June 23, 2016
When Eldad and Medad started prophesizing in the camp, Moses was not threatened. He responded with, “Would that all Adonai’s people were prophets, that Adonai’s spirit was upon them.”
At this crucial moment in history, I find this week’s Torah portion to be a call to action. It raises the question: what does it mean to have the Divine spirit rest upon you? Does it mean to say; you can say whatever is on your mind regardless of the possible consequences? Or does it mean, as I believe it does in this week’s Torah portion, that we are to follow Moses’ example – it takes many hands and hearts to create a world of justice, mutual respect and love? We live in turbulent times and what we do and how we choose to do it will make a difference.
As the Tehillah community, we began that process at our annual meeting last night discussing various ways in which to make a difference in the world, continuing some of the work we are already doing and thinking about what to do next. You will be hearing more about this initiative which is being called “Tehillah in the World” from the leaders of our social action committee, Madeline Ritter, David Hyman and Ralph Leezenbaum.
This morning, I sat with members of the Riverdale Clergy community, brainstorming next steps after our community-wide vigil last week in the wake of Orlando. As we heard on floor of the House today, silence is simply not enough. So, we are putting together a community wide project over the summer, which will be an art project. We are also at the beginning stages of planning a teach-in about gun laws, gun ownership and automatic weapons. We want to be proactive.
The gay pride parade is always an event of note in New York, but this year is different in the face of the slaughter in Orlando.It will be a march joined by many faith groups and individuals, because we are at a moment where our awareness is heightened and we reach out to our neighbors, friends and family who are LGBTQ. These are the people we care about, they are us, and we must stand together in the face of evil.
At the same time in an armory on the East Side of Manhattan people from all faiths are gathering together to put together toiletry kits for Syrian refugees.
Last but not least, this Sunday the Tehillah community will be joining with the Riverdale Yonkers Ethical Culture Society, from 2:00-4:00, as we hear the story of the Jews of Sosua. It is a story of last chances, of survival against great odds. It is the story of one of the very few life-lines that existed for Jews at the beginning of the Holocaust. In some ways, it is a cautionary tale.
So I invite you to be a prophet in any way you can at this critical juncture, the choice is yours. Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn
Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn
P.O. Box 109, Bronx 10463
Riverdale Yonkers Ethical Culture Society (RYSEC)
4450 Fieldston Road, Riverdale NY 10471
Our teens together with Catholic students from Manhattan College recently spent the day with their friends at the Islamic Cultural Center of North America. There was food, study and lots of helping hands to clean up. CLICK HERE to read an article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.