Shabbat shalom -- on this #ShowUpForShabbat, this first Shabbat after the mass shooting at the Tree Of Life * Or L'Simcha Congregation last Shabbat. May their memories be a blessing, and blessed be the True Judge, as we say in Judaism. And refuah shlemah, full recovery, to those who were wounded and survived, in all senses.
Last Shabbat I was Election Judging at Early Voting here in Gaithersburg -- my spouse Julia's hometown, symbolized by the Forest Oak, which passed away in a storm in 1997 when they were 295. And I was wearing the pendant on the left -- one of my engagement gifts from my Julia, who gave it to me in April when she proposed. And as always, I was wearing it partly because that makes me feel safer -- safety being a feeling and fact that continues to be challenging for me, even with my privilege and location, especially as a visibly trans and queer person. As havdalah approached, a voter commented that it was especially appropriate that I was wearing a Tree Of Life on that particular day. Half-expecting what I would hear, I asked her why she sounded sad when she said that, and that’s how I found out about the shooting. Election Judges here are generally not allowed access to the internet while serving, and our workdays are usually at least twelve hours. For most of the rest of my service as an election judge, I wore the pendant on the right, as well as Tree Of Life earrings.
I’ve only been to Pittsburgh once, many years ago, but I did stay in Squirrel Hill, and my visit was part of a Jewish journey (not that the rest of my last forty-two years haven’t been). Here on Facebook and elsewhere, I’ve been learning about my other connections to Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. And about the racist shooting in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, that almost included a Black church. And of course the hateful attempted mail bombings, and oh so much more.
Tonight, tomorrow and always, may we find, create and share more shalom -- rest, cessation, peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. Schlepping towards tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, LGBTQI+, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice. Never forgetting that anti-Semitism has always been an inseparable part of white supremacy. ✡️🌳🔯