Keynote Address by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum.
Well. We've. Been on quite a journey today, and all, of you who have remained to, the end of the day will get a gold star at the end of this, and. Thank. You very much look at that look at this taken, charge fantastic. And. I. Told. Some people could break that some people when they heard that I was coming to a seminar. On, exploring. Anti-semitism, and, how to resist, it in, the middle of the ten days of, repentance. Between, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sounded. Like it could be an anti-semitic, thing to do to a congregational, rabbi. But. If, Syed, asks. Me to do something I would do it even if it were 15. Minutes before Yom Kippur and. The. Relationship, that I have with him and the shared vision we have about the world even. Though there are differences, between us is something. I deeply, value, and we don't have enough of it in the world and I, can't talk about all of those issues today but I'm going to get, to some of them I'm. Very. Happy, to meet you Michael and to see the partnership that the two of you are developing here at Swarthmore, about, creating, different, kinds of containers, in which to have conversations. That can go a little bit deeper than. A headline, so. I appreciate everybody hanging in I have, to say this is not an easy role to have because, I came here with a talk that I imagined, I could give and furiously. Through the day I'm throwing out things that have already been covered and I want to respond to some things that have been mentioned so. I'm going to try and do a bit of a hodgepodge and, I. Beg. You to follow along with me a little bit on this journey and, hopefully. We'll be able to have some time for conversation. But, the truth is this is all part of a very big conversation. That's happening in the world today. First. Of all I want to point out that I'm not an academic and, I don't really even consider myself an intellectual, I consider. Myself a student and it's, always, as a student, I'm grateful, to be able to have, academics. And teachers like those we heard from today from. Whom I could steal all your research, and use, it in to teach what I have to teach so I'm very grateful for that I also. Want to point out that I'm not only, an activist, although activism, is important, in my life but. I'm actually in, charge of an institution. In which, a thousand, people try to find, meaning day in and day out and. Most. Of them don't agree about a lot of things so. I think one of the things that I have to offer the conversation. Today is not just academic, questions, which. I value, deeply. And the research that's, generated, by the Academy, nor. Is it just about activism, where we work only with those we already agree with and try to affect those we don't agree with in. A synagogue that's, functioning, at the best level and I hope cbst is a representative. Of that we. Have people with, who. Have deep disagreements. Among us, very. Notably, on Israel Palestine and on, a range of issues and, I want to take some of what I've learned being, the rabbi there for 26, years to, talk about the, issues about anti-semitism, and, how, to resist, it today. Which I'll I'm gonna dive, into a few different. Directions. To get there but. The first thing I want to really make clear is that when I came to cbst it was very right-wing. On everything. Related to Israel, and Palestine, and well. I know that's not the topic for today I'm gonna be referring to some things that I think can describe, how, one can move a community, into, deeper engagement and what, I think some of the problems that, prevent. That prevent, that. So. First. Of all I, want. To quote a rabbi, who gave them. Maybe, the most famous. Rabbinic. Speech that nobody, knows about. Because. He could happen to give the speech at the 1963. March on Washington. Immediately. Following dr., King I mean. Immediately preceding, dr. King so. How they have a speech never be remembered give your speech before dr., King at, the 1963. March on Washington. But. His speech is really significant, and I teach it all the time in all different kinds of so I'm gonna offer a piece of it to you today the. Rabbi was rabbi, dr., yoken prince who, had been the rabbi of the major synagogue, in Berlin in the 1930s. He, came as a refugee, to the United States and then, was for many years the rabbi of very, large synagogue, in Newark New Jersey he, became very engaged, in civil rights and, as.
