Friday, September 21, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - September 21, 2007

It is Kol Nidre and here are my Shabbat Thoughts for the Shabbat of Shabbats.
The Upper West Side is Pricing Out its Jewish Flair…better move to Brooklyn FAST!
Blind Leading the Rest of Us (if you read one read this one)
Columbia is letting a bad guy speak…I don’t get the big deal, we all know he is bad.
Jena 6 - Injustice in the South? Never!

Over the past ten days I have been thinking. I have been trying to figure out who I needed to speak with to apologize for my actions and hurt feelings I caused this year. I have a list and I will take care of it before tonight, so if you are expecting one let me know.

We have been given these ten days to step back in order to reflect on the year that was and what we need to do better next time around. I realized that I really didn’t do anything for other people this year in ways that I have in the past. I am not on any community boards, I didn’t volunteer for very much in the Jewish world, and I only made a few small donations to worthy organizations.

I was reminded of this when at my Rosh Hashana services, our rabbi invited up for an Alyiah all people who volunteered this year. I really didn’t feel like I deserved this honor. Sure I worked for good causes and taught religious school for part of the year, but I got paid to do it. (You got to supplement you income in this City.) But this isn’t volunteerism.

I am young professional who is dedicated to the ideals of prophetic Judaism. As a committed Reform Jew I know that it is my duty to make the world better. If that is through donations or volunteer work or even professional pursuits then that is my obligation according to my traditions. But I can’t give away 10% of my income, not even close. But I can give more time.

In order for me to improve in this coming year, there needs to be more action and less talking. The clip in the previous post from the Colbert Report speaks to me in a way that I was unable to understand until this week.

Our generation has become a group of typing activists. Yes it is important to send emails to Congress and to join the “Don’t Tase Me, Bro!” Facebook group. But it doesn’t do anything; it doesn’t show solidarity. This week thousands rallied in Jena, LA and thousands will rally in NYC next week against Iran. But my guess is a much larger group believed that by joining the virtual protest and blogging about it they have been part of the solution.

The Internet is a place for learning not action. We need to stand up and walk. Abraham Joshua Heschel said that social action is a religious cause and that we can pray with our feet by marching against injustice. The Internet is a great tool for connecting to information and entertainment but it isn’t an answer and shouldn’t be treated as such.

As the gates of heaven begin to close during this Yamim Noraim we must remember we are judged by our actions not our intentions. Words are powerful, but only our actions can change the world.

G’mar Chatima Tovah and Shabbat Shalom

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