It’s Shabbat – Let’s Take Time to Think About “Truth”

Those who know me, know that I have been a student of Judaism’s Mussar tradition for a number of years now. Last Yom Kippur I spoke on the subject ofmussar, which at the time I described as “the Jewish road to character” (riffing on the title of David Brooks’ thebookbookcoverinspirational book The Road to Character. What started as a weekly dive into mussar texts with my hevruta (“study partner”), Rabbi Jonathan Kraus a bit over 3 years ago, led to engagement with and training under the auspices of The Mussar Institute. I have led several mussar groups at our congregation, invited Alan Morinis to our congregation for our annual Altshuler Family Scholar-in-Residence weekend, and I have begun to offer teachings in a variety of settings through the lens of mussar. I credit Alan Morninis as onealan-morinis of the key figures in bringing this little-known part of our rich Jewish heritage back to life and prominence through his writings and the work of the Institute. Over the past ten months I have been engaged in a more advanced training program under the auspices of the Institute which will enable me to offer more advanced courses at the congregation in the coming year.

This past week, I studied the final text for this soon-to-be-concluded training program. It’s a teaching on the middah/value of Emet/Truth from an early 19th century Mussar text entitled Cheshbon HaNefesh (literally “Accounting of the Soul”) by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Leffin of Satanow. In my various mussar studies, with my friend Rabbi Kraus, and under the auspices of the Mussar Institute, I am constantly struck by the immediate sense of applicability of these teachings from centuries earlier than our own to our own time and its challenges.

As we pause between the Republican and Democratic Conventions; and more importantly, as we pause for Shabbat, I share just a small piece of Rabbi Leffin’s teaching on truth. While it might seem that I am bringing it out in response to these past days, I lift it up, also as we approach the coming days. May we all consider it’s applicability to our lives, and to our complicated times:

cheshbon_hanefesh_revised“TRUTH – Do not allow anything to pass your lips that you are not certain is completely true.

“Lying is a most despicable spiritual illness. At first it stems from the pursuit of permitted pleasure, money, prestige or the esteem of men. It then progresses towards the pursuit of prohibited pleasures. At the end, it becomes an acquired inclination of its own lying for the sake of lying! When it is combined with the yetzer hara (“evil inclination”) of mocking and of idle talk, it brings man to the point where he will even swear falsely, God forbid. For example: A haughty person expends all of his efforts to flaunt virtues which he does not possess. He strives to deceive others through mountains of lies and exaggerations hoping that they will believe him.

“A person who mocks also slanders and discredits decent people. A person who flatters, uses falsehood as his chief weapon . . . Then there’s the cheat who lies for money; building his livelihood and his prestige and his business on this virtue. His expertise in deception, cheating, wrongdoing, mocking, slandering and flattering makes him a person to be feared . . .  But in the end, falsehood has no base on which to stand. And if the liar should later speak truthfully, no one believes him any longer. This is the punishment of those who are haughty, hypocritical, deceitful or who cheat others they are discovered and exposed, first by one friend and then by another, until their lies are publicized and they become full of shame, debased and hated by all.

“Therefore, one must, from the very beginning of its appearance, search for the root of this illness and root it out by applying the disciplines of humility, righteousness and silence. Afterwards, one must include the discipline of truth by committing himself to the positive precept of loving truth even when doing so will cause him to forgo some monetary pleasure or presumed honor . . .”   (from Cheshbon HaNefesh, chapter 12)

There’s much more Another time! For now, Shabbat Shalom

A New Day . . . A New Blog

Shalom!

Divrei Shalom  has been, and will continue to be a cherished opportunity for me to share pieces of my torah with members of our Temple Shalom community, and beyond.

At the same time, I am launching a new blog, which you can access here

I hope you will join me on both paths of this journey.

Rabbi Eric S. Gurvis

A Powerful Witness

Divrei Shalom

elie-wiesel1The tributes for the late Elie Wiesel have been coming fast and furiously.  I am not surprised in the least.  His imprint on so many is immeasurable, and I am no different.

I am pretty certain that my first “encounter” was, as it was for so many, through reading his haunting memoir Night as a teenager.  The book was an awakening, and it led to a period in which my thirst for learning about the Shoah/Holocaust was hard to quench.