Part, Of his identity. As. The civil rights activist, and intellectual. And Jewish. Thought. That, he was, he, obviously drew, upon his experience, in Nazi, Germany but. I want to read a piece of this speech because it's significant, I think for, today, as. Jews. And I'm quoting it's, worth reading the whole thing which is very brief which is also an amazing thing for rabbis, to read how a brief, speech can actually say something important. I have not learned how to do that so. I'm but one of the things he says is as Jews we bring to this great demonstration. In which thousands, of us proudly participate a, two fold experience. One. Of the spirit and one. Of history in. Other words what rabbi. Prince was saying there are two reasons that Jews care, about being present, at this moment of civil rights, one, is theology. We believe we are fulfilling. Our, Jewish, identity our, relationship. With God by, being in this moment God, demands, it of us we, are demanded. To act in ways that are ethical, and just, and right in the world and secondly. One of history, we will know what it's like to be oppressed, therefore. We want to be engaged in movements, that, will eliminate. Or mitigate, the. Experience, of those who are oppressed, he. Goes on to say when. I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime I learned, many things the. Most important, thing that I learned under those tragic, circumstances. Was. That bigotry, and hatred are not the most urgent problem, the. Most urgent the. Most disgraceful the. Most shameful, and the, most tragic, problem, is silence. He. Concluded, his talk. A great. People which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent, on lookers, they remain silent, in the face of hate in the face of brutality, in the face of mass murder, America. Must not become a nation of onlookers. Immediately. After, the election of Donald Trump on that, Tuesday of night of 2016. CBS. T we had a gathering the next one the next night kind, of a Shiva if we felt like it was Shiva we set it up where we recited, Psalms, and people. Could stand up and speak and. It went on for several hours there, was no agenda other than giving room for people to speak then. That Friday, and people. Spoke and many of the older lesbians, and older gay men in particular, spoke. About their fear and anxiety that, everything, that they had fought for in creating. In America, in which they could be. Respected. And live lives a full dignity was, now threatened, I. Woke. Up on Friday. Morning, of that week and, I thought to myself as, vulnerable. As I feel as a Jew and I. Felt vulnerable as a Jew that week as, vulnerable as I feel as a lesbian and I felt really vulnerable as a lesbian that week I thought. To myself how does a Muslim, American, feel that. The United States has just elected, a president. Whose. Opening speech. For his candidacy, how, he announced, that he was gonna run for president, of the United States was, an anti-muslim. Tirade. And. I, tried to think what would that feel like I was, very aware of my own feelings of vulnerability but, I tried really hard to think what does that feel like I, called. Up a few of the other our, clergy, team, and Randy. Came with me and I said you know what let's go to the mosque that I have a relationship with for many years of working the Imam there and let's, just go with a bunch of signs and sand out in front of the mosque and say Jewish, New Yorkers, support, our Muslim, neighbors and. Let's bring roses I didn't, know you should deform, the roses that I learned you're supposed to when you buy roses you're supposed to take the thorns off I didn't know that okay, so we bought a hundred root long-stem, roses and. We, stood in front of Jumma, prayers of course it's Friday afternoon so we got there before the prayers began and. Thousands. Of worshippers are, coming to prayer because this is now the first communal. Prayer, time since. Trump. Was elected on that Tuesday and we. Could see as people walked down, the sidewalk. Anxiety. And. Tension. As they, saw a group of us know about four or five, standing. In front as they, didn't know what we were doing there and when, they came close enough to see the signs you, could see the body language change and we handed them the. Roses, and as a way we then went upstairs with them and as they were going in and you could see that change, they asked, to take pictures, with us they wanted to show their parents they wanted to show their boyfriend. Or their girlfriend, an image. Of what this could look like. Since. The inauguration.
Every. Single. Friday. There's. Been a group from CBS T standing, in front of that mosque doing. The same thing without, the roses every week but with the science. Six. Months ago a year, that year ago I invited, the Imam to be our gay pride seeker, we, have a big gay pride celebration, as you can imagine at CBS see it's like our second high holiday season, and. Except. It's a lot more fun watch more color you know it's a lot more you know but it's but it's a huge event for CBS T and I said to the Imam they do come and speak to CBS t for gay pride is a and he. Said yes immediately he. Came to CBS C for gay pride and he, said many. Will question, why I is a straight. Muslim. Religious, leader are. Here today in the LGBT. Jewish synagogue. Celebrating. Gay Pride and, he. Said, many. People send us letters of. Saying how much they support us and they're with us, but. For some reason it's the gay Jews who, show up week, after, week after week. As. He left the service I I thanked, him of course and I said is. There any chance that they you, would participate, than, not you personally but they're your creation would participate in our high holiday services. And have your young, people volunteer, at CBS t so. The next fresh agenda which was a year ago this Rosh Hashanah a, whole. Group, and. Yom Kippur a whole group of the young Muslims, from that mosque came, and served, as ashes they. Handed out the moxa reading the prayer books they. Helped people with wheelchairs they, were they, were accessibility. Team they helped everybody with wheelchairs and then for Yom Kippur last, year I asked a group of them these young people who are there to, light the Yom Kippur candles. To come up on the Bema on the stage and like they gave people candles now. There's no Theory, here, although, listening, to Dov I understand, what we're doing better but. What we've done also, by having people every, single week be, there is create, a sense of connection we, didn't start out by saying is it okay we're gay we understand, there might be some people in the community who are not comfortable with that we said we're here to, express our solidarity and now we've been there every, single, week.
Now. Three weeks ago. Well, actually after the Muslim ban was passed we went back with 180, good. Jewish number red roses to hand out the week after the Supreme Court decision which I guess is the end of June so, at the very end of June we did that and a. Young man came up to me and he said he knew we were gonna be here it was the week after that Supreme, Court decision and he, had in his hand a bundle, of sunflowers. To, give to all of us and we, had this bundle of roses, to give to him so. He, took he, took the rose from us and then he sent us. A photograph later that day where he went home and his wife took one of the roses, and one, of the sunflowers, and has it has, them on their mantelpiece with, their, family. Photographs, to. Always remember, the. Other story. Breaking. The narratives, of hate is essential. Now, how what does this have to do of course with anti-semitism. It's. Kind of obvious but, let me get there, when. I was in college I went to Barnard College in, the late 70s, I. Dr. paula hymen was, a. Professor, of. Modern. European, history especially. France, was her. Did. I do something. I'm. Very bad with technology, so I don't know what I did. You. See what I did I don't know how I did what I did. So. Dr.. Paula Hyman, who. Has. Since can, you hear me okay, fine so dr. Paula Hyman. Professor. Of modern European. History and, specially. French history, had. A course that she offered at Columbia University, called Jews, and revolution. There. Were about us, 20 of us in the class, 19. Of the people in the class were Orthodox, Jews who, were taking, the class because of the first half of the sentence, Jews and I. Was the only one who is taking it because of the word end in, the middle of revenues, and revolution, those. Other 19, kids in the class were really, just uninterested. In the topic, so, they kind of sat there we didn't have laptops, then of course but they just sat there taking, notes and I had a one-on-one. Seminar. With Paula Hyman, about, the relationship, of Jews and revolution, and, her, basic, thesis which, I'll is easy enough to explain, going, through all, of, the, European revolutions. From. The middle. Of the from, going from the 18th. Century through the 19th century and the early 20th century ending, with the Russian Revolution there's. One feature that you can find in all of them the. Revolutionaries. Accused. The reactionaries. Of being all Jewish and the, reactionaries. Accused the revolutionaries. Of being Jewish, it's. There, are differences, in each of the revolutions, how it happens who would but but, that theme is throughout the. Power which we've heard from today about both, sides of, reaction. Or so or in some it's not even capitalism, in some of these situations, Czarist. Russia had, both, sides, declaring. That the Jews were can. You hear me without. Is. It better with this okay, so both sides and all of these revolutions, and again simplifying, for this sheepdog a whole seminar I got a incredible. One-on-one seminar both sides and all of these European revolutions, accuse. The, those. Responsible. For the other site to be juice, happens. Over and over again we've. Talked a lot about language I personally, like the word Jew hatred I feel. Like it gets right to what has happened throughout history without. Masking. It with with. I appreciate, the word anti-semitism, I think it's complicated and I think what we've experienced, throughout history is a hatred of Jews, the. Texture, of it has changed the places, of it is changed, the. Goals. Have changed and of. Course what hasn't been mentioned today which many of us understand. Is the radical, change of twentieth century, and then. 20th. Century anti-semitism, Jew, hatred from earlier moves, from one of hating religion, to, racializing, it that. Transformation. Is what we're living with today that it's impossible for Jews to get out of being the object of. Hatred. In, the ways one could in for. Instance. Spain. And Portugal for, the for, the Inquisition. So. I grew up I was born in 1959. I grew, up in 1960s. Suburban. Jewish America. Let. Me paint a few facts. Or picture. From that time I went. To Hebrew school three, days a week at a conservative, synagogues, Hebrew, school and pretty. Much we were told in every possible way all, the time the reason to be Jewish, was, because of the Holocaust and the State of Israel and then by the late 60s, we added on the oppression, of Jews in the former Soviet Union so maybe, a three maybe, it was a became, a three pronged chair.
