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Together we implored: hear us, world.

11/16/2023 12:34:17 PM

Nov16

Rabbi Bryan Wexler

Tuesday was a powerful day. On Tuesday, Rabbi Peltz, Rabbi Lindemann, Cantor Cohen, Alex Weinberg, and many of our community joined our 450+ person South Jersey delegation to The March for Israel in Washington DC, the largest rally of Jewish people in modern history.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 290,000 people, together we marched for our brothers and sisters in Israel. We marched for the safe return of the hostages. We marched for the safety of all the members of Israel’s Defense Forces. We marched to stand up against antisemitism. We marched for life. We prayed. We sang. We cried. We hugged. We demanded justice. We chanted: “Bring Them Home,” “Never Again,” and “Am Yisrael Hai!”

Together we implored: hear us, world. See us. Stand with us. It was empowering. It was uplifting. It was haunting. It was momentous. It was unity defined.

While standing amongst nearly 300,000 people gathered to take a stand against antisemitism and to take a stand in support of Israel, I found myself compelled to say a blessing that I have never recited before. I looked out at the sea of people, many of whom were arm-in-arm and said: “Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh HaOlam HaHam HaRazim—Blessed are You o God, Ruler of the universe, the knower of all secrets.”

This is the blessing that the Talmud instructs us to recite when we are in the presence of 600,000 people (a number connected to the number of Israelites that stood at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah). True, there were not 600,000 people present at the March on Tuesday but I figured almost 300,000 may be the closest I ever get, and so, I recited the blessing.

But why these words? One might logically think that in a moment of awe amongst so many people we would praise God for creating so many people. Instead, we praise God for being the “Knower of all secrets.” Why? The Talmud instructs us to recite these words because “just as their faces are different so are their thoughts.” So, on the one hand, the power is found in individuality. Each person counts. The march brought together many different people—across the political spectrum, across the denominational spectrum, and more. Judaism is not big on uniformity; it celebrates diversity. Yet, the true secret that was revealed is the power of unity; and unity was on full display on Tuesday. The unity was palpable. The unity was spiritual.  The unity was empowering. The unity was filled with hope.

Not since the Holocaust have we experienced a time in which it is more critical for the Jewish community to remain united. And that is what we will continue to work to do as a TBS community as we remain united in our unwavering support of Israel, as we remain united in our fight against antisemitism, and as we remain united in our goal of creating a vibrant and supportive community by showing up, celebrating Jewish life, and being present for one another. And so, I hope you are able to join us this weekend as we welcome our Scholar in Residence, Dr. Andrea Lieber, Professor of Religion at Dickinson College. Click here for more information, and join us this weekend as we continue to stand together and say Am Yisrael Hai!

Shabbat Shalom.

Sun, July 14 2024 8 Tammuz 5784