November 19, 2018

A Moment in Time: Charlottesville – When There is no Other Hand

Dear all,
In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya’s daughters pressed his boundaries as their marriages called Jewish protocol into question.  He would weigh the options, looking to the sky saying, “On the one hand, XXX.  On the other hand, YYY.  But on the first hand, ZZZ.”
But there came a time when he was pushed too far, and he finally shouted, “There is no other hand!”
As we look to the incident in Charlottesville, VA, the racists, Neo-nazis and fascists have been compared to those who oppose them.  Let’s be clear: granting the two groups moral equivalency reveals a complete moral bankruptcy.  And while we often strive to find credence in multiple points of view, there are times when there is no other hand.  This is one of those times, and it should take no explaining.  If you march with neo-nazis, you are not a “fine person.”
There will be those who criticize this message.  But I neither ask for permission nor do I apologize.  If we can’t stand up against racism, then we relinquish our role as a Light to the Nations.
And if we can’t oppose anti-Semitism, then what are we at all?
This weekend, alt-right rallies are being planned in cities throughout the country, including in Los Angeles.  These participants feel emboldened.  We can’t expect the moral tone of our nation to come from above.  So we need to start here on the ground.
1) I encourage you to go to the website of the Souther Poverty Law Center, an organization that identifies and tracks hate groups in the United States.  Consider making a donation.  Encourage others to do the same.
2) Get involved politically on a local level, so that good voices can surface and make a difference.
3) Don’t be alone.  Important relationships are vital, be it a friend, a family member,  a pet, a  religious community ….  We all need each other right now.
Friends, I have hope.  I believe that the foundation of our country is stronger than what we are enduring right now.  I believe that the voice of goodness is mightier than the voice of evil.  I believe that justice will survive.
But none of it will happen unless we take this moment in time to do something about it.  Right here.  Right now.  Today
With all my love,
Rabbi Zach Shapiro

Rabbi Zach Shapiro

A change in perspective can shift the focus of our day – and even our lives.  We have an opportunity to harness “a moment in time,” allowing our souls to be both grounded and lifted.  This blog shows how the simplest of daily experiences can become the most meaningful of life’s blessings.  All it takes is a moment in time.
Rabbi Zach Shapiro is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Akiba, a Reform Jewish Congregation in Culver City, CA.  He earned his B.A. in Spanish from Colby College in 1992, and his M.A.H.L. from HUC-JIR in 1996.  He was ordained from HUC-JIR – Cincinnati, in 1997.