Dear TBC Community,

Today I joined faith leaders from many traditions in publicly calling for our country to move past prayer and to do the necessary work that will protect the lives of our students and of all people. 

Each faith leader was asked to share a text from their tradition which inspires them to prevent gun violence.  The text that I chose comes from the Babylonian Talmud and expands on the moment when the Israelites were caught between the advancing army of their enemy and the dangerous waters of the Red Sea.  As the people froze in terror, Moses stood and engaged in lengthy prayer.  In that moment, when the people were vulnerable and their leader was praying, the rabbis imagined that the following exchange took place.

God cried out, "My beloved ones are drowning in the sea,  and you prolong prayer before me!"
Moses responded, "Ruler of the Universe, what is there in my power to do?"
God replied, "Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward!"
(Sotah 37a)

It is past time for us to move beyond our prayers so that we can go forward and protect the lives of our beloved ones.  

With this as our goal, I invite all of you to join me this Sunday (February 25th) at 11:45am for an hour of learning, advocacy, and friendship.  

At Sunday's meeting:
  • We will learn what Judaism has to contribute to the conversation about gun violence prevention.
  • We will use this knowledge to write letters to our congressional representatives - using Jewish values as the foundation for our calls to action.
  • We will write notes of friendship and support that will be sent to the Reform congregations closest to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  Members of these communities are struggling with grief and fear.  We cannot take their pain away, but through our advocacy and our friendship, we can show them that they are not alone.
An important note: This is an opportunity for parents to show their children that advocacy and the pursuit of social justice are important components of living Jewish lives.  I believe that students in high school and many in middle school will be able to participate meaningfully alongside of their parents.  However, I also know that this subject is painful and fear-inducing for people of all ages, and I understand that each family will need to decide whether to participate based on their own needs.  If I can help you make this decision, please reach out to me.  Additionally, if you are looking for resources about how to talk with your children about last week's tragedy, please give me a call and/or visit this site.

On Sunday, we will come together, lean on one another, and engage in the holy work of repairing our broken world.  

Chazak.  Chazak.  V'nitchazek.  
Be strong.  Be Strong.  Let us strengthen one another.

B'vracha (with blessings),

Rabbi Rachel Bearman