Rabbi's Weekly Message

A Message from Rabbi Wexler ~ Thursday, August 17

This Shabbat is Shabbat Mevarkhim HaHodesh. On Shabbat morning, we will bless the upcoming month of Elul which begins early next week. Elul, the month leading up to the High Holidays, is a month of preparation and introspection. It is a time for Heshbon HaNefesh (accounting of the soul), renewal, and growth. We live in a broken country that is in need of soul-searching. Given the horrific events of this past week in Charlottesville, VA, we are left with many questions including: How do we respond? How do we move towards tikkun (repair)?

Heather Heyer, zichrona livracha (may her memory be for a blessing), was killed last Saturday in Charlottesville when a car rammed through a crowd protesting white supremacists. On Wednesday, her mother, Susan Bro, spoke at Heather's memorial service and offered the following advice as to how to respond and best honor her daughter's legacy:

"You need to find in your heart that small spark of accountability. What is there that I can do to make the world a better place? What injustice do I see?... Poke that finger at yourself, like Heather would have done, and you make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world."

It's time to do some serious heart probing and soul-searching as a country, as a community and as individuals. In this spirit, TBS is joining an initiative of the USCJ and the Rabbinical Assembly (in partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, One Table, and Repair the World) to come together for a celebration of unity and diversity in the face of fear and division. The initiative seeks to mobilize a grassroots movement of Shabbat dinners across the country this upcoming Shabbat.

As stated by the leaders of our Movement earlier this week: "Regardless of where we each stand politically, we can ALL agree: hatred, bigotry, and violence cannot be tolerated. When our values are threatened in this way, we raise our voices and rise up- not just in opposition and in unity."

As such, the dinners will be dedicated to celebrating, diversity, equality, inclusion, and constructive dialogue in the face of fear and hatred. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: "hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Whether you already have a Shabbat meal planned, have time to put one together last minute, or can simply dedicate a few minutes to participating through study, introspection, and discussion with friends and family, I hope that you will choose to participate in this initiative.

To participate please click on this link which will allow you to:

  • Pledge to host a Shabbat dinner through the OneTable platform
  • Download a source sheet on human dignity from the Conservative Yeshiva
  • Download the Repair the World Shabbat Conservation Guide

This Shabbat and this upcoming week, as we begin the process of turning towards a new year, let us take account of our souls and turn our hearts towards unity, love, accountability, and making the world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom.