To Our Isaiah Family,
It has been a harrowing weekend. Yesterday, Isaiah’s clergy and Temple President Mike Diamond reached out to our members who live near the Grove, the Beverly Center and Rodeo Drive. Today, we reached out to members in Santa Monica and Venice.
First and foremost, we wanted to know if you and your family were safe. We also wanted to know how you were feeling and what this moment in history meant to you.
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the subsequent protests, now hijacked by looters, the political rhetoric that continues to divide us, and the absence of leadership, exposes a degree of societal disintegration we were not prepared to confront in the midst of Covid-19.
It’s distressing for residents and devastating for business owners.
It is painful for adult children, worried about their aging parents and how to raise young kids.
It is overwhelming for allies and those still learning how to be allies.
It’s frightening for Jews, for Jews of Color and for People of Color. For those who cry out, again and again, and fear there is no reply. Or worse, that the answer is more pain, more violence, more hate.
It’s terrifying for Black men and boys and for parents raising Black children.
It’s heartbreaking to realize that this is America – our inheritance and legacy – lynched, shattered and broken.
Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught:
The whole world is a narrow bridge, and the most important part is not to be afraid. The whole world has always been narrow. We have always been precariously perched on the edge of knowing and not knowing, of control and chaos,of life and death. This is what it means to be human. We are fallible, mortal, and frail.
However, Jewish tradition wasn’t satisfied to leave us submissive, impotent or paralyzed. The Torah says we were created in the Image of God and that we carry a Divine spark within us. We are partners with The Holy One in building a more just and compassionate world.
And, so, the Jewish response in the face of fear, uncertainty and injustice is not to go quietly into the night. The Jewish response is not to stand idly by.
Justice, justice you shall pursue.
The Torah of our ancestors says the world is not complete until it is filled with justice and righteousness. That commandment is incumbent upon us all.
What can we do?
This week, join your clergy for an evening conversation to reflect on this moment in our lives – our fear and sadness, and our resolve to confront and dismantle institutional and systemic racism. We will be gathering on Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday night at 7:30PM. RSVP to Claire Austin
Your clergy are here for you. Please reach out to us if you need support.
Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.
The Torah of our People says the world may not be fully realized in your time, but you are not free to desist from building it.
What can we do?
Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles and Pastor Boyd of FAME Church are planning a gathering for this week. Janet Hirsch, our VP of Social Justice, is in conversation with our sister churches through One LA-IAF. As we’ve always done, we reach out to our neighbors and we rebuild this city together. More information to come.
From one generation to the next. The Torah of Isaiah instructs each and every one of us that it is our obligation to hand these teachings to the next generation and to inspire them to continue the work.
What can we do?
If you do not know where to start, Rabbi Dara recommends reading Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s, How to be an Anti-Racist. Kendi argues that the opposite of racist isn’t “Not Racist.” It’s being Anti-Racist; and, we must actively choose to be Anti-Racist, working to undo racism and its component policies in order to build an equitable society. additional resources for all ages Anit-Racism and Black Lives Matter: A Reading List for Chilfren & Families
This weekend, we saw our city broken down. This weekend, we also saw folks with brooms and bags, sweeping up the broken pieces. That is our mission – as partners with God – to sweep up the shards and repair our world.
May God comfort the mourners, and may our hands hold one another with only love.
May God bless those in need of healing, and may we learn to become healers, as well.
May all of God’s children be blessed with protection and safety, as we rebuild this world together.
Rabbi Dara Frimmer
Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles
Cantor Tifani Coyot
Rabbi Jaclyn Cohen