Last week, I met with a Catholic middle school student who had an assignment to learn about Judaism. She arrived prepared with a list of questions about belief, ritual, and history. We toured the sanctuary, looked at different Torahs, and watched classes at Sinai Akiba Academy prepare for Shabbat. As we concluded our tour, we passed by the March of The Living display. The father paused and said, “Rabbi, can you explain this to me?” I told him each year, a group of our members visits Poland to learn the history of the Holocaust, the vibrancy of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before World War II. After a moment of silence he said, “Rabbi, my father was from Poland. His name was Tadeusz Kublicki. He risked his life to save Jews, and he has been recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Gentile.”
This week is #ShowUpForShabbat, in memory of the lives lost one year ago at the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. Jewish leaders are asking people to find a temple and make their presence felt. It is the same Shabbat we read the story of Creation, the Garden of Eden, and the creation of what Heschel calls a “palace in time.” Heschel concludes his book on the Sabbath. “Even when the soul is seared even when no prayer can come out of our tightened throats, the clean, silent rest of the Sabbath leads us to a realm of endless peace.”
There are plenty of reasons to tighten our throats in the world today. Yet, Shabbat allows us to use our voices in a different manner; to create sacred relationships, to learn the story of Tadeusz Kublicki, to see that our neighbors are here to help us create the sanctuary we seek. Let’s show up tomorrow….it matters.
To read the story of Tadeusz Kublicki, click HERE.