If you were at Kabbalat Shabbat last week, you heard Rabbi Dean break from a norm in his drash. After the second synagogue shooting in six months, he raised the issue of politics and policy contributing to the current spate of attacks on religious minorities. I want to continue in that vein.
The gunman had written online that he wanted to kill all Jews because Jews allegedly wanted to commit genocide against ‘his people.’ This kind of hatred is found all over the internet, and it is spurred on from may sources. As a result, anti-semitic violence has increased dramatically in the last two years. What happened two years ago? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center “These conspiracy theories are perpetuated and elevated by the increasing amount of hateful rhetoric flying from the mouths, or keyboards, of a growing cast of characters, up to and including, President Trump.”
During the past year I have encouraged TBH members to volunteer in our efforts to end childhood hunger, and other areas of Tikkun Olam. That is no longer enough. As the Rabbi spoke, we need to engage on another level now.
We cannot sit back and wait for others to change the political climate which makes it OK to target Jews, Muslims, people of color, women or any other group. We must get involved in legislative and electoral efforts to restore respect for all in our nation of (mostly) immigrants. While federal law places some constraints on what TBH can do as an organization, as individuals and citizens we are free to work to elect leaders who share our values. Our survival just might depend on it.
When, not if, you want to get involved, and don’t know where to begin, please contact either myself or Michael Nye.
We are what we do.