Messages from Rabbi Russo

January 15, 2016 - 5 Shevat

This year I have been studying the weekly Haftarah readings with an incredible group of congregants.  Each week, our understanding of prophecy broadens as we read about different styles and tactics of the prophets.
This weekend we memorialize Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who witnessed the injustices of the world and dedicated his life to addressing racism, poverty, and violence by holding America accountable through nonviolence.  Part of the Jewish narrative is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and the iconic picture of him marching with King in Selma, Alabama.  Both King and Heschel can be viewed as modern-day prophets who constructively used their rage to bring about meaningful change.  
As we think back to our legacy with the Civil Rights Movement, we have to ask ourselves are we doing enough?  We honor King this weekend, and we also reflect on the progress that still needs to happen to actualize his dream.  Are we continuing Heschel's legacy of doing everything we can to recognize and combat racism in our country?  
In Parashat Bo we learn about the mitzvah to celebrate Passover, the holiday of freedom.  It encourages us to think about freedom, equality, and justice and the role we can play today.  We are working on organizing social justice initiatives within the synagogue that will be intergenerational.  If you would like to become involved in the planning process, please let me know.  I also hope that if you have off of work on Monday, you will find a volunteer opportunity for you and/or your family.  Here are some volunteer opportunities for MLK Jr. Day in the area: http://www.lohud.com/story/news/2016/01/12/martin-luther-king-day-events/78687462/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=
Meanwhile, enjoy this video produced by the two a cappella groups - Naturally 7 and the Maccabeats - in honor of MLK Day.       
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crKDDS5D_os
Shabbat Shalom