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		                                    Word Of Torah		                                </span>

Word of Torah

Written by: Rabbi Emily Segal

Tomorrow, June 5th, is the 10th anniversary of my rabbinic ordination, and in anticipation of this milestone I have been reflecting lately on my time at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem and in Cincinnati.  Not only have I been recalling the knowledge they passed to me but the wisdom they shared as well which continues to influence and inspire me each day.  A fellow Cincinnati ordinee recently reminded me of something that one of our professors, Dr. Michael Meyer (one of the foremost scholars of modern Jewish history) was fond of saying.  He would say, “I don’t go to Temple to be made comfortable.  I go to be made uncomfortable.”  Similar sentiments have been famously expressed about many fields within the arts - theater, music, visual art - and even about the newspaper.  There is a quote that is often attributed to various artists (including Banksy), but seems most commonly to be attributed to Cesar A. Cruz, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”  I believe that with authenticity, if we take our God-given purpose of healing the world seriously, the synagogue should embody that sentiment as well.  Of course, the line between the disturbed and the comfortable is not so stark and clear; at different times in our lives we are each comfortable and we are each disturbed.  And sometimes - in that selfsame moment - we are both comfortable AND disturbed.  Sometimes, to have the strength to do the work we have been “disturbed” to do, we need to find comfort as well.  With everything going on in our world, I have been left wondering - what parts of ourselves need disturbing?  What parts of us are in need of comfort?
 
In this moment in the life of our country, as so many of us are spurred to action or spurred to increased action combatting racism and naming rooting out implicit bias within ourselves, we also need comfort.  I have been finding renewed comfort in poetry and liturgy - both the liturgy of our prayerbook and that written by liturgists in this moment.  Below, please find a Psalm of Protest written by Alden Solovy.  May the gates of justice indeed be opened wide in our country and around the world.
 
Strangled by Police: Psalm of Protest 17
By Alden Solovy
 
A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.
Fri, June 5 2020 13 Sivan 5780