Emanuel, God is With Us

Last night I dreamed of a sanctuary packed tight with Jewish people – religious and reform and culturally connected, some with tattoos and some covering their hair, some with long payis and some with partners of other faiths, some with family who’ve made aliyah and some who’ve divested from Israeli companies, united in mourning the loss of 9 African American community pillars in Charleston. The room in which we gathered had simple wooden walls, we stood in front of angular wooden benches, this shul had no police presence, no security guards, no video surveillance system buzzing in the background. We felt safe. On each person’s lips the words of the Mourners’ Kaddish, in each person’s mind the names of those killed at Emanuel AME Church this week by a white supremacist, and the memory of Denmark Vesey and the 34 other African slaves and former slaves affiliated with this same church, murdered two hundred years ago. In our collective memory, a contradiction, that of knowing the trauma of white supremacy and of knowing the privileges of white America. And it is this contradiction that sits in our hearts, that propelled us to stand for the Mourners’ Kaddish, to declare these murdered men and women our family, and to remain standing as the #blacklivesmatter movement and social media continue to force this country to look itself in the mirror, to see what so many have long refused to see. It is no longer enough to be sad. Our mourning must mark our solidarity. It starts with our standing up.

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1 Comment

Filed under interfaith relationships, Judaism

One response to “Emanuel, God is With Us

  1. Reblogged this on Wondering Black Girl Wandering and commented:
    I’m not wandering this month, but I’m wondering why I’m hated and feared. I have no sanctuary.

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