Today I was part of something amazing, the Atlanta Initiative Against Anti-semitism (AIAAS). A gathering of over 100 organizations, coming together to say NO to hatred. From leaders of AT&T and to Chick-fil-A, to school teachers, police officers, government officials, rabbis, cantors, reverends and beyond, we all sat together. We listened to one another, and spoke our minds. And ultimately we affirmed that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We built relationships, shared dreams, and imagined how together we can create a more tolerant society and world.
A few days ago, I was sitting in Washington, DC, having similar conversation at the AIPAC Policy Conference. With thousands of people, we too imagined and dreamed about creating a more tolerant world...and insured that Israel will always be a part of this vision and process. We again affirmed that injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.
This Shabbat we embark on the reading of the book of Leviticus. Leviticus can sometimes a hard book of Torah for us to connect to, since the main contents of the book are about animal offerings and sacrifices.
The reading of this book of Torah reminds us, that parts of us might still react and respond to ritual and the notion of sacrifice. At this critical moment in history, there is comfort in the knowledge that we are doing what generations and generations of people have done before us at critical moments in history – joining together and making sacrifices and offerings. We have taken the ancient rituals of the Torah and adapted them to make our own modern day contributions and sacrifices .
One of my favorite readings in our prayer book, the Mishkan Tefilah states:
Standing on the parted shores, we still believe what we were taught before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot; that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt; that there is a better place, a promised land; that the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness. That there is no way to get from here to there except by joining hands, marching together.
While in Washington DC earlier this week, and today in the Atlanta Community...I observed a remarkable example of people with many differences, joining hands and marching together. It was a spectacular feeling and sight.