But For most of my life as a kid it, was all about the Holocaust, and the State of Israel. Not. A big surprise that for, many of us of my generation, we. Got sick of hearing about the how applause we. Got sick, of the right-wing manipulating. The Holocaust, for what became almost crass, political. Agendas. It. Became, an industry, that, for many of us and I think for many in the room today we remember those times where we, just felt like oh my, god don't tell me to be Jewish again because of Auschwitz, you know that's not don't tell me again and we, started, to smell that there was a right-wing agenda. To. That focus, I. Don't. Think it's a big surprise to us and a, very famous. Holocaust. Scholar had a great line some of you might remember there's, no business like show a business, you. Know that there was a whole industry that was benefiting. From the. Shoah in a the Holocaust the Hebrew word for the Holocaust in a way that was, cynical. Maybe or manipulative, and it. Was covering. Over the. Real, problem. In American, Jewish life which was that an American, Jewish life was. Insipid. It, was empty it. Lacked content, exactly. What you were talking about for even from your perspective, there, was no reason, for people to feel positively. About Jewish, unless. You could say you're doing you have to be Jewish because of the anti-semites. I, think. That's an experience a lot of us felt in the 60s, and in the 70s and some of us even remember in the 60s there. Was a whole student. Movement. That. Actually had a sit-in at a General Assembly gathering. In Boston. Demanding. The General Assembly which is the of the, American. Jewish Federations, that. They start funding, Jewish education in, America. So. That we could be educating, people why Judaism, is a good thing white why be Jewish what, does it mean to be Jewish it's the whole time of the hub Iran Shalom movement, and the Jewish catalog and that. Takeover, of the GA in the nineteen sixty-nine resulted. An organization, called cage Cohn. Africa. Coalition, for alternatives, and Jewish education which. Was, starting to say we need to have positive, reasons, to be Jewish not. Just responding. To anti-semitism. That. Was a transformation. In my lifetime and, it. Has been only somewhat, successful. You. Might know some of you might know the. Institute of. In. Barre Massachusetts what's. I called the Insight, Meditation Society. Does. Anybody know who the founders, of the really. One if one pointed, to the move, of Eastern, religious, practice, from. The east to, America, who are the three people most responsible for it are the founders of the Insight Meditation Society, what are their names. Jack. Kornfeld Sharon, Salzberg and Joseph, Goldstein, all. Three, Jews they. Met in an ashram, in India in, 1969. When, they were fleeing, their insipid, Jewish lives back in America, looking for meaning, they. Then ended up back in America and in 1975. Created, the Insight Meditation Society. Which, has transformed. The. Way we in America think about meditation, really. There have been others as well but those three and if, you I remember in that I remember in when, I lived in Northampton. Going to to, a conference, on meditation, and, yoga Eastern. Religions, and I looked up at the panel, and all, but, one of the speakers, were, born Jewish. That's. I'm not telling you stuff you don't necessarily know but. It's speaking to something that. Those who are advocating a constant, awareness of anti-semitism, were, at the same time neglecting. How. Do we build a meaningful, rich, Jewish, life, that's, rooted in values, and in, tradition, and in, spiritual. Depth. Judaism. Has often suffered, from this tension of universalism. Versus, particularism. And for, that reason we're often very confused. When. We experience anti-semitism. Or, Jew hatred and, Jews. Have. Historically. Historically. In the modern, period looked. To. Various. Forms of assimilation, to create meaning in their lives. In. 1896. This. Is well at. The same time that the first Zionist Congress was, founded, in Europe was the same year that the first one disc on furan stook place how. Are we going to escape and, the Semitism, in Eastern, Europe what was going to be the response, to anti-semitism. People. Had a few different responses, one was emigrate, to America, well. The well immigration, was open to Jews from Eastern Europe another. Response, was stay and fight the Czarist Russia. Anti-semitism. And, make it a more, just society the, Communists, and the Socialists, advocated.
