I imagine I should probably make appropriate rabbinic comments about yet another mass shooting in Highland Park on July 4th, just one of over a dozen that took place this weekend, but I just can’t. I am angry and afraid and disheartened, and I have no more words.
Instead, I want to write about the goodness and beauty that exists in our world, created and nurtured by compassionate human beings. Some work to provide for others the necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. Others focus their energy on improving the quality and availability of education, arts and culture. As Jews and as human beings, we are commanded to repair what is broken, and to contribute to these efforts of caring for each other.
In our prayerbook, Mishkan T’filah, there is an English passage that stopped my breath for a moment. You know that feeling when you are so struck with awe and clarity that an internal flame sparks?
“We pray for love to encompass us for no other reason save that we are human…”
This one line and the theology it represents is the prooftext, so-to-speak, of why each one of us deserves love, joy, and dignity as well as the more concrete rights mentioned above and many more. Our humanity, made in the image of God, is holy, and we deserve no less than to be seen and known, face-to-face, as Moses saw God – holy.
Worcester is blessed to have so many organizations filled with staff and volunteers dedicated to this mission. For this year’s TES Summer Institute, the Lifelong Learning Committee chose to highlight some of the more unique organizations so you can learn about our community’s needs and how our neighbors are making a difference. Some of these organizations may be new to you, and all of them are connected to our congregation or particular congregants. In this way, they are part of our family.
During July and August, we encourage you to not only attend our Shabbat Services to learn from staff and volunteers of these organizations, but also to welcome those who are visiting Temple Emanuel Sinai – some for the first time. Let us be gracious hosts, fulfilling the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, as they share with us how they perform acts of lovingkindness – gemilut chasadim – every day.
I look forward to celebrating Shabbat with you throughout the summer, both in person and online.