Thought for Shabbat – July 12, 2019
We recently learned of an exchange that occurred in 2018 where a high school principal in Boca Raton was being questioned by the parent of a student of the school regarding the Holocaust curriculum to be introduced into the school. The principal told the parent that it would not be forced on people. When the parent replied that the Holocaust was a historical matter of fact, the principal took issue with that statement telling the parent that “you have your beliefs and others have theirs.” Jews worldwide were outraged at this story even when the principal apologized. We took this story as a personal attack. We were justifiably outraged, especially in light of the continuing rise of anti-Semitism and other hate worldwide.
We have seen another of the faces of hate in a new poll which says that nineteen percent of Americans think small business owners should be allowed to refuse service to Jews if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. That is an increase from 2014, when 12 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, according to survey results published by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey found increased support for business owners to refuse service to a number of other groups as well, including gays and lesbians, transgender people, atheists, Muslims and African Americans.
The stories of hate are everywhere. From vulgar graffiti at a Maryland high school directed at Jews, blacks and homosexuals, or the white nationalist vandalism at Queens University targeting blacks and Jews, or the desecration of Jewish graves worldwide, it is clear that the face of hate continues to be emboldened. And those who perpetrate hate are often given a free pass. It took over a year for one online company to delete a posting by Louis Farrakhan that compared Jews to termites.
We are in a fight against hate, both the seen and unseen. And as Jews, if the fight against hate is to succeed, we must exhibit passion not only in the fight against anti-Semitism, but the fight against all hate. The same inspiration to act we feel against someone who denies the Holocaust is the same inspiration we need to exhibit against those who try to marginalize any group due to race, religion or sexual identity. Every time we are silent when hate occurs is a victory for hate. Every victory over one type of hate is a victory over all hate.
Rabbi Yaier Lehrer
Word/Phrase of the Week – Mei Meriva – The Waters of Contention – The place and event of Moses striking a rock in anger to obtain water instead of speaking to the Rock as he had been commanded. It is this event for which Moses is denied the opportunity to enter the Land of Israel.
Please make an effort to be part of our services during the summer. Tonight we will be indoors at 6:30 for our Friday Kabbalat Shabbat. Tomorrow morning we begin at 9:45 and Sunday morning minyan is at 9:00.