That The, Zionists, advocated, Russia. Will never accept, us America. Will be anti-semitic also, we, need to we need our own place otherwise, we'll always experienced. Anti-semitism. So. They were all in some, ways responding. To the anti-semitism, of, Eastern, Europe trying to find a way out and we. Know for many who came to America that included, losing. Much, Jewish, depth, that. Assimilation, into, America, created. The drama, for so many of our of. Our families. So. There. Are some who say oh that another, great example of this tension between universal and particularism, who, created does everybody here know what Esperanto. Is the language Esperanto which, was to be the universal, language that would risk that if we could all speak one language we. Would all live in peace the problem was we couldn't communicate so. Let's have a universal. Language that we can all communicate, and there will won't be war anymore of course. It was an Eastern European Jew. A Yiddish. Speaking Jew who created Esperanto. Zaman. Off and his whole idea was that Esperanto is notice replaced. The world with particular, we, would no longer have our particular, languages. We, would have a universal. Language, this. I believe is a disease, at the core of Jewish, life that. Somehow, by, blending, in we. Will be safe. This. Has been a disease in all different times and places which I don't have time to go through the ways it comes out in different ways though, but, I'm saying, there's. One thing to talk about the anti-semitism, that, comes from outside, and the Jew hatred that comes from the outside which. Has historically, existed in different ways and in different strengths. Obviously. But. We have to ask other, questions I think which is when. Have Jewish communities, been strong. In their resistance, to that to hatred and anti-semitism, and, when. Have, they not. Been strong, by. Strong I don't mean physical, strength and, here's. Something I want to say to. Explore. A little bit what's I had mentioned in his introduction to me I. I. Embrace. Deep. Principles, of pacifism, as a, core part of my life as a Jew as an, American, as a woman, as a lesbian for, a lot of different reasons but a. Fundamental. Part of it is that pacifism, has taught me and my study, of Gandhian, theory. Has taught me that. Destroying. The enemy, will not solve any problem, that, we. Must in some way find, ways to be in contact, to be engaged, with to be in, conversation. With even. Those, with, whom we deeply. Disagree. Now. There will always be a core I believe of those who will be. You. Know you take your pick of which which, category, of hatred they will embody always. The, question is how large a fertile ground will, those ideas, of hate have. To take place how fertile. Will the ground be. So. This is where I know I have some disagreements. With some of my closest. Friends on the left and where, I find myself deeply, engaged and it has a lot, of, residents. For the issues of anti-semitism, I came. Out in 1977. In. 1977. There was not a single, rabbi, in America, there was not a single synagogue. In America, there was not a single Jewish, institution. In America, there was not a single National, Jewish organization. That said anything, positive about being gay not a single one the. Most positive thing that was armed a record, in Jewish life since the Book of Leviticus was. In, 1965. The, reform, movements, women's, organ. Passed a resolution calling. For the decriminalization, of, homosexuality, that was the best we had on record, when I came out. Now. I could, have at that point made, a lot of different choices about how to live my life. But. I along, with a lot of other, LGBT. People. Partly. Because we, couldn't divorce all of our families. Stayed. Engaged. Sometimes, with anger but. Stayed engaged when. I became rabbi, of cbst I took, it on as a professional. Lesbian, I went, out to synagogues, over. And over, again and I wanted, to go to the ones where, there were the most number. Of homophobes. Because. Guess what there. Is intense, power in showing. Up and then.