In my last semester of senior year in college, as I was already preparing to begin my rabbinic studies, I took a course in post-Holocaust literature and theology. Our professor had us read nearly everything Elie Wiesel had written at the time (1973), along with the writings of a number of Jewish and Christian theologians. It was a heavy-duty course, both in terms of the work-load and the subject…

View original post 604 more words

A Powerful Witness

elie-wiesel1The tributes for the late Elie Wiesel have been coming fast and furiously.  I am not surprised in the least.  His imprint on so many is immeasurable, and I am no different.

I am pretty certain that my first “encounter” was, as it was for so many, through reading his haunting memoir Night as a teenager.  The book was an awakening, and it led to a period in which my thirst for learning about the Shoah/Holocaust was hard to quench.

In my last semester of senior year in college, as I was already preparing to begin my rabbinic studies, I took a course in post-Holocaust literature and theology. Our professor had us read nearly everything Elie Wiesel had written at the time (1973), along with the writings of a number of Jewish and Christian theologians. It was a heavy-duty course, both in terms of the work-load and the subject matter. I still recall our final class session, in which we sat together sharing how the course had impacted us. Several classmates queried me, “Are you going to continue with your plans to study for the rabbinate in the wake of what we have studied?” While I had certainly found my faith shaken in the intensity of our learning, I responded that I was wrestling, and believed I would continue to do so, even as I set out on my journey.

Some years later, as I served my first congregation I had the opportunity to meet Elie Wiesel as he came to our building to utilize one of our libraries as a setting for the recording of a series of videos on Biblical figures. I was daunted by being in the presence of this man who had seen so much, and wrestled with some of the darkest of what we humans are capable of doing to one another.  It’s not that he was the first survivor I’d met. Perhaps it was a feeling of intimacy from having read nearly everything he’d written and felt his pain and suffering. He was quiet and gentle. His simple presence was an inspiration.

At the time, I had not really put it together, but Elie Wiesel’s presence in our building for the recordings marked his transition away from an almost exclusive Holocaust-focus towards writing and teaching about great figures from our Biblical, rabbinic, and Hasidic traditions. His journey continued to whet my appetite. Realizing that my time in New York City would likely soon end, I hastened to take one of his acclaimed 92nd-Street YMHA courses.  The man was a masterful teacher.  Still quiet and gentle on the stage of the Y, he held me, and everyone around me spellbound.

There were a few other chance encounters over the years.  The last was, perhaps, one of the most important to me.  A number of years ago, the Youth Educator at my current congregation was taking our high school students to Boston University Hillel for an informal evening with Elie Wiesel. Seth had worked at the Hillel before joining our staff and had been invited to bring our students.  Almost four decades had passed since I’d first encountered Elie Wiesel through Night.  I recalled something another survivor had told my youth group at that first congregation in the early 1980’s.  He said, “I want younight_cover-old to remember this evening.  I want you to remember that you met me. Even if you don’t remember all of my story, you will recall that we have met.  A day will come when there will be no more survivors to tell our stories. You will have to be our witnesses to the next generation.”  As our students prepared to go to BU, and me with them, I urged one if my sons to join us.  He was younger than the other students, but I wanted him to hear what Elie Wiesel would say.  I wanted him not only to hear a survivor, but to hear this survivor.  He was resistant, but compliant.  As we left the Hillel gathering that night, he thanked me for urging him to come.

Elie Wiesel has taught generations about the importance of speaking up and speaking out. May his message continue to be heard and felt – through us.  It must be heard, for we still live in a world wherein for too many people, it is still night!

Elie Wiesel – Your memory will be for a blessing, especially if we hear your call and heed your message. Rest in peace, our conscience and teacher.

Tagged , ,

No More Than We Allow

Recently I’ve been thinking back to my earliest days as a congregational rabbi. In truth I was a Student Assistant rabbi at the time, work in a New York City congregation as I completed my final two years of seminary. One of my responsibilities was as the lead teacher for our Confirmation Class (a responsibility I still love over 35 years later.) I recall that at the end-of-the year celebration my students gently kidding me about my use (overuse?) of trigger films in provoking our discussions.

