A Bisl Torah

Stand By Me

While the news was breaking about the horrific events in Nice, France (how many more times will I need to write a sentence like that?) Sinai Temple opened her doors and prayed with the community. All colors, all creeds, all faiths…dancing and singing and hoping that for a few hours, the fear of the stranger would transform into acceptance of the other. Our law enforcement swayed, arms linked with African-American gospel preachers. And we sang the following:

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

It is hard for me to write this, but it literally feels as if the sky is falling and mountains are crumbling into the sea. I am afraid. I am crying. But last night I cried for a different reason—I cried because I still have faith that there are people in this world that want goodness to prevail. We must “stand by” those that commit to changing this world for better. Those are the people that showed up in our synagogue last night.

Look beyond your own neighborhood. Seek out someone of a different color and faith. Learn about their families, interests, hopes and dreams. It is our embrace of the “other” that will teach our children how to find support when the world seems bleak. Anne Frank’s words reverberate through my soul, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” While this may be true, we can’t merely rely on people’s good intentions. Rather, we must actively expose our hearts, one to another.

“Just as long as you stand, stand by me”…the last words of the song seem prophetic…just as long as we stand by each other, then blessing continues to override evil.

But you have to reach out if you expect someone else to stand by you. Reach out…someone will reach back. Last night assured me of this. And I thank God for that reassurance.

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