Challenging, People with a human being who says okay, tell me what you believe okay, I'm sitting right here you, know I can hear you I can hear you. Nothing. Replaces, a human. Being sitting down and saying and, I. Sometimes I would get angry sometimes, I would be able to be thoughtful and compassionate towards. Their homophobia. But. Nothing, replaces. Being. Engaged, with people we disagree, with we. Are creating, a world of. Silos. And, a. World in which people are afraid to be around people who bring up other ideas, and those other ideas are considered, Anathem. We can't even engage, with them. Here. It's a fear I have I, think. If Trump is impeached here's what I think is going to happen, the. Albright is going to blame the Jews, they're. Going to blame the Jews from the administration. Like the, economic, adviser and a, long list of Jews and his. Administration. Who have. Some. Have remained loyal, to him and some have not. And. I think it's very likely we could have a civil, war I know. Somebody said to me earlier today they believe we're currently having a civil, I don't mean this kind of Civil War because, guess who has. Millions. Of guns in, this country. Millions. Of guns. It's. Not us right. It's, we, have we're facing over when, we're talking about what role anti-semitism. Can, play, beautifully. Outlined by these panelists, today and it's really brilliant, but. I fear, we have some, really. Serious times, coming, and that, the relationships. That we build now, around. Cross. Through. All, these kinds of divisions make. A serious, difference and. The. Time is right, now. So. I. Spent. A lot of years. Rejecting. Anti-semitism, as an, active force in the world and not wanting to hear about it from those, who I believed we're manipulating it, for, a right-wing, agenda I. Spent. A lot of time seeing those. Voices. In Israel, who would insist, on any act. In, Israel. Would. Cast. Palestinians. As the new Nazis, and therefore, the response, had to be somehow. Different. Than the way the Jews responded, in Europe out, of this terrible fear I saw, Jews here in the United States, understanding. A fear about. Where. We were with, anti-semitism. That. Could advocate. For any number, of positions that I found really, despicable. It's. Not, unset, not dissimilar, I have to say from the, propaganda, we were exposed to in the 60s, and those of you who are a little older than me in the 50s about Russia many. Of us rejected, what the right-wing described, as Russia for so long because it just seemed like right-wing, propaganda. Until. We've started to listen to different kinds of voices. So. A few years ago I went with Randy, for the 70th anniversary of. The liberation of, Auschwitz I never. Wanted to go to a concentration, camp I never, wanted to go in, fact to, those places in Europe I felt. Like they'd be so. Manipulated. And used to, justify. Political. Viewpoints. I so, deeply. Abhorred, that. I couldn't, imagine there was a way to approach, something like a concentration. Camp without. An agenda that, I disliked. But. Because we Randy, had to go for. For. Work reasons I went with her and I. Have to say it's transformed. Me and has taught me something really, deep and. That's why I feel like I'm making up a little bit for my pooh-poohing, anti-semitism, and, Jew hatred and why I think it's good for me to be here thinking, about these issues today. You. Know just because right-wing. People, with whom I disagree, say some things doesn't mean they're all wrong. I, can. Reject, the. Weaponization. Of, things and I can reject, the. Making. Things into ammunition. But. Being there I. Realized. That I was contributing, to the, erasure, of my. People, by. Not being willing to be witness to their pain and. The. People who suffered, deserve. Something. From those of us who are alive to. Remember them to, honor them and then. To figure out what we're doing with our lives. So. I kind of made it a important. Part of my rabbinate since then to find a different way to teach about, the Holocaust, and to think about that those acts. That. Are so. Gruesomely. Full, of hatred in a different way I then. Discovered that since 1939. Our. Understanding. Our academic. And our spiritual. Understanding, of the of the Holocaust, has, really, changed, because. In 1989. With the Iron Curtain. Going. Away it's now possible to actually, for scholars, and us. To. Actually go to the places where Jews, lived and where. They were. Exterminated. Before. 1989, it was virtually, impossible or, it was very difficult to go those places mostly in Poland and in Eastern Europe and. I've learned a lot of things in the time since then both intellectually.