It’s true. I found then, and still do find on occasion, that a short trigger film can draw a group into a lively discussion in a relatively short period of time. Over those early years I developed a “playlist” of standards. As I think back, it’s sort of a pre-music video era teaching tool. One such film I used almost annually was an animated treatment of Maurice Ogden’s haunting poem, “The Hangman.” It quickly sets an eerie scene:

Into our town thHangman 05e Hangman came.
Smelling of gold and blood and flame-
And he paced our bricks with a diffident air
And build his frame on the courthouse square.
The scaffold stood by the courthouse side.

Only as wide as the door was wide;
A frame as tall, or little more,
Than the capping sill of the courthouse door.

And we wondered, whenever we had the time,
Who the criminal, what the crime,
That Hangman judged with the yellow twist
Of knotted hemp in his busy fist.
And innocent though we were, with dread
We passed these eyes of buckshot lead;
Till one cried: “Hangman, who is he
For whom you raise the gallows-tree?”
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye,
And he gave us a riddle instead of reply”
“He who serves me best,” said he,
“Shall earn the rope on the gallows-tree.”

The poem wends its way through a narrative, which by its end, has seen the total destruction of a community as its members are hung one by one; group by group. By poem’s the scene is nearly desolate save for one lone survivor, to whom The Hangman turns.

Then through the town the Hangman came
And called in the empty streets my name-
And I looked at the gallows soaring tall
And thought: “There is no one left at all
For hanging, and so he calls to me
To help pull down the gallows-tree.”
And I went out with right good hope
To the Hangman’s tree and the Hangman’s rope.
He smiled at me as I came down
To the courthouse square through the silent town
And supple and stretched in his busy hand
Was the yellow twist of the hempen strand.
And he whistled his tune as he tried the trap
And it sprang down with a ready snap-
And then with a smile of awful command
He laid his hand upon my hand.Hangman 12

“You tricked me, Hangman!” I shouted then,
“That your scaffold was built for other men …
And I no henchman of yours,” I cried,
“You lied to me, Hangman, foully lied!”
Then a twinkle grew in the buckshot eye:

“Lied to you? Tricked you?” he said,
“Not I, For I answered straight and I told you true:
The scaffold was raised for none but you.
“For who has served me more faithfully
Than you with your coward’s hope? Said he,
“And where are the others that might have stood
Side by your side in the common good?”
“Dead,” I whispered; and amiably
“Murdered,” the Hangman corrected me;
“First the alien, then the Jew . . .
I did no more than you let me do.”

I’ve been thinking back to Ogden’s haunting piece a lot in recent days. We are nearing the end of the Primary phase of our nation’s 2016 Presidential campaign. Soon the focus will turn towards July’s Nominating Conventions, and then around Labor Day the campaign will intensify in earnest.

This has been a deeply disturbing campaign for way too many months now. Rather than a passionate and complicated debate over the critical issues our nation faces, and those we face as the world’s leading superpower, this 2016 campaign has been nasty in disturbing ways unsurpassed in my memory. It’s as if we, as a nation, are being dragged through sewers and gutters; bombarded with ugly name-calling and ferocious character-assassination. Fingers are pointed every which way across our nation, within the two major parties; across the bow from one party towards the other; and from many quarters at the media.

Body parts, bodily functions, crude and nasty nicknames, assaults on judges and more. So much of what is playing out before our eyes, and assaulting our ears is diversion. Rather than discuss real issues, policy proposals, and how we will forge a path forward as one nation, when this is all over, our attention is drawn to ugly diversions. Personally, I fault all of the above – the candidates, the party leaders, and so many in the media, in all its myriad manifestations.

How did we come to this? A version of the Hangman’s words to his final victim, for whom there was no one left to turn, echo loudly in my ears: “They have done no more than we’ve let them do!”

The name-calling, the side show acts, the broadside swipes at whole ethnic, racial and religious groups . . . it all acts as a lightning rod. And the media, in large part, makes certain that the lightning strikes so we are paying attention.

There is blame enough to go around for the circus that is passing for a campaign for the highest office in our nation. We, too, own some of it. For, “they are doing no more than we allow them to do.”

