Today, the last day of 2019, we clean out the remaining wax on our Chanukiyot and look ahead to 2020, knowing well that we have not seen the end of antisemitic hate. And it leaves us reeling, sad, angry, and confused about what to do.
Our hearts are viscerally and inexorably linked with our brothers and sisters in Monsey, New York as they try to imagine how to celebrate this coming Shabbat after such a ruthless attack during a Chanukah party on Saturday night. This heinous crime came after nine other violent antisemitic attacks in New York that occurred since the shooting in New Jersey on December 10. Our prayers are for refuah shleimah, complete healing, for the five people wounded in Monsey and all who have suffered from these attacks.
We know that hate crimes are affecting other marginalized groups in our world, but it is increasingly clear why this scourge of antisemitism is called the oldest hatred and it is coming now from different segments of our society.
As Jews here in St. Paul, we are represented by the JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas) who offered these words on our behalf along with the Jewish Federations of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
At Mount Zion on Jan 17, we will have an opportunity to hear from Attorney General Keith Ellison and Rep. Frank Hornstein who will speak at a Food for Thought session at 6:15 pm before services about the ways that antisemitism and racism are challenging our vision of an American society freed from hatred and striving toward freedom for all. Carin Mrotz, executive director of Jewish Community Action, will introduce the conversation. She, along with Rabbi Michael Latz from Shir Tikvah Congregation, wrote this reflection after Monsey. You may also want to read Rabbi Adler’s Yom Kippur sermon about antisemitism.
Most importantly, while all of us may read this message with varied political and religious perspectives, we pray that we will overcome our differences to stand together in the ways that are most important.
At Mount Zion, we are committed to strengthening a positive Jewish identity not based on reacting to antisemitism, but on responding to Sinai. We have a beautiful heritage that we can nurture and celebrate for ourselves and share with the world.
With prayers for a peaceful, joyful 2020 despite any challenges we may face,
Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi
Esther Adler, Rabbi
Jennifer Strauss-Klein, Cantor
Rachel Stock Spilker, Cantor