The response to recent incidents of antisemitism has seen us take to the streets in marches two Sundays ago in NYC and this past Sunday here on Long Island. That we are marching against all forms of hate and bigotry is a very important part of our message, which is also offered by those of other faiths who stand and march with us.
Historically, Jews have lived through patterns of success, increasing vulnerability and oppression, if not outright persecution. That pattern is encapsulated in one short verse from this week’s Torah portion Shemot, the first in Exodus, “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph” (Ex. 1:8). Yet, in modern times, and especially here in the United States, that cycle has been broken. We are able to stand up against antisemitism and we do not stand alone. Our message that there is no place for bias and violence, is a value reinforced by this week’s Torah portion. We have examples of Moses rising to the defense of both Midianites (Ex. 2:16-19) as well as Hebrews.
There is only one Moses, but may all of us learn to act by his example.