Dear Temple Beth El Family,
The events unfolding in Washington, D.C. this afternoon are deeply troubling. In times of difficulty, we seek comfort and wisdom from the words of our tradition: Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel used to say, “On three things does the world stand: On justice, on truth and on peace” (Pirkei Avot). Judaism has long taught that these values form the foundation of a civil society. Whatever our individual political affiliations, our entire community joins together in watching this precarious situation unfold. Together, we pray for the safety of all those in harm’s way and for a peaceful return to the business of our republic. Let us draw strength, solace, and unity from the wellspring of timeless Jewish values.
We draw strength, as well, from one another. Please know that your Temple Beth El clergy are available to offer pastoral care and wisdom during this time. We hope you will join us online this Friday, January 8 at 7:30pm for our Shabbat Evening Service where we can continue to offer prayers for justice, truth, and peace. We also encourage you to join with the entire Reform Jewish community of North Carolina on Friday, January 15. We will honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we learn from Eric Ward, a national civil rights leader and expert, on the relationship between hate, violence and the preservation of democratic institutions. Join us:
- 7:00pm Kabbalat Shabbat: Merge Our Voices for Martin Luther King
- 7:30pm MLK Shabbat – Confronting the Machinery of Hate: White Supremacy, White Nationalism, and Antisemitism.
Generations after Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Huna wrote a commentary on his words, “The three (justice, truth and peace) are one because if justice is done, truth has been effected and peace is brought about.” May we work to bring about this vision in our country. May there be peace throughout the land, in Washington, D.C., and here in North Carolina. We pray together these words from Mishkan T’filah, our prayer book:
You have called us to peace, for You are Peace.
Grant us the vision to realize these aims:
Where there are ignorance and superstition,
let there be enlightenment and knowledge.
Where there are prejudice and hatred,
let there be acceptance and love.
Where there are fear and suspicion,
let there be confidence and trust.
Where there are tyranny and oppression,
let there be freedom and justice.
Where there are poverty and disease,
let there be prosperity and health.
Where there are strife and discord,
let there be harmony and peace.
Rabbi Asher Knight
Benjamin Benson, President
Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas
Rabbi Dusty Klass
Rabbi Beth Nichols