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CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM
31 October 2018
This is the verse of the first song of a "Healing Service of Solidarity" held at the synagogue here in Davis. I read about it on our NextDoor mailing to all in our neighborhood. It seemed such a little thing to do. I had to be there.
I almost didn't take my walker, since I felt I could deal with just a cane, but then I thought if, by some chance, the place was full, I could use it as a chair. My biggest fear was that few people would turn out,
The synagogue is close, easily walking distance, but we drove (Walt says that this month is the first month in our 53 years of marriage that we have NOT filled the gas tank because we have used the car so seldom!). It's a left turn across a busy street to turn into the parking lot and I was encouraged to see that there were so many cars trying to turn that the parking lot was filled.
[It did, however, make me sad to note that there was police protection in front of the building.]
There was a line to get into the building and once I entered the cavernous sanctuary, I could see it was filled. I found a spot against the wall and sat in my walker and watched a steady stream of people pouring through the door. By the time the service started, the walls were lined with standers, people were sitting on the floor and on the steps of the regular seats. People had brought their kids and teenagers came alone. It was heartening to know that the people of Davis were coming out in support of the Jewish community following the massacre in Pittsburgh.
It briefly flitted through my mind what it would be like if some crazed gunman decided to come shooting into this assembly.
The rabbi asked us to turn to someone near us and share what gave us hope. I told the minister standing next to me how much hope I found in the fact that the Pittsburgh Muslim community had immediately come to the aid and support of the synagogue, raising money and offering to stand guard at next week's prayer services.
The hour long service went on. They lighted 11 candles and read the names of those killed. There were readings, songs in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
It was all very moving and it felt right to be there together with Jews, Christians, and Muslims, all grieving for 11 people massacred at their prayers in a synagogue on the other side of the country.
At one point the rabbi asked those with ties to Pittsburgh to stand up, whether relative or friend or other. I stood up because my old boss/lifelong friend Fred Reif lives there -- and is also Jewish, an escapee from the Holocaust. He was never religious, but he was Jewish.
The hour ended with an exhortation to "keep on believing" -- keep on caring even when it breaks your heart.
We poured out of the synagogue. I saw very few people that I knew, but did run into a three or four.
Walt went to get the car while I sat in my recliner on the sidewalk and had a conversation with a lovely older man about how he never knew he was jewish until his grandmother told him on her deathbed.
When the car pulled up, I thought it was for me, but it was an Uber for him.
He drove off and the rabbi came by to thank me for attending the service, which I thought was very nice of him.
I came home feeling a little better. But I haven't watched the news yet, so I don't know what outrageous thing the president has done. I wanted to keep on believing in this life just a little longer.
Later, on Facebook, the rabbi wrote:
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #6786