And Spiritually. We. Have to find a way to be able to own and. I. When I say we I say for those of us who identify on, the left, to. Own and to accept. And to honor those. Who have suffered because of Jew hatred anti-semitism. Or, whichever. Words kind of we use, we. Have to do it in a way that like yellow handprints, demanded, of us in that essay we do it for two reasons one we. Do it because of theology, God demands, of us we don't forget, on whose shoulders we have stood and, because. Who. We have who we are is so deeply, affected by that, but. We have to do it in a way that. Actually answers. The question that Elie Wiesel, asked, over and over again never again and. Elie Wiesel would say never again what. Never. Again what I certainly. Don't believe never, again only for my people this shouldn't happen I believe, never again means never, again for anybody, and what, then becomes, what's my responsibility, to, make sure that never again means for other people as well how. Can my experience. Of anti-semitism, and, Jew hatred translate. Into my doing something differently in the world but. Here's the other thing I really. Think, the. Most powerful response to anti-semitism, and, Jew. Hatred. Is. To be Jewish I. Really. Think ultimately for those of us who are Jews, to. Find a Judaism, and to live it that is, vibrant. And meaningful, and brings spirit. Into our lives and meaning to our lives and doesn't just say, I'm. Only Jewish because people hate me because. What we've discovered is whenever Jews have lived in countries in which we are not constantly, oppressed, like. The 70, years in the United States up until this current time where we don't know where we'll be. More. People, have left Judaism. Millions. Have left Judaism within within American, society. So. What I'm saying is that there has to be a a internal. And, by that I mean the Jewish people have to do some internal work. About. Where what we're doing it created, Judaism, that makes those, who are not suffering from anti-semitism, want, to remain Jewish and, then. Part of our living Judaism. Is exactly, what dub described, this morning and that's. What I've been trying to do at CB s T to. Say we will create, the, relationships. That will. Ultimately about, make it be making us safer, when. We push ourselves out. Of. Out. Of the comfort zone and into. A place where we're learning and being with another community and, it. Can be as simple as what started, with what we have which was showing. Up every. Friday at Juba with those with, those signs. Then. Got extended from that once a month after, every Friday night service, we've had a conversation, or, a class, or a lecture on some, aspect, of Islam and then. It developed, from that are becoming. Every. Night volunteers. At their Ramadan, iftar, at this particular, mosques, if they're and, after. That it became engaging. Them. The, people. From that current car nation and our congregation, we do up standard, training how, do we each stand up for each other on the subways of New York women women. Who wear scarves one, out of four in New York City in the last. However. Many months it is eighteen months since Trump's been elected. One out of four have experienced, harassment, or. Being shoved, on. The New York City subway platforms, since, the, election, that's. One out of four that's an unbeliever. York City. So. How do we train ourselves to, think actively. And empathetically. About, when. We're on the subway how do we reach out to people in the subway we imagine, might be more vulnerable than we are, what. Does, never again mean. If. It only means never again for us I reject. That. Last. Week there was an article in the paper. That described, a book being written about this, white. Supremacist. Who is the godson, of David Duke I don't know if anybody else saw this article. Is. The God set of David Duke his father is, white.
Supremacist. And very, active, in the movement he. Was raised that way and. He. Went, to I think University, of Florida, a few. Years ago when. He was on campus there he realized he was in the minority and, if anybody knew what his political identity. Was he was shunned so he stopped telling people, but. He made friends with an Orthodox, Jew on campus, who. Despite. Knowing that this guy was a white supremacist. Invited. Him to Shabbat dinner, week. After, week after, week. Amazing. This, is a white supremacist, we're not talking about a country-club. Anti-semite. Or racist. A white supremacist. Engaged. Him in conversations. And gauge him in conversations. Now. I'm not talking about a miracle conversion. But. What he describes, is that in meeting, and sitting. In these conversations. He. Started, to question some of the things he'd been taught he was raised this way right this was completely, his worldview it's not that he he, had no his family, were, raised him to be a white supremacist. And, this. Orthodox guy kept, going. After him so here here's. Somebody who's at work so, it challenges, me to think about my also, my my. Attitudes, and then. In course of these Shabbos dinners he met in fall fell in love with a Jewish woman well. That was really challenging, for him and she really. Pushed him hard and it's an amazing story. Needless. To say this, one