Sign In Forgot Password

Rabbi's Corner

 

SENIOR RABBI PAULA MARCUS

Rabbi Paula sees Jewish practice as an ongoing, joyous celebration of God and ourselves.
April Shelter-in-Place Special Edition Shofar 2020

Avodah Sh’b’lev

In a Zoom session with a student and his mother, we were discussing what he might want to say about his Torah portion. He is working on the Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) section of the Torah, which is from the Book of Leviticus. It’s all about the sacrifices…animal body parts, fine flour, special oil. Not exactly the most dramatic part of the Torah. So I asked him what he thinks the sacrifices were all about and since they’re no longer offered, what can we do now to replace them. Without knowing what the rabbinic sages teach about this question, he said he thinks that now we pray instead. Smart kid.

The book of Vayikra-Leviticus is filled with details about the sacrifices, which in Hebrew are called Korbanot. The root of the word means, literally, “to draw near.” Our ancestors used these sacrifices as a means for drawing close to God.

Many of us are probably relieved that the days of animal sacrifice are clearly over. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the rabbis replaced the ritual of the sacrifices, which was called avodah—work—because it took a lot of physical work to do the sacrifices, with avodah sh’b’lev the work of the heart—prayer. Devastation led to a radical shift in Jewish practice two thousand years ago, but Judaism continued. So it is right now.

As I understand it, right now we are called upon to participate in avodah sh’b’lev in new ways. This frightening time will push us into new paths for prayer, social justice actions, doing acts of compassion for others (and allowing others to do them for us), staying connected to family and friends in new ways—all works of the heart, avodah sh’b’lev. Yet we will continue to stay connected with each other and make a difference in the world. Let’s keep our hearts open to new ways of serving each other and God.

April Special Edition Shofar 2020

In Each and Every Generation ...

I loved helping my mother set the Seder table. My father would pick my grandparents up at the bus stop, my grandmother schlepping matzah ball soup, gefilte fish, and kugel, all the way from the Bronx. We’d unpack the food, warm it up and wait for the holiday meal. My grandfather would read through the Haggadah in Hebrew and I’d watch my brothers kick each other under the table until one of them drank too much Manishevitz and wound up going up to his bed to “sleep it off.” When the New Union Haggadah came out in 1974, we were so excited to find meaningful English and beautiful artwork that brought the Passover story to life. Instead of listening to the traditional Hebrew for what felt like hours, we were finally able to feel the impact of this important story. The text was written in gender-inclusive contemporary language and all of us enjoyed being active participants in the Seder ritual.

This was the first time I truly understood the mitzvah of Passover. In each and every generation, a person is obligated to regard one’s self as though they actually left Egypt. As it says: "You shall tell your child on that day, 'It is because of this that G-d took me out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8). This Haggadah sparked conversation. Instead of an evening that was mostly focused on my grandmother’s delicious Passover food, the discussion about the true meaning of Passover sparked my imagination and my understanding of Jewish history. I can remember talking about how my grandmother and her family experienced their own exodus from Hungary. I remember asking my grandfather what he could recall about leaving Vilna.

These, and other personal stories of hope and liberation are what we are called to experience at the Seder table. There are at least a million different Haggadot that can help us personalize our home Seder. I know that many TBE members have put together their own.

I encourage all of us to craft our own Passover Seder that will help us experience the Exodus as if we are personally leaving oppression behind.

Along with a variety of women’s Haggadot, The New American Haggadah, and a Haggadah edited by the Velveteen Rabbi, here are some new Haggadot I will be looking at this year:

The Passover Haggadah: An Ancient Story for Modern Times by Alana Newhouse—from reviews: Both proudly traditional and blazingly modern, it is a perfect blueprint for remembering the past, living in our present, and imagining the future.

The Promise of the Land: A Passover Haggadah by Ellen Bernstein—from reviews: This Passover, celebrate both our freedom and the role of nature in the Seder and in our lives. This Haggadah seeks to reveal the Seder’s ecological dimensions and awaken its environmental meaning.

Human Rights Haggadah by Shlomo Levin—from reviews: The Human Rights Haggadah helps you use the Seder to discuss and learn about human rights. The Haggadah contains: • From the Rabbis boxes, which illustrate how human rights ideas are discussed by the rabbis. • From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights boxes, which explain what human rights laws are today. • Dialogue boxes, which outline the reasoning behind these various viewpoints for you to explore at the Seder. This Haggadah makes Passover relevant to the most pressing political and religious dilemmas we face today.

