Has America Lost Its Way?

Has America lost its way? Have we entered a new wilderness, unsure of how to respond to pandemic, to social disparity, police brutality and leaders who desecrate sacred values and sacred places? The waves of protests are a desperate cry for justice and change. The social contract that should hold a nation together is falling apart.

The Parsha this week emphasizes the need for leadership that is responsible for protecting the sacredness our institutions. The name of the Parsha Naso means “lifting up”. The heads of the Levitical leaders are “lifted up” in their service to the nation. One cannot lead when one is looking down and is not fully present. If you are not looking up, receiving the light, seeing what is ahead of you; you fall.

Many organizations are trying to respond to what is happening and struggling to find their way in these times. Below are recent quotes from larger statements from a few organizations that we work with.

From Bend the Arc

“The protests of this past week are calling our country to examine our social contract — and to take action for Black lives. This includes not just ending police violence and mass incarceration but investment in housing, health, education, community, and care.”

From CCAN (Chesapeake Climate Action Network)

“We also condemn all statements that condone or incite violence against those who are exercising their First Amendment rights to protest this and other recent deaths of African Americans across our country. For those of you reading this who are white, we encourage you to take this opportunity to learn as much as you can about institutional racism and privilege. Click here to visit site.

From T’ruah

“This week, the divine image is diminished as we mourn the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. This is yet one more tragic example of the racist violence too often perpetuated by police officers, who are charged with protecting all of us–not only some of us. We again face the reality that people of color in our country live in fear that encounters with law enforcement will result in serious injury or death.

We say once again: Black Lives Matter. And we commit to creating a country that lives by this statement.”

From JStreet

“Our country is literally dying and bleeding today. Tragically, our president, rather than looking to heal the nation’s wounds and close its gaping divides, revels in stoking the flames of hate and throwing fuel on the fires of racism and division. We must do everything within our power to defeat President Trump this November. But it would be naive to imagine that a single election could undo centuries of inequity or significantly alter America’s deeply entrenched system of structural racism.”

JCRC

“At a time when our nation has been convulsed by a global health crisis disproportionately impacting communities of color in our region and around the country, we demand justice, not only in the prosecution of arrested former-officer Derek Chauvin, but also in the prosecution of the three former officers who stood by while Floyd was killed. And we demand that the system of ingrained, pernicious racism that enabled this horrific killing be uprooted and replaced by a culture of equitable, just law enforcement that protects Americans of all skin-colors.“

May our heads be lifted during these difficult times.
May our light be strengthened and bring light to each other;
May we find healing and peace.

Reb David

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