has a happy ending he, rejects, the anti-semitism. The, white supremacy. And he, has now become, a public, speaker about, his. Youth, his. Family's. Rejection, of him now it's. A challenge, for all of us both. Inside, the Academy and in, our synagogue, communities, in our friendship. Groups. In our social, clubs how. Do we do exactly, what Doug said this morning engage, in the really difficult conversations. We. Are not gonna melt, by having hard conversations. And. We. Need support, and learning how to do them perhaps, but. I say, this also within our communities. And. I'll. End with this and then we'll open it up to conversation. I've. Been really aware that, in, our left, world that, I live in and, I'm proud of it's. Very difficult, as a Jew to be an anything. But a non Zionist, or an anti Zionist and, I identify, as a progressive, Zionist, and I refuse, to allow the right-wing. In the Zionist world, to steal that away from me and that's. What has that. That, has been the pressure that exists, on all of us who. Care about. Being. Pro-palestinian. Pro-israeli. And pro peace and justice, for everyone, how. To create a space where that conversation, is even possible. We. Will enter these times ahead of us with great challenges. Bearing. Witness. Remembering. That we have shoulders, on which we stand which are propelling, us knowing. That if we I believe this. Most deeply if we are alive, at this moment in human history. Which. As several, of the panelists, said there's very little optimism, on though from those speakers today but some amount of hope if. We're alive I believe. It's. Because each of us has a reason, to be here. Each. Of us has something to offer in. Our lives, that. Will change these narratives, of hate when. We talk about resisting. Anti-semitism, therefore. I see, it as these multiple, ways one I think. The most powerful way for a Jew to resist anti-semitism, is. To be more Jewish that doesn't mean be more orthodox by the way for those who don't know my language has, nothing to do with Orthodoxy has, to do with being. Deeply. Jewish and claiming. It and learning. About it and living it and secondly. Means, really. Engaging, with those around us with whom we might really disagree. And. From. For that I really learned from my partner Randi Weingarten who is constantly. Under attack from any number, of, kinds. Of people and I watch or stay engaged, through. Hard conversations. Sometimes. Screaming. And sometimes. Moving, places, along but there is no way we, will not achieve anything. By. Disengaging, with, those with whom we disagree I don't. Mean putting ourselves at physical risk, they're, obviously limits. And then. Thirdly I think. It means really building the sense the connections, with those, in the, most close circles. So. I'll tell I'll end with this story, when I was at RRC.
I Entered, the reconstructions, from binnacle College in 1985. When. The policy had just been passed saying. There would be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but. The school had no concept, of what do we mean to actually be a place of liberation. Or even. It's hard to imagine but RRC was not a very good place to be a gay person then and. What. I did is I created a, committee of six people three. Students, and three, faculty, and administration, who, I thought could, have influenced. Things and, I said let's meet for a year, without. A political agenda and. Without. Any publicity. And without the, pressure to create a program, let's. Meet for a year and I included, people who are anti-gay, people who are pro gay people didn't know what they thought and I, said let's talk, for a year in these private, conversations where, there's no. There's. No publicity. About it and we don't have to create a program. We've. To address this question what's, the obstacle. For. Our RC, to become a safe place, for LGBT sort. Lesbian. And gay students, and. Let's promise, that anything, can be said, nobody. Will be punished for saying things that are not politically, correct and. Let's see where we are at the end of the year. That. Model, I used at CBS T around Israel. I created the committee with six people on the committee that, ranged, from right-wing. Zionists, to, anti, Zionist and. I said to these six people I want. You to sit together for a year, don't, create a program, just. Be in conversation. How, can, we at cbst engage. Around issues of Israel and Palestine and not, destroy, each other. In. These environments. In which people are not, under. The pressure of publicity, or of creating, the perfect program or making and writing, state public statements, I believe. In the human spirit to actually move an agenda forward. And, it's not easy to do. But. Here's what I say be. Strong I have, hope, take courage in. These days of awe as a Jew I say I believe, the, heavens, are opened up to, all of us who are really exposing. Ourselves with, honesty, and with authenticity. And. Asking how can, we move the. World forward how. Can we be part of creating a world in. Which anti-semitism. Is, only. A historical, note and the. Possibilities. That Jews are part of the liberation, of all peoples is, what we what we expect of us so. Shabbat shalom everybody, and, let's, open it up for some questions.