Special Edition: As Seen in This Week’s Jewish Journal
One of my favorite spots in Philadelphia is the Please Touch Museum. Children run all over, pretending to be train conductors, checking out at the grocery store, and bringing characters to life through various childhood stories. A highlight is watching my own kids “paint the roses red.” They enter the world of Alice in Wonderland, pick up a paintbrush and let the stresses of the outside world melt away as imagination and invention take over.
But our children are growing up in a world in which their sacred spaces of play…classrooms, movie theaters, synagogues, concerts and festivals are potentially places of horror and terror. My heart skipped a beat the first time my daughter came home and told me about the active shooter drill at school. And I cried as I held my sobbing son, a little boy wondering when the bad man would come through our front door. Our babies are being robbed of their time…a time to play, a time to laugh, a time to run with unbridled joy. A time to paint the roses red.
As we commemorate the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem, I can imagine God livid with rage. Wondering how his children have reached this point. A pinnacle of disappointment and disgust. Pleading with us, “My children, you must do better. Please, for the sake of your own children, do better. Be better.”
In his “Through Storms We Grow,” Rabbi Alexander Alan Steinbach reminds us, “The imperative need during a storm is not a white flag of surrender, but a stout sail to propel life’s floundering bark through the threatening shoals. A lad visiting his grandparents in Cape Cod asked an old sailor to explain what the wind is. The wrinkled seaman pondered the question for a few moments and then replied, ‘I’m afraid I can’t tell you what the wind is, but I know how to hoist a sail when it blows.’”
My children must know that hope isn’t lost. That their parents and community will continue to fight to protect their right to live and… be children. And God must never give up on his creation; those children devoted to strengthening the light that flickers in the dark.
May the memories of those lives shattered in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton forever be a blessing. May their families feel connected and lifted by us, brothers and sisters that mourn with broken hearts.
And may our children reclaim their childhoods. Through the storm, we refuse to succumb to the terrors of the night.
Written by Rabbi Nicole Guzik on behalf of the Sinai Temple Clergy:
Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi Nicole Guzik
Rabbi Erez Sherman
Rabbi Sam Rotenberg
Cantor Marcus Feldman
If you feel lost amidst this tragic time and need someone to listen and/or confide in, please reach out to us. The Sinai Temple Clergy is here for you. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (310) 481-3234.