Building a Better Future

Building a Better Future

Rabbi’s Message – February 2, 2021

Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

Before we begin, let’s take a collective breath and slowly exhale.  I’m not sure if it is a deep breath or a lingering sigh….

Last month over the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend we celebrated American advancements in civil rights.  We gave honor to the brave souls who fought peacefully for the dignity of all human beings.  Last week the world observed an International Holocaust Remembrance Day, remembering those who died and honoring those who helped to liberate the camps.  This prepares us for February, when we will raise up the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans throughout Black History month. 

The narrative is clear.  Most years we exit January uncomfortable, still horrified by how humans, at their worst, torture other human beings, yet also hopeful as we recall the darkness we have emerged from.  We are thankful that men and women of every hue and religion are no longer fighting for equal rights. There is still a lot of work to do, especially on behalf of those who are persecuted because of their sexual identity, but we believe we are moving in the right direction. 

This year, it is much harder to emerge from the pain.  This year, in particular, I believe we need to engage with this discomfort rather than rest on our laurels.  It isn’t enough for us to pat ourselves on the backs and feel good about advancements made over the years.  Our world is much too broken for that.  We must pick up where our ancestors left off and get to work.  We must respond to hate-filled groups who spread conspiracy theories about minorities and sustain systems that enslave.

But first, we must be willing to open our eyes.  Over the next several weeks I will use this space to address ways we may do this.   As we observe Black History Month I hope you will join me – not only in recognizing the accomplishments of Black Americans –  but in combating hatred and bigotry on all levels.  If we work together then we can build a future where everyone can breathe more easily.

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