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#Pulse, Sinai

#Pulse, Sinai

A Response to the Orlando Shootings

How do we at once throw our arms
around our children,
up in protest,
and open to our neighbors?
How do we speak in one breath,
“Our brothers’ blood cries out from the earth,”
“These guns must be stopped,”
“It is not Islam that is to blame,”
“To take one life is to destroy a world,”
“Love is love is love is love is love”?
How do we at once embrace what our country has given us,
– immigrants all, wanderers on her soil –
and hate what we are doing with her promise,
fear what we are bringing our children into?
How do we abide at this collision of grief
and fury and love and fear and hope,
without being smashed and torn apart?

At Sinai, we heard in one word, “protect” and “remember.”
We walked over land through water to arrive here,
heard lightning, saw thunder,
trembled with the mountain over our heads,
ran toward its promised land to yell to the heavens, to each other:
“Your people are my people! Your God is my God!”
Your fate is my fate. I go with you.
Your blood is on our hands.
Let us not this time turn in fear to idols
and allow our commandments to be smashed before us:
“Love your neighbor as yourself,”
“You shall not murder,”
“Protect,” “Remember.”
Let us grow arms enough to throw around and up and open
voice enough to scream, “Stop!”,
register careful complaint,
and whisper “I love you”
in one utterance;
shoulders enough to cry on, backs enough to embrace, laps enough to be held in,
feet enough to march on and on and on,
until their stomping makes the halls of justice tremble, pulse,
as our hearts did that day.
My brothers, my sisters. On this day of Sinai. This day.

Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis is the rabbi-educator at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, MA, where she acts as rabbinic and curricular guide for the award winning Mayim and Etzim K-12 learning programs, as well as the leader of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Journey program. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a Master of Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in addition to her rabbinic ordination. She lives in Natick, MA, with her family.

Rabbi Jordana Schuster Battis is the director of curriculum at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, MA.




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