Dear Kol Tzedek Community,
In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
"At times we need to know that the Lord is a God of justice. When slumbering giants of injustice emerge in the earth, we need to know that there is a God of power who can cut them down like the grass and leave them withering like the green herb...
This week we read the last section in the book of Genesis, and companion the Israelites into mitzrayim/a narrow place, which ultimately leads to their enslavement. Next week we begin the liberation narrative of Exodus. We find ourselves caught in this liminal moment, full of loss, fear, anticipation and poised to take action. The timing of our sacred texts is so deeply linked in this moment to our own political experience.
There is a long history of comparing Martin Luther King Jr. to Moses. Both prophetic voices and community organizers. Both freedom fighters who never saw the world redeemed. It is so powerful to know that Moses' voice will enter the stage on MLK Jr. Weekend, just in time for the inauguration. But first we allow ourselves to feel the loss of Jacob and Joseph, whose bones remain buried in Egypt for hundreds of years until the Israelites carrying them with them across the sea.
Tonight at Ometz Lev, 6:30 pm - We will hear from Rev. Nicolas O'Rourke and the work of P.O.W.E.R. Services will be sprinkled with readings from both Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. and the Vision for Black Lives. This is a moment to speak truth to power. This is a moment for prophetic voices to lift us up, comfort us and inspire us.
MLK Jr. continues,
"But there are also times when we need to know that God possesses love and mercy. When we are staggered by the chilly winds of adversity and battered by the raging storms of disappointment and when through our folly and sin we stray into some destructive far country and are frustrated because of a strange feeling homesickness, we need to know that there is someone who loves us, cares for us, understands us, and will give us another chance. "
[excerpts from The Strength To Love, 1963 (adapted)]
For those tearful at Obama's Farewell speech, for those horrified by the Senate hearings and press conferences, for those eager to cry out and organize and protest. For those seeking refuge, hope and renewal. Join us as we bask in teachings of love and justice!
Rabbi Ari Lev