OPINION: A message to the children on today’s craziness

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By RABBI SUSAN TALVE
Central Reform Congregation

I know that it looks bad. It is.

Seeing adults use hate speech and violence to get what they want is wrong. We taught you that it was wrong in kindergarten. It is still wrong.

I know that the messages coming through the media look confusing. They are.

What are the lines that separate an insurrection from a protest? Why are some calls for “revolution” good and others wrong? Sound bites from social media rarely allow for the kinds of nuanced and deeper conversations we need to have to know where to stand. Where are the lines between protecting free speech and censoring incitements that lead to violence?

DON’T GIVE UP
I know that some of you are ready to give up on our promise that the future still holds hope for you and your generation. Please don’t.

I believe that we are birthing something new and with all birth there is pain.

Think of our journey through the wilderness. We left slavery and oppression behind, but it took 40 years to come up with a plan to not carry the mistakes of the past with us. It took generations to make a plan that would make sure that we would leave the paradigms of masters and slaves, haves and have-nots, and privilege of some over others behind.

Our Torah is about reaching toward equity for all, about seeing the infinite worth of every individual and about giving us the toolbox to make a more just and compassionate world not just for some but for all. This must still be our guide. This must be our test for our leaders. This must be the criteria for where we stand and who we stand within this moment.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE
You are part of a people that rejects hate in any form.

You are part of a faith tradition that always cares for the most vulnerable.

You are part of a congregation that rejects the premises of White Supremacy and White Nationalism and embraces the movements that fight fascism in all its forms and affirm that Black lives must Matter.

You are part of a community of allies that include people of color, people who are Queer, people of all faiths and traditions and ideologies that are working together across divides to build a world where there is respect for our differences and at the same time less division and fewer disparities.

You are not alone, and you are not powerless.

SEARCH FOR TRUTH: LEARN
In the face of the hate we are experiencing, you can be kind.

In the face of the lies being told, you can search for the truth.

In the face of the mess we see around us, you can do your part to clean up your space.

And you can learn. Learning is our greatest tool.

  • Learn about democracy.
  • Learn about how the government is supposed to work. 
  • Learn about the past and how it might have lessons for today and tomorrow. 
  • Learn about your place in this unfolding story and add your voices.

We are listening. We love you. We will keep working for your future because we know you and you give us hope, too.

(Originally published in the Central Reform Congregation bulletin.)

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