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None of Us is Alone

07/24/2020 11:45:41 AM

Jul24

Last week at Friday night services we talked about where we are two months after George Floyd’s murder. For those unable to make it, I thought I would share what I said to open the service.

 

Tonight we are going to reflect on where we are two months after George Floyd’s murder. There are those in this country on both sides who would like to believe that they are alone; that they are islands being attacked from all sides. I am not just speaking of those minorities for whom justice and equity remain so elusive that they feel determined to label us, their Jewish brothers and sisters, the enemy, but also the radical white supremacists and people who falsely equate wearing a mask with tyranny.

 

The one thing these two groups have in common is that they all view themselves as alone. They see themselves as people who are being attacked by the world and have no allies. These are people who perceive incorrectly that they are alone.

 

None of us is alone. None of us has the luxury of being alone or considering ourselves alone. When one of us is under attack, we are all under attack. None of us are free if one of us is chained. The prophet Isaiah teaches us that it is up to us to break the shackles of oppression. So long as one of us is oppressed we are all oppressed.

 

Tonight we reflect on where we are today two months after George Floyd, 28 years since the LA Riots, 56 years since the Harlem riots, 66 years since Brown v. the Board of Education, 124 years since Plessy v. Ferguson passed “separate but equal”, and 157 years since Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in the Emancipation Proclamation.

 

We have come a long way, but none of us are free as long one of us is chained whether physically or metaphorically. We must commit as a congregation to work for equity for all and to remember none of us has the luxury of being an island, or to consider ourselves alone and separate from others.

 

Our tradition teaches “Al tifrosh min hatzibur”- do not separate yourself from the community. Our community is not just the people of Temple Beth David or the Jewish people, but all people on planet Earth. No human is allowed to separate themselves from our human community. No human should see themselves as apart from or better than others in that global community.

Tonight let us reflect on where we were, where we are, and not only where we want to be, but how we are going to get there. Let us unlock our imaginations to hope and possibility so that “Justice flows like a mighty river” and all people are free to have access to the same dreams.

Wed, August 12 2020 22 Av 5780