More White Supremacist Terrorism

Dear Friends:

I sat this afternoon in Masjid al Rashid, Beacon's mosque, for zakat, or afternoon prayers. On my left was Pastor Bill Dandreano of Salem Tabernacle and on my right was Pastor Ben Larson Wolbrink of First Presbyterian Church.

Together, we listened to Mo Dabashi, one of the lay leaders of the Muslim community speak words of comfort to a community terrified following the white supremacist massacre in New Zeland, words not so different than the words spoken in this synagogue following the white supremacist massacre in Pittsburgh.

It is no news, of course, that there are hateful racists in the world, from Donald Trump, who is proud of his superior genes and German blood, down through Louis Weber, a young man of Phillipstown who vandalized Jewish homes with swastikas this past fall. The decendants of Amalek endure.

Amalek is rabbinic shorthand for the forces of evil that seek to exploit those who are weak and destroy those who are different. From this week's Torah reading through next weeks celebration of Purim, we are called to blot out Amalek, erase those forces of evil and superiority from the world.

How do we do that?

My in box is full of emails looking for an answer to that very question - an event to attend, an action to take. We all want to blot out Amalek, whether or not that is the terminology we use.

I wish I had a clear and easy answer to that pressing question, and to my great dissapointment, I don't, though I've been sitting here for over an hour, wondering what that might be.  

We can, and should contribute funds to the Muslim community in New Zealand and send messages of love and solidarity to the Muslim families of New Zeland and needless to say, we should all be registered to vote. The white supremacists need far fewer bully pulpits than they currently have. 

Perhaps, more than anything, we also need to remember the teaching of Rebbe Nachman which I have posted in my office - If you believe it can be broken, believe it can be fixed. These are moements when the gravitational pull of despair can feel overwhelming. This is one of them, and we cannot give into it. 

I can't pretend to know how to blot out Amalek, but I believe, more than anything, that the Divine Presence rests most fully in the space between people, looking at each other face to face. I will recommit to finding and creating those opportunities where we can all sit face to face with our fellow humans - Jewish humans, Muslim humans, Christian and gay and black and white and Native and Hindu humans. 

I don't know what the answer is, but I know the only way forward is all of us, together. 

With blessings and hope for a Shabbat of peace,

Rabbi Brent