A community of communities

American Dreams & Realities

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 10:39am -- Rabbi


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow. 

                                                                          - Langston Hughes

This past week in Ferguson, Missouri, in Philadelphia and across the country, individuals and communities responded to the decision of a grand jury not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager in August. It has been fifty-one years since the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the prophetic words, "I Have a Dream," and we are not there yet. Across our country, individuals and communities are calling out, "Black lives matter." We pray for the day when our society will operate on the belief that "All lives matter" regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, income, ability, gender or sexual orientation. We yearn for a country that recognizes the truth of the words of our Talmud:"Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9). May we hold onto these dreams of human dignity from our tradition and our nation and take action to make them a reality.