This week we marked the one year anniversary since the 2016 election. Over the past year, so many of us have experienced feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and (at times) despair, as our core beliefs -- values like justice, equality, human dignity, compassion, and love -- have been attacked from every angle. This week's election provided a glimmer of hope.
My word of the week is HOPE -- TIKVAH in Hebrew.
This week's parasha (Chayei Sarah) opens with Abraham mourning the loss of his beloved wife Sarah, grieving and crying over her. And then, after seeing to her burial, he turns his attention to the task of finding a wife for his son Isaac and ensuring a future for his covenanted family.
Our tradition shows us this pattern in countless ways. In the words of the Psalmist, we read "ba-erev yalin bechi, v'la-boker rina" -- "In the evening one may lie down weeping, but joy comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:6). As human beings and as Jews, we are hard-wired for resilience.
This week we marked the one year anniversary since the 2016 election. Over the past year, so many of us have experienced feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and (at times) despair, as our core beliefs -- values like justice, equality, human dignity, compassion, and love -- have been attacked from every angle. This week's election provided a glimmer of hope. The results of an "off-year" election cannot undo the past (we still have our work quite cut out for us, if we are to ground our society in our positive values!). However, the fact that so many Americans across the country rejected racist, sexist, xenophobic and/or homophobic platforms, provides us with some hope that perhaps our values are shared by enough in our American society to turn the tide.
The Kavana community is far from alone in applying our spiritual lens to American society in this moment, or believing that our religious values can and should inform our engagement in the world. This week, I'm happy to be able to share this piece, assembled by Auburn Seminary, entitled "Surprising Surge of Hope," in which 12 religious leaders (from various faith traditions) answer the question of what has given them hope over the past year.
What gives you hope in this moment? For me, the photos below -- snapshots into recent weeks in the life of Kavana (specifically, the Green Team's environmental clean-up and kids learning about Abraham at Moadon Yeladim) -- fill me with hope.
Thank you for choosing Kavana, and for choosing to make this Seattle Jewish community the richly-textured one that it is! Before the month of June is over, we will close out our programming year with so many great options for ways to engage in Jewish community on your own terms. Whether you join us for tomorrow night's Friday night service (the last one of the year, before we move into summer mode in parks!) or Saturday night's inter-community Tikkun Leil Shavuot, or a family education program or a singing circle or a social meet-up, know that we appreciate the fact that you have opted in, forging your own path for "personalized Judaism in a community context."
Torah is true both that ancient Israelite texts have been preserved intact and lovingly transmitted from generation to generation, and also that at every time and place throughout Jewish history, our ancestors have interpreted and re-interpreted these words (sometimes quite radically!) to keep Torah speaking relevantly to each generation. In this way, Torah represents both tradition and change, and the act of Torah study is famously considered by rabbinic tradition to be as important as all of the other mitzvot put together ("talmud torah k'neged kulam").