As we start thinking about Passover we encounter the Egyptian saga of our ancient forbears: their suffering under Pharaoh, liberation, desert wanderings, reception of Torah and ultimate transformation into a nation and a people. All was fraught with endless and complex difficulty: freedom, justice, safety, courage, fortitude—elusive then and elusive as well in the frighteningly unpredictable world of 2019. Each one of us is aware of the increase in anti-Semitism and the facts of our post-Pittsburgh era. We are realizing that our ancestors’ problems so many millennia ago were somewhat prophetic of our own: climate worries even more harsh than 40 years in the desert, and global in their scope; security issues—both local and all over Mother Earth—more daunting even than anything Moses ever experienced.

Temple Emeth and our sister institutions are all responding carefully and energetically to new truths. Amidst times as puzzling as Brexit, it is however crucial that we retain not only vigilance but perspectives underscoring blessing and opportunity. To state the obvious:

  1. 85 percent of our people live either in the United States or Israel (and we are of course profoundly concerned for our European co-religionists and the threats they face).
  2. Yes, Israel has enemies from within and without—often perpetuating atrocities numbing in their cruelty. However, she is and remains the mightiest armed force in the Middle East—and one of the most powerful worldwide. This is not to mention her astonishing accomplishments.
  3. Oddly enough, despite every “hate crime” documented against us, and a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement encompassing both the left and the right (against which potential congressional legislation has been suggested), a recent Pew survey indicates Jews are the most admired ethnic group in the United States. Assuming my information is correct, we are less than 3 percent of the population, but make up 10 percent of the United States Senate, some 8 percent of the House and 33 percent of the Supreme Court. As far as our percentage of Nobel prizes in every field of human endeavor, the numbers are so staggering as to challenge credibility—but they are real!
Rabbi Turetz – portrait photoc
Rabbi Turetz (Courtesy photo)

On an upbeat note, Temple Emeth is cultivating a new generation of members who, together with the enthusiasm of our wonderful cadre of officers, are reaching out in creative fashion to significantly enlarge all components of our affiliates, including particularly (but not exclusively) young families, singles and committed interfaith couples and the widest variety of interested parties of all ages and persuasions. Our clergy, educational and office staff are all concentrating on the future embodied in these efforts.

Thus, as we continue through 2019 with open eyes, we insist on retaining that which enabled the ultimate conquest of the Promised Land: Hatikvah – Hopeful Hearts.

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