Sunday, 4 November 2018

My week of tears

It began as you will remember when I visited my neighbour Rabbi Michael Shefrin last Sunday morning to express my anger and grief at the terrorism at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagague.

The Rabbi and I had few words.  We simply help on to each other and wept.

I chose not to attend Sarasota's public vigil last Monday evening.  However approx 2,200 people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, people of other faith and people of no faith were there.

Nor did I attend Friday Shabbat prayers at my local Temple Emman-uel.

Again, many non Jews were there - it was standing room only.

Instead I  chose to attend the Saturday morning prayer service.  That service  usually has an attendance of 12-14  - that attendance was quadrupled!

I dressed for the occasion, wearing a blazer, slacks and my clerical collar.  Rabbi Shefrin of course knows me, but I wanted the congregants to know that an easily identifiable Christian minister was there.

I sat with the Rabbi's mother  (herself a Rabbi). A kind person showed me the places in the prayerbook and I was able to sing along using the transliterated Hebrew.

Time came for the doors of the Ark to be opened.  Rabbi Shefrin invited me to do so alongside his mother.

The Ark at Temple Emman-uel

Torah Scrolls (these from Jewish Temple in Casablanca)

My eyes filled with tears again when we opened the Ark.  I  could imagine wicked and evil hands ripping Torah Scrolls from their place, desecrating them, and burning them in the streets.  

But I was with Jews who love Torah,

"Oh how I love Thy law" (Psalm 119).

Christians say and use these words, but we do not believe them. We hang onto verses such as "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ", as if law and grace were opposites.   Surely grace and truth abound in the Torah.

I get extremely ancy when I hear Christian preachers spout such unhistorical nonsense as "the Jews of Jesus day were very legalistic".

Any statement which begins with the Jews, or the Muslims, or the Hindus, or the Evangelicals is to be deeply mistrusted.

(and who has not encountered a Christian, Catholic, Protestant,  Episcopalian,  Evangelical who is not legalistic about some aspects of his/her faith).


Tears and anger must continue in a week when the American President said And I noticed all that beautiful barbed wire going up today. Barbed wire, used properly, can be a beautiful sight.”

Here is a photo' for him.

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