To see beyond what it is and conceive of the world as it ought to be takes courage. In this week’s Torah portion, Sh’lach L’cha, Moses chooses twelve leaders to go into the Promised Land to see whether it is conquerable and inhabitable. Ten come back with negative reports. Only Joshua and Caleb have the courage to see the potential of success, and attempt to inspire courage in the rest of the Israelites (Numbers, chapters 13 &14).
In our country today, we are benefiting from the courage of those who see our nation’s positive potential and are working to make our world a better place. Next week is our LGBTQ Pride Shabbat Service. June has become synonymous with celebrations of LGBTQ pride, because of the courage of a group of protesters who made their voices heard back in June, 1969 in the Stonewall riots. Patrons of the Stonewall and other area lesbian and gay bars, fought back when police became violent. The riots are considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States. This week’s Supreme Court decision regarding the applicability of language in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was a victory in the fight that still goes on.
Courage has moved hundreds of thousands of people to march in the streets in cities across our country in the last few weeks to protest our nation’s foundational and systemic racism. As a result, awareness of pervasive police brutality against people of color has grown exponentially. In cities across the country we are seeing real change enacted through both budgeting and legislation.
Even if we can not join in these protests, there are things we can do to support the demand for equality and racial justice. This Thursday night the Anti-Racism Project is presenting a program for Temple Am Echad to educate us and address things we can do in the fight against racism. I know the program will be eye-opening, educational, and inspiring! Tzedek, tzedek tirdoff…”Justice, Justice shall you pursue…” (Deut. 16:20) Please find the courage to join us!