This year, due to precautions concerning Covid-19, many will gather around the Seder table in our own homes. Rabbi Shifra and I are making plans with Rabbi Eli and Rabbi Debbie to invite all of you to a virtual community table for an innovative Passover Seder, so stay tuned.

March 2020

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “What is the Jewish view of what happens after death?” We all know the easiest response is that different Jews have different ideas about this topic. In answering this question, I have mentioned that some Jews believe in reincarnation, referred to as gilgul hanefesh—the cycling of the soul. People are often surprised to hear this because it is discussed in Kabbalistic esoteric mysticism. This concept is not discussed in the Bible or the Talmud. The idea is that there is a gilgul, “rolling,” the soul “rolls” through time from one body to a different body.

I hope that in raising this question, I have sparked more interest in understanding Jewish views, (emphasis on the plurality of opinions) about death and after-life. From Friday night, March 6, through Saturday evening, March 7, Rabbi Simcha Raphael will be our Scholar-in-Residence.

Beth El and Chadeish Yameinu are co-sponsoring a Shabbaton on Judaism and the Mysteries of Life, Death, and the World Beyond. On Friday evening, during our Erev Shabbat service, Rabbi Simcha will give the d’rash about Joseph’s Bones and the Jewish Tradition of Memory.

On Saturday morning during the Shabbat service, Rabbi Simcha will teach about the “Afterlife Journey of the Soul in Kabbalah.” This will be at Chadeish Yameinu.

On Saturday evening, Rabbi Simcha will be sharing Tales of the World Beyond: Stories of Ancient Ancestors, Wandering Spirits, and Reincarnating Souls. This event will be at 7:00 PM, at Pacific Gardens Chapel.

I hope you will join us in learning about this important and fascinating area of Jewish thought. For more details please go to https://bit.ly/2SCCrij.

−Rabbi Paula Marcus

Rabbi SIMCHA RAPHAEL, PH.D. is the founding Director of DA’AT INSTITUTE for Death Awareness, Advocacy and Training. He is also Adjunct Professor of Religion at LaSalle University, and in private practice as a psychotherapist and spiritual director in Philadelphia. He is the author of the ground-breaking classic Jewish Views of the Afterlife.

February 2020

I still remember bringing coins to religious school every week so I could put them in the Tzedakah box at the beginning of each class. As we passed it around the classroom we could hear the clink of coins as we slipped them into the little slot. At the end of the year we would vote on where we wanted to contribute our money. This is how I learned, from a young age, about the important role Tzedakah plays in Jewish life.

And so, I first want to thank all of you who contributed to our end of year Chanukah appeal. I am moved by your generosity. Since we are still in the beginning of our year, I want to take the time to appreciate the many members who have donated funds for our bimah remodel, increased their annual dues commitment, enriched our educational programs through generous support, and have already signed on as sponsors of our May concert with Ivan Rosenblum and our annual Jewish Film Festival. These are all incredibly important efforts that will continue throughout the year.
 

And, as we move into our 30th year in our building, I am sure that many of you have noticed how our infrastructure is aging. We all appreciate how the Brotherhood and Sisterhood have helped replace appliances in our kitchen. There are many more projects that also need our attention. Our building fund is overstretched and rapidly dwindling.

For most of the past, new members were encouraged to make a building fund donation equivalent to a year's dues. Now that our dues are voluntary, building fund pledges are no longer required. But we still need your help keeping the building fund robust and our building safe and comfortable.

If you spend even a little bit of time at TBE you have probably realized that our bathrooms are particularly in need of upgrades. This vital renovation is not a glamorous giving opportunity. None of us wants our family name on the bathroom. But our congregation would gratefully receive and acknowledge any contributions you might be in a position to make toward this project.

Anne Frank of blessed memory wrote in her diary that "no one has ever become poor from giving." Thank you again for your generosity that maintains Temple Beth El as a vibrant, inclusive, and welcoming Jewish community.

January 2020

As we move into this new secular year, I am reminded of how we began our sacred calendar year. On Erev Rosh HaShanah I spoke about our obligation to examine our country’s history of slavery and how this history has impacted the inequality and racism we find in our time. How can we begin to understand our own stories, listen to others and find ways to take responsibility for change?