I pray that as the calm of summer sets in, we will pull back from the fray and regain some sense of individual and collective perspective. We are better than this as a nation. We must demand better than this from our candidates, our already-elected officials, our media . . . and ourselves. If we do not, we may be left to wonder how we came to a devastation metaphorically portrayed by Ogden in his poem. I urge you to read it in its entirety!

Click here to read “The Hangman”

Clink here to watch the 1964 video of “The Hangman”

 

What Type of Day Will You Choose? It’s a Matter of Perspective

il_340x270.635652512_b5wxEach week we begin our weekly staff meetings by taking turns leading the staff in a brief text study, reflection or d’var Torah.  This morning, one of my colleagues shared a reflective piece which I’d not seen before (though clearly others have seen it on the web.)

It’s reflection written by an 11th grade Jewish Day School student from Brooklyn, NY.  In response to a school assignment, Chanie Gorkin submitted the following poem entitled, “Worst Day Ever?”

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day.

Gorkin poemAs we read the piece silently to ourselves, one could hear the hums of agreement and note the nodding of heads. But this was all the more pronounced when, a poem’s end, we were guided to read it once again. However, this time, we were to read it, line by line, in reverse.  I encourage you – do it now.

This time the verbal and non-verbal reactions were more pronounced. For my part, Chanie Gorkin’s poem is a potent reminder of a lesson I learn again and again from my reading and practice in mindfulness. We may not be capable of changing all is happening around us, but we have infinite power when it comes to how we stand in the moment.

I pray we each have a day like the one described by reading Gorkin’s poem backwards.  And may tomorrow unfold well too!

2226d477d85d8575b34a1a1e6b12481a

Can We Talk?

Divrei Shalom

civilityAnyone who knows me knows that a longtime focus of mine has been on civil discourse and what I view as the descent of public discourse in recent years.  Some believe that passionate, vigorous disagreement has always been with us, and that our time is no more or less disharmonious than any other period.  I disagree. I am not troubled by disagreement. I am deeply disturbed by the hateful ways in which too many voice their positions and disagreement in our day.  What’s more, I am disturbed by the rhetoric and hateful characterization of “the other” – whoever that be.  In too many corners I see incivility growing. It alarms me that our children are absorbing the message that it is okay to engage in hate-speech and character assassination in order to make your point, or to win a contest. In Congress, on the Presidential campaign trail, within our Jewish…

View original post 438 more words

Can We Talk?

civilityAnyone who knows me knows that a longtime focus of mine has been on civil discourse and what I view as the descent of public discourse in recent years.  Some believe that passionate, vigorous disagreement has always been with us, and that our time is no more or less disharmonious than any other period.  I disagree. I am not troubled by disagreement. I am deeply disturbed by the hateful ways in which too many voice their positions and disagreement in our day.  What’s more, I am disturbed by the rhetoric and hateful characterization of “the other” – whoever that be.  In too many corners I see incivility growing. It alarms me that our children are absorbing the message that it is okay to engage in hate-speech and character assassination in order to make your point, or to win a contest. In Congress, on the Presidential campaign trail, within our Jewish community when it comes to discussing anything related to Israel; on a national level when it comes time to deliberate hot-button social issues such as racial or economic justice – in short, almost wherever one looks, the temperature is rising and the rhetoric is growing more hateful and ugly by the day.

In the aftermath of yesterday’s New Hampshire Presidential primaries, analysts acrossprimary2016_lg the spectrum are telling us that the voting public is expressing anger. Indeed, I was raised to believe that we are meant to express our views at the ballot box. Even so, I wonder whether the build-up to the day on which the public is invited to weigh in has to be filled with so much venom, with so little listening to the other, and with so much divisiveness.

We hear that it is the fault of the media.  We hear that it is the fault of our politicians. From Democrats we hear that it is the fault of Republicans; and from Republicans we hear it is the fault of Democrats. If I were answering a survey, I would readily check the box “all-of-the-above.”  And, it’s our fault as well!

