It's been nearly a week since President Trump's comments about NFL players during the Strange for Senate rally. The comments may have been meant as a one-off, but the aftermath continues....

The comments have had a remarkable impact. How often does one find both NFL players and owners agreeing on anything?  Miracle on 34th Street  was the last time there was such unity between rivals (remember Mr. Macy shaking hands with Mr. Gimbel?). And that was fiction.

As the controversy has continued, it brought mind an incident many years ago when we were still living in Nebraska. At that time, there was a dispute concerning demonstrators burning the American flag. Voices were loud and questions about loyalty and patriotism were bandied about. One of Nebraska's Senators,  Bob Kerrey, a  Navy SEAL who had lost a leg in Vietnam, spoke to the point. He said, "I lost my leg to guarantee them the right to burn the flag." No reasonable person could doubt Kerrey's patriotism. He focused defending our freedoms and our ability to speak out, even if the message is painful.

The flag is a symbol, the national anthem is a song. We cannot treat them like idols,  which is but one step from idolatry. The symbols are important, but not as important as "the country for which it stands, ... with liberty and justice for all." That is what our country, the United States of America, can and should be: not perfect, but the best government which is available.  

During these Ten Days of Repentance, our personal mission is to consider questions of belief and loyalty, of conviction and mission, of action and renewal. We review how we have lived with the ultimate goal of recalibrating our lives. We should consider the place of faith as a guide for our path; idolatry of any sort is to be shunned.

May Yom Kippur, its liturgy and message, impact your life for the good, today, this week and always.

Some reminders ... Sukkot is soon with us; check your schedule for service times.  Don't forget to write and send me your Thank You notes to God.

Rabbi Paul Drazen
(315) 445 - 0002 x121
450 Kimber Road
Syracuse, NY 13224
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