Reverend Deborah Johnson, who is the founding minister and president of Inner Light Ministries, has spoken to our congregation during our Martin Luther King service over the past four years. She will be joining us again this year, on January 17 at 7:30 PM. Our choir will also be singing for this uplifting evening. Brenda Griffin, president of our local NAACP, will also be joining us. On Sunday, January 19, at 6:00 PM, we will gather together at Inner Light to watch the film Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. This film is about the untold story of one family from Rhode Island, who were the largest operators of a network that brought over 10,000 slaves from Africa to the US.

Traces of the Trade portrays the story of discovery into the history and "living consequences" of one of the nation's most shameful episodes—slavery. Katrina Browne discovered that her slave-trading ancestors from Rhode Island were not an aberration. Rather, they were just the most prominent actors in the North's vast complicity in slavery, buried in myths of Northern innocence. ​From this extraordinary family angle,​Traces of the Trade​ sets out to plumb contentious questions: What is the full story of the northern slave trade? What responsibility does white America bear for the past wrongs and contemporary legacy of slavery? Why is it so difficult for black and white Americans to have this conversation? Please join us at Inner Light for a viewing of the film and discussion of these and other important questions. To watch a trailer of the film, you will find a link on the Upcoming Events page on the TBE website.

“History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents.”

I also want to encourage our community to join in the NAACP celebration of Dr. King, at an event sponsored by the Racial Equity Trainers Network, on Sunday, January 19. Details will be provided in an upcoming email.

Lastly, our congregation and Inner Light will be reading the book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism​, by Robin DiAngelo. A book group to discuss this will be held on Thursdays, at 7:00 PM, starting on January 30. When I read this book, I found myself trying hard to be open to the ideas DiAngelo raises. As a Jewish woman, I identify as a minority.

December 2019

Jews in the Cruz

I’m writing from New York City, where the leaves are falling and the season is turning toward winter. The day before I left Santa Cruz, walking around in a t-shirt, I was thinking only about how cold it might be in NY. I was thinking about how grateful I am to live in California. The recent power outages and raging wildfires (not to mention earthquakes) are what we face as Californians, yet I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What I always forget is that when I arrive in NY I feel at home. Aryeh says that I walk differently in NYC. I think that my NY accent returns. I feel the familiarity of the diversity in NY—the faces, the languages, the clothing choices. Shopping in Fairway Market, walking in Central Park, going to a Broadway show, walking by Temple Emanuel and the old URJ offices on 5th Ave bring back so many memories. And I think the feeling of being at home in NY is remembering how easy it is to be Jewish.

We have to make an effort to connect with Jews in Santa Cruz County. We don’t see ourselves reflected in external signs and symbols around us. We can’t find our favorite smoked fish or rugelach easily. And we certainly make an effort to build a strong and meaningful Jewish life for future generations.

During the months of October and November we had three B’nai Mitzvah of children whose parents and/or grandparents were born or still live in Europe. When the grandparents presented their grandchildren with their tallit, they invoked the pride that the great grandparents, who perished during the Holocaust, would feel in that moment. Each of those B’nai Mitzvah were reweaving a thread that had been torn. Each of them were performing a tikkun, a healing of the generations.

In our small and beautiful Santa Cruz Jewish community, our identities as Jews may not be easy, and, it’s priceless for us and for the future of our people.

November 2019

Thanks-Giving, A Jewish Practice

One of my favorite sayings, which I have posted on the inside of my office door, is “To Kvetch is Human, To Act is Divine.”

It’s so easy to kvetch and Judaism has an answer for this tendency. The practice is called, hakarat hatov, acknowledging/recognizing the good. Just like any practice, it may not be our natural inclination, and so it takes practice.

Imagine how different our interactions and relationships would be if each time we begin a new conversation, email or social media exchange, we would start with appreciation for the person on the other end of the communication. While saying thank you and acknowledging the good in the other might not be easy at first, it can become contagious. If just a few people in our family, friend group or workplace shift the tone of interactions, it can lead to others engaging in this behavior as well.

Hakarat hatov can also be an expression of our own limitations, a recognition that I am not completely in control—that I depend upon others. This can lead to a sense of humility and increased appreciation for how we are connected to others.

