There is no question that the elections tomorrow holds epic importance in our personal and collective lives. I am so deeply grateful for everyone who has registered voters, canvassed, phone banked, provided election protection, prevented voter fraud, offered rides, and cooked meals and provided childcare to support such events. I have personally seen so many of you doing this work. Thank you!
If you do not yet have a plan to vote, please take a moment and talk it through with someone in your life.
If you have any questions about your eligibility, Identification or polling location, here is a number to call: 878-777-3861.
And here is a prayer for voting, which you can carry with you into the "booth" - because participating in democracy is a right and a privilege, and also a sacred responsibility.
May our votes move us closer to Micah's prophetic vision of a world grounded in justice, compassion and humility.
This week I had the privilege of participating in a ritual to honor the new moon of the month of Cheshvan. It was amazing to have so many of you participate, and to lead with other Kol Tzedek rabbis, Jessica and Alissa. Together we called on several banks (Wells Fargo, TD Bank) to stop funding the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On Simchat Torah our liturgy changed to include a daily prayer for rain, and once again called our attention to the power of water. Water is a key element in Jewish ritual life. Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone writes:
One could go back to any Torah portion and find connections to water, wells, or rain. In Genesis, one of the few things that precede Creation is the primordial water, called tehom, or the Abyss. Avraham digs wells. Jacob crosses rivers and uncovers a well. Joseph saves Egypt from a lack of water. The Israelites are enslaved to make mud-based bricks, and pass through the Sea of Reeds when their enslavement comes to an end. During the years of wandering, water is a major issue, since it is a scarce and precious resource in a desert." Rabbi Pepperstone concludes, "One could read the entire Torah as a narrative centered on water.”
The rabbis of the Talmud take this even further. They assert, that Torah is itself water (Ein Mayim Elah Torah). It is sustenance and survival, it is transformative and healing. And perhaps most vividly, we call upon Mayyim Hayyim - Living Waters and Torah Hayyim - a living tradition. Torah and Water are alive. And as we learn from the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, they are life. Together I hope will continue to uncover and reveal the implications of this truth.
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek Synagogue through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.