As we enter the Thanksgiving weekend, I imagine many of your hearts are feeling torn with the national events this past week, as is mine. Even as our kitchens smell delicious with breads and turkeys and pies; even as our families are en route to joining us, or we them, to celebrate the holiday together; even as we gather in our warm homes on this snowy and damp day; many in our world are not in such a place of peace and comfort.
I hope and pray over this Thanksgiving week, we are able to take a few moments to truly offer words of thanksgiving for all that we do have in life: for food and housing, for family and friends, for peace and security. I hope and pray as well that we take a few moments this week to pray for equality of all people in a land that was established to be the home of the free and brave, a land intended for freedoms of all kinds for all people.
As I shared with our religious school students yesterday, as Jews, we have an obligation to care about those who are being mistreated in our lands, for we know all too well the shoes in which they walk. Though I was not personally witness to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, I am reminded once again that there is still work to be done - ours is far from a perfect world. As we gather this week, let us engage in conversation about what we might do to l'takein et ha-olam, to repair this world, even the slightest bit, even as we live comfortably in our communities. Our students suggested we remember never to judge people by our looks or where we live; that we must treat one another with honor and respect and dignity, always.
So yes, we have much to celebrate, but let us also take the time to be thankful and appreciative. May this be a week that fills our souls and hearts, and not just our stomachs. May we be sure to give back, even as we take, and shop, and eat. And may we pause at least for a moment, to say thank you to our God, who has given us great gifts, each and every day.
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, ha-tov shimcha u'lcha na-eh l'hodot.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God,
Your name is Goodness, and You are worthy of Thanksgiving.
Rabbi Debbie Bravo