January 22, 2019

A Moment in Time: Judaism is about Principles, Not Politics

Dear all,

Last weekend, our tenth grade Confirmation Class traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby on behalf of Reform Judaism. They chose issues of Gun Violence and Reproductive Rights, wrote speeches, and delivered them in the offices of US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamila Harris, and US Congressmembers Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff, and Karen Bass.

I was so inspired by the integrity of our teens. They taught me that Jewish values teach principles, not politics. And they helped me think about what it going on in our country today.

It is with that in mind that I recall the 36 times Torah reminds us not to treat others like strangers.

The Torah reminds us that the foreigner and the native shall share one common law.

The Torah teaches to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Torah inspires us take care of the widow, the orphan, and the poor.

Some view these as political leanings.

But these are the words of our tradition. And these are the words that inspire us to look forward.

We live in a time when many are losing sight of those values. More than ever, we need to stand up for the strangers in our land, reach out to the homeless in our land, and embrace the voiceless in our land.

This is our moment in time to make a difference.
With love and Shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro