Today is January 23, 2019 -
There is a beautiful tradition that the messiah will come when all of Israel will come together to observe two perfect Shabbatot as one unified people. The first perfect Shabbat occurred the first Shabbat after receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai, which makes sense since all of Israel was physically and spiritually together in that moment, glowing from the light of Revelation. But ever since that moment, ever since we took leave of Mt. Sinai, Jews have observed (or not observed) Shabbat in uniquely diverse ways. As time has gone by, our diversity has flourished and with it a tinge of sadness that it is harder to find moments when we feel unified as one people. Another perfect, unified Shabbat is not on the horizon particularly because our unity is now found in the incredible vastness and richness of our diversity.
Yet there are moments that call out to us as we live within our diversity to remind us that we are an am yisrael chai, a united, living, people of Israel. Sadly, that moment was experienced this week as we came together to mourn the tragic and evil slaughter of eleven worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Since that moment, fellow Jews and our allies have gathered across the country and the world to remember, grieve, pray, hope, and take action in order to remove the scourge of anti-Semitism in our midst, as well as to remind ourselves that our country is suffering from an epidemic of gun violence that is not acceptable. Our sanctuaries have overflowed and our hearts have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and love present in our communities. And out of the midst of this terrible ordeal, fueled by the desire together, is a call to unify ourselves as a people in the spirit of the tradition of our ancestors to bring about the messiah, the future we want to see, through observing Shabbat together; it is a call to come to shul on Saturday and #ShowUpForShabbat.
~ Our sisters and brothers were killed because they showed up for Shabbat. We will honor their legacy when we #ShowUpForShabbat.
~ A murderer went looking for Jews in the place they showed up for Shabbat. We will demonstrate to the world that we are here, we are proud, and we will never be defeated when we stand together and #ShowUpForShabbat.
~ The peace and sanctity of the Tree of Life synagogue was vandalized when their members showed up for Shabbat last week. Across the world, we will restore a semblance of that peace and sanctity, hoping it will move us a little closer to a future we hope to see, when this week we all #ShowUpForShabbat
We at HJC are making extra, last minute preparations for babysitting, youth services, a learner’s service for adults, a robust kiddush, and special additions to the main service with the expectation that our community will want to #ShowUpForShabbat this week. And even if you don’t show up for Shabbat here, make sure to show up for Shabbat somewhere, so that through our diversity – in all of the places and ways we make Shabbat happen in the Jewish world – we will celebrate the unity of our people, thus getting us one step closer to achieving the bright future we all want to see.
Rabbi Ari Saks
Kol Nidre – Faith in Our Sacred Myths Updated handout with sources. Recorded before the holiday:
Yom Kippur Morning – Our Super Jewish Power: Utilizing Guilt as Opposed to Shame Updated handout with sources. Recorded before the holiday:
Yizkor – Available upon request.
Rosh Hashanah Day 1 – The Need for Vulnerability Handouts with sources. Recorded before the holiday.
For video, click here.
Rosh Hashanah Day 2 – Building a Holy Community Handouts with sources. Recorded before the holiday:
For video, click here.