If we want the tenor of our public discourse to serve the higher purpose of moving – our city, our state, our nation, our community – forward then we must step forward together and bring an end to the endless spiral of “othering,” hate speech and poison-rhetoric we tolerate.

ie3_cover_250wIn the coming days, I will begin teaching Engaging Israel 3.0 – a Shalom Hartman Institute course focusing on Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Having viewed a number of parts of the course as part of my preparation, I am deeply impressed by the Hartman Institute’s approach which is less about staking out positions or convincing anyone what is the correct view to hold.  Engaging Israel 3.0 is as much about how do we hold a values-based conversation about a difficult subject respecting both our own strongly-held views as well as the person and views of the other. I am as excited about EI 3.0 as an experimwnt in civil discourse as I am about its content which will allow participants to learn about Israel, the Palestinians, and the conflict against the backdrop of Jewish values.

Can we talk? These next few months will be an experiment in which I am eager to engage, on so many levels.  I am hoping, that with all of the various places from which participants will come to conversation that the answer will emphatically be, “Yes, we can talk.”

Interested? You can learn more and sign-up at https://www.templeshalom.org/learning/adult-learning/

 

Rabbi Allison Berry’s Inclusive Community Shabbat D’rash

February 5, rabbi_allison_berry_2011_web_medium_large2016

Inclusive Community Shabbat D’rash – Parashat Mishpatim  

Years ago, for many of us, instead of opening our hearts to prayer, Hebrew school had the effect of silencing our natural instinct to prayer. Now – I certainly hope this no longer applies – but for just a moment go with me on this one.

To illustrate, Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav tells the story of a simple shepherd, who every day would offer his personal prayer to God: “God, I love you so much, if you were here, I would give you half my sheep. If it was raining and you were cold, I would share my blanket.” One day a great rabbi was walking by the field, and he heard the shepherd praying. He ran up to him, and said, “Do you call that praying? Are you kidding? What would God do with your sheep? Of what use would a blanket be to God? Here, let me show you to pray properly before you further desecrate God’s holy name!” The rabbi then got out a siddur, and gave a brilliant lecture on the structure and meaning of the various prayers, and explained what to say when to the poor illiterate shepherd. As soon as the rabbi left, the shepherd sat there dumbfounded. He didn’t understand a word of it. But he knew the great rabbi was quite upset that his prayers were not proper. So he stopped praying.*

And, so sadly for many in our community, that’s where the story ends…Their prayers and essentially their voices are silenced. However, here in our community – there is more to this story…

A recent innovation in the Jewish world has been to designate February as Disability and Inclusion Awareness Month. The secular month of February was chosen in part because this is usually the time of year we read the powerful and profound message of this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim from the book of Exodus. Among all the laws discussed in this portion, we are taught the mitzvah (commandment) of not taking advantage of the stranger, the widow and the orphan. As we read in Exodus:You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or orphan (Exodus 22:20-21).”

Our commentaries address the question of why God loves and singles out these three groups – the ger or stranger, ya-tom, orphan and the almanah – widow – in such a special way.  What unites these three kinds of people? Rabbi Loren Sykes teaches us: Based on the language of the commandment, we understand strangers, widows and orphans can easily be taken advantage of, be oppressed or be ignored.  You can imagine the conversation: “It is too expensive to care for these people, let someone else take care of them” or “We are really sorry but we are just not equipped to help” or “You are not welcome here.  Your child makes too many strange noises during services or during class.”

Of course the Torah’s call to not take advantage, to not oppress, to not ignore the stranger, the widow and the orphan resonates in today’s world. And in our modern context, we can extract the importance of caring for those who are particularly vulnerable.

And so, this month of February is a reminder to each of us: we can do more to include members of our community who are vulnerable; in particular those with special needs or disabilities; those whose prayers are uniquely their own. And in fact, it is the Torah’s imperative that we strive to make all who enter our community feel at home, welcomed and loved. And of course, this is the very foundation of our community and Temple Shalom’s vision.

However, our month of reflection and recognition should not only be a celebration of our intent. Let this evening also be a call to action. At Temple Shalom, our vision and values guide our understanding and the imperative of inclusion and there is much to do and much to celebrate.

Just this year, due to the generous support of members of our community, we welcomed Inclusion Coordinator, Emily Kieval to our education staff.

Our new Inclusive Community Task force has begun the process of creating a strategic plan so we can spread the word about great work happening in our community, as well envision ways we can grow. We will have the first draft of this plan ready soon and we hope many of you will participate in the process of making it reality.

