Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.
Look around in any community within our great country. You will find people who may appear different, but in reality, they are not, because each of us is distinctive in our own way.
Some may speak with an accent that makes it hard to understand, and some wear clothing that seems bizarre.
The truth is that while we may have different customs and traditions from the various areas of the country in which we live, we are all people who want nothing but the best for ourselves and our children so we can enjoy the fruits of our labors in an environment that gives us comfort and joy.
Unfortunately, there are episodes in our journey that give us pause, such as racial or religious discrimination. This is our country, a mix of different races and religions, and creeds, all blended together to complete the dream of equality.
Then the difficulties begin. The deliberate attempt at creating an atmosphere of mistrust and dissension translates into anger and frustration. The summer heat and the pandemic which has created isolation also lends itself to the expressions of hate and disillusionment. The indiscriminate killing of innocents stokes the fire of rebellion.
The one thing that seems to have been neglected or ignored is the goodness that can be found in so many, because it has been overshadowed by those who shout the loudest. Our houses of faith have been silent during these difficult times. Our clergy have not really organized themselves to speak with one voice to calm the turmoil that has festered for so long.
All of a sudden, all the strides that have been accomplished are forgotten and even ignored. We may have different approaches to our understanding of God and how it is expressed and explored. The one thing that we all understand is that the path is not the only way to connection but, rather, the destination. Where do we want to be in reconciling our differences so that peace and tranquility will once more reign supreme?
The destination can be and should be the same for all of us: acknowledging our obligation to honor the concept of love and faith and harmony.
How best to reach this destination? Joining together at our respective houses of worship to hopefully listen to words of encouragement and inspiration. And, hopefully feel the connection to God Who is there to receive us and listen to our supplications.
Now, more than ever, we have been reminded that while we may seek comfort and solace, we are surrounded by a plague that seems never-ending and hate of one another that is causing so much pain, because no one will stand and say the words, “We are one, and together we can overcome.”
Now, more than ever, we have to realize that our feelings count, our voices need to be heard so that we will all feel the emptiness we are experiencing will disappear. Only with one voice will those responsible for our safety and survival listen to our plea for sanity and accommodation. We are sheep looking for the shepherd to guide us and steer us closer to one another.
Now, more than ever, we need to continue to strive for human decency. Now, more than ever, we must remember that having faith includes faith in ourselves. We have the ability to overcome adversity in partnership with God.