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Elul – Witnessing Who We Are and Who We Are Not, Yet

Shalom Chevrei!

Today is the 11th day of Elul. Elul is a vulnerable time for us - one that calls us to witness who we are and who we are not, at least not yet. It’s also a time for tikkun- for healing and repair, and a time for binyan- building renewed souls.

Following last week’s incident of pro-Palestinian vandalism at Beth Hillel Temple in Kenosha, the Rabbi Dena Feingold has this to say:

“We are advocates for justice for all oppressed people. We support the movement for Black lives, and we know that one person with a can of spray paint does not speak for an entire cause. We pray for Jacob Blake and decry the vigilante murders that took place a block from our synagogue two nights ago. Our call is for justice and peace in our community and around the world.”

Whether it’s about fighting against racism or for anti-racism, or whether it’s about championing human rights for Palestinians or Israel’s right to exist in peace; whatever cause lends to ensuring justice or healing our world or building it back better, our work requires a collective call for change. But we also have to look in the mirror and take personal responsibility - to be the change we seek around us. The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) said, “Everyone thinks of changing humanity, but nobody thinks of changing himself.” Real change starts from within. Be of good courage and embrace the accompanying vulnerability. You’ll do your precious part to bring healing to yourself, society, and the planet; and collectively, that will build a renewed and improved life.

A refuah shleimah to Jacob Blake.

Make it a day of blessing, be a force for good, and stay in the fight until justice is won by all.

Zei gezunt,

Rabbi Craig Marantz

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