We are proud of our deepening relationships with partner Jewish organizations such as Gateways, The Ruderman Synagogue Inclusion Project, Yachad and Synagogue Council as they, along with us, further the work of opening and then widening the doors – quite literally – of our community and its institutions.

Finally – a huge thank you to members of the Temple Shalom community and Inclusive Community Task Force. Your care, tireless effort and support have brought us to this moment. Your thoughtful plans including our (sadly canceled) dinner program celebrating our inclusive community are the result.  We recognize each of you for your contribution.

And so, remember the story of our shepherd and know his stifled prayer is not where our story ends. Instead, our story continues as we strive as a Jewish community to open our arms, minds and hearts.

In closing I share with you a blessing:  Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivatnu lirdof tzedek, u’lichabed kol nefesh. Blessed are you, Our God, spirit of the universe, who makes us holy with your mitzvot (commandments) and commands us to pursue justice and to honor all people.

*This story, based on a Talmudic tale, can be found in the book, Days of Awe: Stories for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Eric Kimmel (Puffin, 1993). I only included half the story in the D’rash but this abridgment along with the second half of the story is found in Rabbi Barry Leff’s Rosh Hashanah sermon, 2003: http://www.jacksonsnyder.com/arc/Midrash/56.htm

Tagged ,

Candidates: Join In, Take Time for Sabbath and Reflection

mishpatim201A welcome snow day before Shabbat – it’s practically a double blessing.  Earlier this week, as I was listening to our b’nei mitzvah practice their Torah portions for tomorrow morning, I found myself reflecting on which passages might be especially pertinent teachings for these days from among the myriad mitzvot wh10 commandmentsich comprise this week’s Torah portion. Our portion, Parshat Mishpatim, is the direct follow-up to last week’s reading of Moses ascending Mt. Sinai last Shabbat to receive, Aseret HaDibbrot – the Ten Commandments as the world knows them.

Within the context of the narrative in this week’s portion, God’s revelation to Moses continues, and we learn a diverse array of commandments intended to govern relations between members of the Israelite community as well as those strangers living among them.

A quick scan of the portion, and my attention was hooked on a number of passages which echo loudly for me against the backdrop of the political discourse of these days:

Exodus 23:1-3 1You must not carry false rumors; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness: 2You shall neither side with the mighty to do wrong—you shall not give perverse testimony in a dispute so as to pervert it in favor of the mighty—3nor shall you show deference to a poor man in his dispute.

Exodus 23:6-9 – 6You shall not subvert the rights of your needy in their disputes. 7Keep far from a false charge; do not bring death on those who are innocent and in the right, for I will not acquit the wrongdoer. 8Do not take bribes, for bribes blind the clear-sighted and upset the pleas of those who are in the right. 9You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.

And there’s plenty more in our portion.

Unless one has totally disconnected from the world, it’s been nigh impossible to escape the Presidential campaign which has already stretched on for too long.  And we are only now days removed from the Iowa caucuses and on the cusp of the “first-in-the-nation” New Hampshire primary. Much has been made of the various candidate’s poll numbers and campaign tactics. We’ve barraged with debates, and many more are in the offing.  Once in a while we actually hear the candidates and their interrogators get around to discussing issues of substance.  And, we hear quite a bit about the religious faith of various candidates as some among them try to present themselves as ”holier than,” well . . . everybody else. It is stunning how the messages get crafted and tweaked for each state and its residents.

I am wont to cry out to all of the candidates: For a variety of faith communities, it is or will yet be Sabbath before Tuesday comes.  Might you consider a brief respite from your campaign duties and the whirling rhetoric?  (We can use the break, maybe more than you
and your staff!) Might I urge you all, individually to spend a few minutes with our Jewish lectionary reading for this Shabbat.  The words printed above (and many more which keep-calm-and-shabbat-shalomsurround them) should give you, and us all pause to reflect on the values we hold, and not just the ones we profess before the throngs and the cameras.  Whichever path leads you to your faith and your encounter with or experience of God, might you take a few moments to step back, in humility, and reflect on some ancient words by which we still believe we live?

Pause, read, reflect . . . and then, into the fray once more!

Shabbat shalom!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,961 other followers