Unprecedented Times: A Shabbat Message

Posted on June 5, 2020

by Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis

We are living in extraordinary times.

Are they unprecedented? In many ways, yes. At no time before this one, in all of human history, have issues of public health, educating of children, confrontation of racial disparities, experience of violence in our communities, moments of personal loss (and of personal celebration), and more come together in this way–at a time when we can gather online but cannot to be together face-to-face.

In other ways, though, what we are experiencing now has incredible precedent.  What we are experiencing now is a bringing to the surface of things long embedded, and invisible to many of us, in our society: the lack of equal distribution of healthcare, treatment within the justice system, access to resources, and affording of fundamental human dignity–all of which many (though by no means all) of us in our community have the privilege to take for granted.

As I had the honor of writing this week on behalf of the Wayland Interfaith Leaders Association, as spiritual leaders, we understand it to be our obligation to model reflection, examining our own souls for the racial assumptions and messages that we each carry within us. As Jews, we have the particular call to lean on the righteous voices of our ancestors, in the awareness that we are all responsible for the blood of our brothers and sisters due to racism.

As we enter this Shabbat, we pray for the victims and the families of those affected by the violence of racial injustice, and we pray, too, that we may continue to grow and learn in embracing the moral truth that all of us were created in God’s image, and all of us carry a divine spark within.

Shabbat Shalom.