Dear Friends,

To learn of a Jewish cemetery being badly desecrated in St. Louis, and then to learn that numerous Jewish Community Centers received bomb threats earlier in the week is both upsetting and infuriating.

Yes, anti-Semitism has made its way out of the closet, and some of us surely view the present time as one where too many people are giving expression to the ugly part of themselves. While some blame President Trump for his perceived tone of intolerance and bigotry, I believe that such negative and intolerant sentiments as we hear expressed today have always been inherent to our American society.

Americans claim to be a religious people. But religious faith without moral practice is shallow if not empty, just as ritualistic practice without acts of loving-kindness and the pursuit of justice is meaningless. All of our respective faiths claim to base themselves on the so-called Golden Rule: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But it seems that we have far to go before that ideal is realized.

Still we hold on to our vision of a tolerant, respectful and accepting society. Today, as much as at any time, we need to remember that we are all “strangers” whose ancestors came to this land in search of opportunity and righteousness. Still this is a land of opportunity; but we have yet to become a righteous society where people are respected because of all that we share, rather than resented for our differences.

Yes, as a Jew, I feel that this is a trying time, not only for Jews, but for all Americans of good-will and worthy visions. We Americans are surely capable of being better than we have been of late.

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg