Dear Friends, The last several months have been ones of turmoil. We have seen the protests around the death or Eric Garner, someone who actually lived not far from the Temple, and the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos. This combined with the turmoil around the world, particularly in the Middle East, gives us a sense of disquiet. We pray that there be peace in our own community, peace in our country and peace in the world. There is no magic formula for achieving peace. Nevertheless, each of us can do our part. The Torah and our traditions constantly emphasize the sacredness of all of life. This should come first. We cannot allow any ideology, or even a desire to make the world a better place, to come before this principle. The world has been all too full of people who are overdosed on ideology and come to think that a philosophy, a faith or an economic system is more important than the life of an individual. I have become very wary of movements and groups that, in their desire to help humanity, lose respect for the well-being of each human being. These groups often end up causing more injustice than the oppression that they are trying to fight. Our tradition is also emphatic on the essential equality of all human beings. The Rabbis taught that all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve; to show that no one’s ancestors are better than the next person’s. We should not consider ourselves “better” than anyone who is of a different racial, ethnic, religious or economic group than ourselves. The Torah teaches that each life is as sacred as the next. In order to bring peace we should try our best not to go through life angry, but to work for peace and good relations in whatever situation we find ourselves. In this cold part of the year, let us be warmed by the warmth of our Temple community and the light of Torah. Hope to see you at Temple,
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