered, we stood up for ourselves and our neighbors stood up for us. And, we are reaffirming that, when our neighbors need us, as they do right now, we stand up for them too.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

A Visit with the People’s Lawyer

When I was just starting on my own path to becoming a Jewish communal professional, a JCRC director (from another city) patiently explained to me why the national Jewish community relations field organized our policy and advocacy work with one bucket being defined as “Jewish Security and the Bill of Rights.” It wasn’t that we, the organized Jewish community, only care about the Constitution as it applies to ourselves. It was that, simply put, we understand that our ability to thrive and prosper as a minority in this country is due in no small part to the civil liberties that our nation promises to all people, and thus, that we must fight to fulfill the promise of those freedoms for all.

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This has been a tumultuous week on the national scene, to say the least. So it could have not been more timely that we sat down with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey this past Tuesday, along with representatives from JCRC’s network of agencies. Our focus was on the Attorney General’s priorities, our community’s concerns and the role we can play in shaping local and national policy in this uncertain and fraught time.

We’ve worked with her team in the past, to advance transgender public accommodations and equal pay for women, to enforce our Commonwealth’s strong gun violence prevention laws and to protect immigrants and the poor from consumer fraud at the hands of predatory lenders – to name but a few examples. But it was clear at the table this week that the work required of all of us in the face of new threats and challenges must be bolder and more ambitious.

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Attorney General Healey talked about her role, as our - the people’s – lawyer to enforce not only state laws, but also to address federal laws when the federal government falls short. It was a lawsuit filed by our AG’s office that led to the striking down of DOMA. Now, her office is part of a suit to force Exxon Mobil to disclose their research on climate change.

Healey reaffirmed her team’s commitment to civil rights, combating hate and racism, protecting the hard fought rights of the LGBTQ community, and ensuring that Massachusetts remain a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees. We discussed ways that her office can work with local police departments and with the ADL, as partners, to deal with rising anti-Semitism and hate crimes right here in Massachusetts.

And, she told us how we can amplify our impact by working together with other communities – not just here but around the country - to develop a critical mass of people who encourage other state AGs to follow suit.

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Seven decades after JCRC was founded to provide our community with a collective voice to protect Jewish interests along with the values for our nation, and as we rise once again to confront hate and bigotry, to champion civil rights, and to fight for our own safety in an insecure world, I can’t think of a time – since those early years - when the mission of community relations felt more urgent than it does today. At its root, our work animates a simple but profound truth; that our security and self-interests are deeply intertwined with the protection of the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all of our neighbors.

We are called, once again, to recommit ourselves to these values - but now with the urgency to maintain protections hard won in decades past. As Healey urged us, now "we must do everything we can to fight the normalization of marginalization."

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

A Prayer for Our Nation

Last July, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York accepted an invitation to deliver the invocation at the Republican National Convention. Under pressure from some members of the Jewish community, he withdrew from the event. We share with you the invocation that Rabbi Lookstein had planned to deliver last summer, and we invite you to join us today in reflection on his words, their meaning, and the call therein to us and our nation.

 

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Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy