We are privileged to have this Czech Memorial Torah Scroll, written in 1820. It is believed to have be one of the torahs from the town of Slany about 20 miles north of Prague. When the Nazis closed the country's synagogues, our torah, along with torahs, mantles and other religious items from all over Czechoslovakia were sent to the Jewish Museum in Prague. Jewish workers were forced to tattoo a number on each torah and to record the number and the place from which each item had been taken. In 1948, after the war was over, the torahs were transferred to a warehouse that had previosly been Michle synagogue. The scrolls remained in the warehouse on damp, dusty, dirty shelves for many years until they were rescued in 1964 by the Memorial Scrolls Committee of Westminster Synagogue. 1564 scrolls were shipped in sealed railroad cars to London where they were catalogued, repaired and restored when possible. Each torah was given a brass plaque to identify its origin.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
As a Zumba Instructor for almost 12 years I often ask myself outside of the music and movement what the appeal is of a Zumba class. One of my students recently gave me some insight.
But she also pointed out to me that the magic moments of a Zumba class are when all these people come together moving in unison to the same song. As an instructor, those are the moments that make me love my job.
Thinking more about this,...
During the summer I asked my friend Kim what gives her hope. She replied: “Hah! You are asking the wrong person.” She told me that she has just about given up on this country and is thinking of moving to Europe. She is not naive. She understands that other countries are not perfect, but as a Black woman she feels the need to get out from under the particularly insidious ways that racism in America affects her life.
It made me sad to hear that Kim has given up on America. I can’t pretend to know what it is like to live in her skin, but for myself, I could never leave. I tried living in Israel, but it was not my story. My story is here, in this country that is my home, and that continues to struggle to live up to its own ideals. As discouraged as I sometimes feel, I know that I have to try, in whatever ways I can figure out, to move us a...