Jewish people are literally rooted in the concept of gratitude. We are called Jews, ידה/or Yehudim, after the tribe of Yehuda, whose Hebrew linguistic root is yadah which means to give thanks. This means that it is literally in the DNA of all Jews (Yehudim) to recognize the good that someone does for us and give thanks for it.

Hakarat hatov can be more difficult when we are facing challenges. And, it may be one way we can help lift our spirits. As we move toward Thanksgiving, may we work to incorporate this Jewish practice into our lives.

October 2019

“From the four corners of the world—red, black, white and green. Red is the blood, black is the innards and green for the body. Why from the four corners of the earth? So that if one comes from the east to the west and arrives at the end of his life as he nears departing from the world, it will not be said to them, "This land is not the dust of your body, it's of mine. Go back to where you were created." Rather, every place that a person walks, from there she was created and from there she will return.”
                                                             Midrash Yalkut Shimoni 1:13

Friday, Lily Howe took the 40 minute bus ride from her home in the Bronx to our home in White Plains. She worked hard cleaning our home, and most weeks, she babysat for my brothers while my parents and I went to Shabbat evening services. I always liked it when she stayed for dinner because she would make us fried chicken. I knew very little about Lily’s life. My grandfather called her “the colored girl.” That was the way most people I knew spoke about “the help.” I remember asking him once, what color he thought she was… Lily was kind to us, and she was also firm. She expected us to behave ourselves and for the most part, we did.

I hadn’t thought much about Lily over the years. But after my trip to Alabama and reading a number of books about racism I have started thinking about my place in the dynamic of white privilege and the messages I’ve been raised with.

Over the span of three days, I spent a few hours on the phone with my brothers and my mom, asking them questions about Lily. My youngest brother told me that he remembered when Lily’s oldest daughter was murdered. Her daughter was about 19 years old and she was stabbed to death. My brother told me he saw Lily crying about it with my mom. I didn’t remember this at all. I really know almost nothing about the conditions this woman lived in and she worked for us over the span of 15 years.

Another insight I’ve had recently, is that we always called Lily by her first name. Our other babysitter, a white woman, we always called Miss Campbell.

I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s, after the Civil Rights Movement. I learned about Dr King and the Freedom Riders, but there’s so much I didn’t learn. As the midrash above teaches us, we are all created from the same earth. We also know that each and every one is created in the image of the Divine, with sacred worth. How can we listen to the voices of people of color who are sharing their stories now, and what are the stories and memories we might explore about how race has played out in our lives? During this new year, in the season of our return, how can we become more aware? I’ve been reading, watching and working hard to listen. I know that many of you have been doing this for years. We can each start from where we are and commit to staying with the process of understanding while we work for the changes that would bring our true values of equality and justice to bear.

Please visit our website for a list of books and movies on this subject. Reverend Deborah Johnson and I will be facilitating book groups after the new secular year. Our congregations will be reading the book, White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo. I invite you to engage in this process together.

September 2019

Friday night August 30, is Rosh Chodesh, (new moon) of the month of Elul. In Aramaic (the language spoken by Jews living at the time that the months were given names during the sixth century BCE) the word "Elul" means "search." Elul is a time to search our hearts.

The tradition is to blow the shofar every morning (except on Shabbat) from Rosh Hodesh Elul until the day before Rosh HaShanah. The sounding of the Shofar is a wakeup call to search our souls and our hearts and ask how we can find our way back to equanimity and forgiveness.

In Eastern Europe, Elul came when the plums were purple and ripe and the pears were ready for harvesting. Eastern European Jews called Elul the time of the "Flaumen un die Beren" (the plums and pears). In Yiddish these two words have other meanings as well. The word "flaumen” means flames and the word “beren" means to burn. So Elul can be experienced as a time to wake up and search our hearts, with passionate and burning intensity.

This poem was written by Rabbi Patti Haskell. I invite you to sit with it and see what you discover during this time of spiritual preparation.

Elul.
Late summer month
Leading into the holiest of days.
Time of reflection
Time of return
Time of repentance.
An invitation to open your heart
And feel into your own depths
Searching for sweetness
Searching for tenderness.
Searching for reunion
With your Glorious Creator
Who loves your very being.
Open and be.

June 2019

Mishkan HaNefesh—Sanctuary of the Soul

Thank you to all who have purchased the new Mishkan HaNefesh, high holiday prayer books, and donated to the 60 for 60 campaign so that we have been able to purchase some for our congregation. If you haven’t bought one yet, we have them for sale. I encourage you to buy these books so that you can take them home and spend time with the new, inspiring prayers and readings as a way of preparing for the New Year. This set of machzorim (High Holiday prayer books) was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis in 2015. I am excited about joining the hundreds of other Reform synagogues who have been celebrating the holidays with prayers, songs, and poetry that will guide us through the Days of Awe.

These holidays can inspire us on our communal and our personal spiritual journey. When we come together as a community, we also have our own individual experience. Mishkan HaNefesh can engage us on both of these levels. As with our Shabbat evening siddur, Mishkan Tefillah, these new machzorim include meditations for personal reflection, as well as historical and philosophical commentary on the bottom of each page. I encourage you to explore the richness of these additions to our liturgy.

Another reason I like these books is the diverse images of God and inclusive approach to theological ideas. We find some texts that can help us navigate traditional themes and metaphors that may feel outdated or uncomfortable, engaging us in the ongoing question of what it means to be a Jew in our contemporary world.

I can’t list all of the reasons why I am excited about using Mishkan HaNefesh. One I will share is that it’s LGBTQ+ inclusive. Instead of references to “bride and groom” we have mention of “couple,” there's a new non-binary pronoun, pieces by gay and lesbian poets are included, and those who died in the Holocaust because of their sexual orientation are honored.

In the words of Rabbi April Peters, who designed teaching tools for Mishkan HaNefesh, “The layout, the translations, and the additional readings all reflect a desire to create a text that all worshipers can find a place for themselves within. Through their direct encounter with the new text, they(sic) will come to feel a level of ownership that will allow them to participate actively and meaningfully in their High Holy Days worship, no matter their different beliefs or approaches to Judaism.”

May 2019

Our tradition offers us wonderful learning opportunities between the two pilgrimage festivals of Passover and Shavuot. During these seven weeks, there is a practice of counting the days between these two holidays, with the goal of reminding us of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. The counting helps us understand that the redemption from slavery was not complete until we received the Torah. This spiritual practice links the seven lower emanations of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life with our own attributes. It is an internal, individual learning process that helps us understand our own individual path toward revelation. If you would like to learn more about this practice, you can follow this link: https://bit.ly/2WX8UjS.

A more communal learning opportunity is to study Pirke Avot, The Chapters of our Ancestors, a tractate of the Mishnah devoted to ethical guidance. Rashi (11th century France), taught that this tractate got its name because it contains the “sayings” of the first “fathers” of Judaism. The first chapter of this text connects the giving of the Torah at Sinai, with the generations of leaders and teachers. We find practical teachings about how to study, be part of a community and stay in alignment with core Jewish values.

One of my favorite teachings in this collection is about how we approach our relationship with Torah. In chapter 5, teaching number 22, we read that Ben Bag Bag—a rabbinic sage and student of Rabbi Hillel the Elder—used to say, “Turn it (Torah), and turn it, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it, for nothing is better than it.”

Between Passover and Shavuot, it has been our practice to study Pirke Avot for our Thursday Lunch and Learn sessions. This year I am very excited about a new commentary on Pirke Avot, titled Pirkei Avot: A Social Justice Commentary by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz. Rabbi Shmuly draws from a wide variety of classic and modern commentaries and I am looking forward to sharing these insights as we continue in our efforts to heal ourselves and our world.

April 2019

I’m writing from Europe, where I’ve been traveling with my family.

Aryeh’s two sons planned this trip months ago and their primary “goal” revolves around soccer—football—as it’s called here.

Our first stop was Amsterdam. Since

I was young and read her diary, I have wanted to visit the house where Anne Frank and her family were hidden. In our religious school production of the play, at 14 years old, I was Anne. I spoke her words and did my best as a kid, to imagine what it must have felt like to be confined in such a small space with her family and four others. Walking

through the rooms she walked in and seeing the sights she saw, I was filled with sadness for the suffering she and others endured during World War II. And I was amazed by the words she conjured to express her hope for the world.

While I am traveling in Europe, Rabbi Shifra is traveling in Israel with eight other members of our congregation in solidarity with Women of the Wall as they mark their 30th Anniversary. Women of the Wall (WOW) gathers every Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) at the Kotel (Western Wall). Their main purpose is to attain the social and legal recognition for women to wear tallit, pray out loud and read from the Torah

on the women’s side of the Kotel. But the bigger issue is that the ultra-orthodox minority monopolize the holy

sites and dictate how all Israeli citizens can be married and buried. For their 30th Anniversary, WOW’s goal was to gather supporters from all over the world as an expression of how important it is for the Kotel to be a place that all Jews can feel at home. Almost 10,000 ultra-orthodox school children were bussed in to fill the plaza of the western wall and prevent the group from entering. Rabbi Shifra said “most of these extremists were children and many of them had a very menacing mob mentality. They spat at us and shoved us and ridiculed us as we attempted to enter the women’s section to pray. Many of the people who came to be there with us gave up and turned back. However I did manage to make my way to the center of the Women of the Wall Rosh Chodesh service and it was a very moving experience for me. As I was pressed against a group of teenage girls who were there to block me, we respectfully exchanged our points of view in the eye of the storm as it were.” Despite harassment and even death threats, Women of the Wall continue their work, in conjunction with the URJ’s Israel Religious Action Center. We must never give up hope that Israel will become the example of religious pluralism and inclusion that it was intended to be.

Read Women of the Wall: A Holy Mess in The Jerusalem Post at https://bit.ly/2Ct3Mfn.
 

On February 11, 2019, Rabbi Paula was honored with the Tony Hill Award at the 35th Annual Martin Luther King Convocation. She gave the following speech.

I want to thank so many people for this great honor. Those of you who nominated me and wrote letters of support, my Temple Beth El family. And all of you who have been partners in stirring up our shared public life in this amazing community. My family, including my amazingly supportive husband, my loving son, my loyal brother and his wonderful partner who are here this evening.

Tonight, we are honoring the memory of two men who stood up and spoke out whenever they saw injustice, insensitivity, inequality. Two men with the vision to keep going, even when others might have lost hope. Two peaceful warriors. Both of these men faced adversity. And both of them taught that love, not hate, is the way forward. Do we really know how remarkable this is? Because honestly, these days I’m finding it hard. Hard to stay in the struggle and not become enraged at what we are seeing.

It doesn’t help when my inbox is filled with political emails such as:

“Did you hear what Mitch McConnel just said?”

“Demand Governor Resign Over Blackface Photo”

“Condemn Rep. Steve King for White Supremacist Remarks”

Or “they want to be able to LYNCH LGBTQ people”

I know that these messages are sent by organizations that are working to mobilize us. They stir up our outrage. And, we can’t just get angry. Just like Tony Hill and Dr. King, we organize. We reach out to the people we work with and we say, what are we gonna do about this? We sit together, in sanctuaries, at cafes, sometimes in jail cells, and we share our stories our dreams and our plans to create change.

And we remember the legacies of hope and love and courage we hold so dear.

This is one reason I chose COPA* as the recipient of the $500.00 gift. I have learned so much about effective strategy, the importance of organizing across differences of faith, race, and economic class. And the preciousness of our stories, our understanding of why we need to work together. The patience it takes to stay in, especially when we don’t always agree about everything.

Last year, my husband and I traveled in Vietnam. Talk about a humbling experience, we were received by open hearted, generous people. I like to say it would have been easier if we’d gone when Obama was president, at least we could have said we learned something from that tragic war.

We spent some time at the Temple where the Vietnamese, Buddhist spiritual leader and teacher, Tich Nat Han, became a monk. We walked around the beautiful lake, sat in the meditation hall and spoke with some of the monks and nuns. This Temple is where Thich Nhat Hanh is now living his last days or weeks before he dies. This man, who protested against the war in Vietnam and taught that “Peace is in Every Step”. As we honor and remember Tony Hill and Dr King this evening, I want to close with these words from Tich Nat Han.

“If you see someone who is trying to shoot, to destroy, you have to do your best in order to prevent him or her to do so. You must. But you must do it out of your compassion, of your willingness to protect, and not out of anger. That is the key.

*COPA-Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action, local Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate.

 

Wed, October 21 2020 3 Cheshvan 5781