Tuesday, June 23, 2020

In This Moment, by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman: June 23: Exactly 1,950 years ago this month; Race in America, Why Jemimah Had to Go; A World Premiere of a New Video about TBE; Vaccinate Us

In This Moment
Happy Rosh Hodesh Tammuz!

The Essence of Tammuz

Today is the first day of the Hebrew month that literally means summer.
Tammuz is the fourth month of the Jewish calendar. Tammuz comes at the same time as the secular months June/July.  Its name was adopted from the Assyrian and Babylonian month Araḫ Dumuzu, named in honor of the Mesopotamian deity Dumuzid. The mazal (constellation) for Tammuz is Cancer, the sartan (crab).
Shiva Asar B'Tammuz (The 17th of Tammuz) is a minor fast day (fasting is required only from sunrise to sunset). Tradition ascribes to the 17th of Tammuz a number of tragedies from various epochs in Jewish history. The fast commemorates these catastrophes, the most notable of which are:
Moses' breaking of the first tablets of covenant upon finding the Israelites worshipping a golden calf;
The breaching of the walls of Jerusalem in the time of both the first and second temples;
According to legend, Noah sent out a dove on the 17th of Tammuz to see if the flood waters had calmed and if the mountaintops were visible. But the bird returned, signaling that there was no dry place to rest.
The Three Weeks is a sustained period of mourning over the destructions of both temples. It begins on the 17th of Tammuz, the day of the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, and ends on Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), the day of the destruction of the temples. It is customary to refrain from holding weddings or other celebrations during this period.
So Happy Summer!
Two Timely Videos About History

You think these past few months have been traumatic? Take a journey down Memory Lane, to a moment exactly 1,950 years ago this month, when all seemed lost. Now you can revisit that moment and walk the steps of our ancestors.
The Journey along the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David, the Heart of Ancient Jerusalem.
The Journey along the Pilgrimage Road in the City of David, the Heart of Ancient Jerusalem.

This Covid-19 period has created some wonderful opportunities for virtual pilgrimage - here to a just-discovered road leading from the City of David to the foot of the Temple Mount.  This was the main path to our holiest place from the pool where our ancient ancestors purified themselves on the last leg of their journey.  This was also the road from which some tried to escape the flaming temple precincts and the Romans in the year 70 CE, when the second temple was destroyed on the Ninth of Av, a date we will mark in just a few weeks. (The walls were breached on the 17th of Tammuz.) It's also where the commerce of the ancient city took place, where the moneychangers were, which is of interest to readers of the New Testament.

Also, take a look at this...

Interesting approach from a popular mainstream Christian source, explaining issues of racial injustice from a historical perspective. Comprehensive and full of stats, but easy to follow. You will come out of this understanding why people are marching -and why it matters to all of us.

Holy Post - Race in America

More on Jemimah

This video from the Jim Crow Museum demonstrates why it was necessary to - at long last - bid farewell to Aunt Jemimah.

Aunt Jemima
Aunt Jemima "I'se in town, Honey!"

Many consider Aunt Jemima as a kind, happy motherly figure who made great pancakes. Aunt Jemima, sang songs, cooked pancakes, and told romanticized stories about the Old South as a happy place for blacks and whites. But examine how these interpretations came to be and whether they were based on reality or in marketing. How many times does it take to call Aunt Jemima "Happy" before everyone believes it? And does just saying she is "Happy" make it so?


Join us also on Thursday at 6 for a very special virtual introduction to TBE for representatives of several faith groups - and the world premiere of a brand new video presentation showcasing TBE's story, as told through the spiritual journeys of a number of our members.  RSVP required, to sharingsacredspaces.org. Come and greet our neighbors, as we teach them some of the basics about Judaism and share our experiences of the sacred.

And this Friday at services, we will welcome to our 6 PM service Guy Fortt, the new president of the local branch of the NAACP.

Just in case you were feeling neglected: 

 (Times of Israel).  A report published Tuesday by a Tel Aviv research group found that the coronavirus pandemic has become a vehicle for an intense and exceptional wave of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist propaganda that accuses Jews and Israel of either causing the virus or standing to benefit from it. The pandemic has "unleashed a unique worldwide wave of antisemitism," researchers at the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University said. "The new wave of antisemitism includes a range of libels that have one common element: The Jews, the Zionists and/or the state of Israel are to blame for the pandemic and/or stand to gain from it," they wrote.
Why Were Jews Blamed for the Black Death? (Moment) When the populace searched for answers, the ecclesiastical hierarchy lectured them on how the Black Death was God's retribution for their wicked ways. In Spain, tolerance of the "killers of Christ" was among them. Soon tales of Jews pouring poisonous powder into wells circulated throughout what is now Germany and France. What followed was a massacre of Jews unparalleled in its magnitude and ferocity.

"Vaccinate Us" By Rabbi Jen Gubitz

Find this prayer in the new collection: 

As our world suffers,
sickened by this virus-we pray:
Inoculate our hearts with fortitude
to dismantle systemic racism
Inject our souls with compassion to love
and then to love harder
Mitigate our structures of power
against abuse, exploitation and violence.
Protect our siblings, among us and beyond,
beloved humans who lay bleeding in our streets
Strengthen those wearied by oppression,
with renewed energy, tenacity, hope and rest.
Fortify our hearts to listen deeply and amplify the voices
of black people
of brown people
of indigenous people everywhere
Immunize us, O Source of Healing,
Immunize us against this viral historic hate,
Course through our veins courage and conviction
to reckon with our implicit bias
to apologize for our role in the pain
to fight to end this oppression
Vaccinate us, vaccinate us, O Source of Healing
with the sacred power of love.
Happy Tammuz!

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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