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Social Justice Committee - October

By Carl Selkin

As we begin 5783, I want to reflect a bit with gratitude on the transition from 5782. Many of us had the experience of participating in the workday organized by the Men’s Club and Sisterhood. For me, there was a certain primal pleasure in scraping and peeling away paint. Nothing says renewal better than a clean surface ready for fresh paint, and I, for one, more fully appreciate the obligation to tikkun olam after having cleaned up my small corner of the PJTC campus.  More important than my little effort, was doing this in the company of so many others—especially the energetic young people in our community. Hinei Matov…

   This experience is a metaphor for Social Justice. First, showing up. “Hineini.” Being present. Our Torah reading for Rosh Hashanah reminds us that being present is no easy matter when the work ahead is incredibly difficult. “Hineini,” Moses responds to the call from the burning bush. But Moses hesitates to take on the revolutionary task he is called to perform. He needs help. A Spox, if you will--Aaron of the clear voice. Moses is cajoled into understanding  that he has the strength to take up the impossible task  and maybe actually succeed. Most importantly, he realizes that the cause is just and cannot be ignored--a cause that transcends self-interest, a cause that rights the injustices suffered by his enslaved people. A single act, a violent one at that, gets him and the cause nowhere, except that in exile he discovers the path that will lead him and all of us out of oppression.

   Social Justice is not a thing. It is a call to action. In this new year, there is so much to do. The devastation in Florida is a fresh wound  that calls us to work together not just to patch the lives torn by the storm but to stem the slide into a future where such storms, heatwaves, floods,  and drought become the norm. We need to treat each other with dignity and not pit one group against another, not abandon the stranger or shut our doors when we can help. Refugees, immigrants, and others may not look like us. But that just means we need a different mirror. The crisis of homelessness and poverty require us to work for affordable housing where it is needed, not where we do not have to see it. Permanent supportive housing and homes for those who work in our schools and restaurants do not get built on their own. We need to advocate and work hard to create our inclusive cities, communities, and neighborhoods. Justice requires the equal application of the law, and equitable enforcement. We can add so many other items to our       “to-do” list. As we know, we can’t do everything, but we can do something.   Please join us in 5783 and take up the challenge to make 5783 the year in which we take action together.

Saturday, November 5 at 7PM: Urban Voices Project Chorus returns to PJTC for a free concert celebrating community. Watch for the announcement!

Fri, December 9 2022 15 Kislev 5783