Difficult Conversations

Difficult Conversations
Rabbi’s Message – June 30, 2020

by Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz

Each of us is created in the image of the Divine and each of our voices is important, and powerful.  In these turbulent times, this is the most important thing for us to remember.  Being in relationship with God means being in relationship with one another, and we honor this by leaning in and engaging in difficult conversations.  
This is hard, but essential, work.  And I am starting with myself as a part of a newly formed local clergy group meeting virtually to challenge and improve our understanding of racism and bigotry.  I strongly urge us all to embrace the vulnerability of being in honest conversations about these topics.
It won’t be easy.  We are hard-wired to be easily offended by expressions like “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” and “white supremacy.”  I, personally, believe we respond with discomfort because we have yet to unpack what these words and ideas actually mean.   There is plenty of room for  diversity of opinions.  But, first, we must move past our own emotional firewalls to enable us to engage meaningfully in these conversations.  
The YWCA’s 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge has been an excellent place to better prepare myself for deeper discussions on these issues.  Consider joining me in this effort.  Even if you haven’t participated in the first part of the challenge, it is not too late.  Click for more information.  
On Friday, July 10, I will be participating in a Jewish Community Relations Council panel with other Dayton rabbis to discuss the importance of the YWCA Challenge and our response as a Jewish community to what is happening.  If you are able to join us, register here.  
I look forward to continuing this work together as a congregation.