What does it mean to remember? It is to live in more than one world, to prevent the past from fading, and to call upon the future to illuminate it.
Related Blog Posts on Death and Mourning, Holocaust, Jewish History, and Jewish Values
I've been reflecting on the story of America's founding - the narrative many of us learn as children in the United States. I've recently learned a different version of that story - one that I now recognize intertwines with my own. My identities as Cuban American and Jewish have been shaped by Indigenous stories in America and in Cuba; particularly the themes of beginnings, loss, transformation, and change.
Imagine that you travel back in time to 1934 – when Europe had no inkling of the catastrophic events lying ahead that would transform that continent forever. What would you photograph to capture the authentic essence of human experience at that liminal moment in history?
This time of year, we hear again and again about how much emphasis Judaism places on the nuances of how to address harm of all kinds. I am convinced that the steps of repentance and repair outlined by the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides make sense not only in our individual lives when we harm our coworkers, friends, family, and intimate partners, but also in reference to the communal, cultural, and national levels.
Judaism encourages us to awaken each day with thoughts of gratitude. I recite the Modeh Ani each day to thank the Divine for returning my soul. I was recently asked where our soul goes while we sleep. This poem is my response.
Tishah B'Av is a day of mourning, commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples. In recent years, it's also a day to mourn other tragedies that have darkened Jewish history - the Romans putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, mass murders of Jewish communities during the Crusades, expulsions from England, France, and Spain in the Middle Ages, and the Holocaust.
We have lost one of the G'dolay ha'dor, one of the rabbinic giants of our time. Rabbi Dow Marmur's life reflected the triumphs and tragedy of 20th Century Jewish life, beginning in Poland on the eve of the Shoah to his last days in the State of Israel. He was truly brilliant, incisive, and witty, with unshakable integrity.
On June 3, 1972, Rabbi Sally Priesand was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as the first woman rabbi in North America. To celebrate this milestone in Jewish and American history, HUC's Dr. Bernard Heller Museum in New York partnered with The Braid's Story Archive of Women Rabbis in Los Angeles to create the exhibition "Holy Sparks," presenting 24 ground-breaking women rabbis who were "firsts" in their time.
Yom HaShoah is also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day and occurs on the 27 th of the month of Nisan. It is a day to commemorate those who perished during the Holocaust and listen to survivors tell their stories. However, as the survivor population ages, many are needing more assistance.
On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.