Ta Shema: 
Come and Learn with
Rabbi Bender
July 2nd, 2021, 22 Tamuz

Ta Shema is the Aramaic phrase for "come and learn," which was used in the Talmud to indicate when the rabbis wanted to dive deeper into a text. Come and learn with me!
Never Again is Yesterday
This week we begin the first of three Haftarot of Rebuke leading up to Tisha B’Av. The first comes from the prophetic call of Jeremiah. 
  • Jeremiah says, “Oh, God! I do not know how to speak for I am still a boy.”

  • God replies, “Do not say to me ‘I am still a boy', but go wherever I send you and speak whatever I command you. Have no fear of them, for I am with you to deliver you”.
As per usual, our prophetic readings are prophetic until this very day.
We know all too well that in the last few weeks we have seen an uptick of targeted anti-Semitic hate crimes in our own backyard. One week after the swastika was sprayed onto a beach access point in Wrightsville, I received a call about another crime. A 22 page anti-Semitic manifesto was delivered to someone who would rather remain anonymous. As with the incident of the swastika, all of the proper authorities were notified -- the Wilmington PD and the NC State Bureau of Investigation. Thank God, it seems they may at least have one lead.
Tuesday, however, I got a package sent to the synagogue addressed to “Mrs. Chaya Bender.” I opened and found my own 22 page anti-Semitic manifesto, nested between two sheets of red paper. Like the first letter, it was signed “Social Nationalist American People’s Party”. The name was highlighted by hand--they wanted me to know who sent it. Thankfully, the authorities who handle these incidents are now on speed dial in my phone. 
The important thing to know is that this is being handled and taken very seriously by many local and state authorities. However, it is critical to report any suspicious activities so that this hateful group knows that we will not be complacent and allow this to escalate.
  • If anyone receives such a manifesto--Let me know.
  • If you know of anyone else receiving a manifesto--Let me know.
  • If you ever notice anyone strange hanging around near or, God forbid, inside the synagogue--Let me know.
Never again is not “now”. Never again is “yesterday”. Today we take control of our own future and don't leave it in the hands of those who venerate the Nazis and perpetuate their hate.
Today we finally listen to what God was telling Jeremiah, that any one of us has the power to speak up. Not only that, it is our duty. 
As God said to Jeremiah, have no fear of them! We are stronger as a community when we are united and use our voices.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Chaya Bender
Rabbi Chaya Bender