A Message from Our Cantor
April 28, 2021

Shever tachat shever, ayin tachat ayin, shein tachat shein
A break for a break, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, as one has maimed another, so it shall be done to them. (Lev. 24:20)
 
One of the most well-known verses of Torah, and one that is perhaps most misunderstood. Held up, more often than not as an example of Torah’s cold-hearted approach to punishment, scholars argue that on the contrary, this verse was intended to limit unbridled retaliation, to keep a check on the impulse towards abusing power. This careful, balanced, if not poetic, verse was to ensure equity and fairness in the meting out of punishment.
 
Our American system of law enforcement certainly struggles with the distribution of fair and equitable penalties. Evidence of disproportionate violence and unfairly dispensed punishment has played out repeatedly in front of our eyes. Perhaps, this ancient verse from this week’s Torah portion can remind us that Judaism demands equity. Poet (or, dare I label him a modern-day psalmist) Alden Solovy inspires with his strong words:
 
Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When Black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being Black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.
©2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com

This Friday night, our Kabbalat Shabbat service begins at 6:30 pm. Our service will feature a selection by our Chavurah Ensemble at the start of our worship. (Zoom; click HERE for our Shabbat siddur)
 
On Shabbat morning, Rabbi Address leads Torah study beginning at 9:00 am, followed by Spice Up Your Judaism with Scott Kushner at 10:15 am. (Zoom for both sessions)

Also this Shabbat, Cary Bloom, son of Jayne Feld & Craig Bloom, will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah. Services begin at 10:30 am. (Zoom; click HERE for our Shabbat siddur)

Shabbat shalom,

Cantor Rhoda Harrison, Ph.D.