Whole-hearted Courage

Elan Shapiro’s greeting at the Martin Luther King Breakfast on Jan 14, 2017

Tikkun V’Or Congregation is honored to have this opportunity to share our commitment to creating beloved community with the amazing people and groups in this room and in this county.

As Jews, we have a history of being enslaved in Egypt, persecuted during centuries of diaspora, and subjected to genocide in the 20th century. This history fits together with a core commandment of our biblical and prophetic tradition — that we act in empathy and in solidarity, with an open house and an open heart, with all oppressed people.

At this moment, when nearly all the fragile gains that “we the people” have made towards a just society are at risk, we dedicate ourselves to a new level of solidarity in our social justice efforts.This new level that our times ask of us, will require much risk and sacrifice — and mutual vulnerability.

This terrifying moment is a call to courage, which is not only about overcoming fear to do what is needed, what is just, and what is right. The concept of courage, in its origins, is about wholeheartedness, about speaking our heart, and following our heart, an act that can unleash the light and the love that alone can help us overcome the darkness and danger we face.

Courage doesn’t come easily in the culture we live in. But we can learn it through practice, and through sharing our stories.  And when we practice, when we act together, it can become quite … contagious.

So perhaps, along with our New Years resolves to declutter or get fitter, we can intend to be more brave and creative in joyfully desegregating our lives. It could even be fun.

So I share this prayer with you today:  May we grow together from our brokenheartedness in these times to the wholeheartedness it will take to create beloved community, and ultimately, collective liberation. And may we take the risks we need to take to get there together.