This week’s Parashat Terumah is about the building the Mishkan, the Holy Sanctuary the people built so God could dwell amongst them.
How interesting to think about this Torah portion in light of the incident at Mount Carmel Cemetery. Acts of cowardice reflecting hatred and bigotry have been turned into sacred and holy work where a community has come together as a holy congregation building and re-consecrating this final resting place. The ugliness of desecration has been turned on its head creating the beauty of one community coming together supporting each other in a time of need. The law of unintended consequences or perhaps the Divine that lives in each of us has taken the act of thugs and transformed it into something remarkable. The outpourings of love by the people of greater Philadelphia have brought a profound sense of hope where despair might have otherwise prevailed. It is almost overwhelming. We have more volunteers wanting to assist in this sacred work of rebuilding than we have space available. Faith leaders, politicians, and just regular people have all come together as one.
Through the rebuilding of Mt. Carmel, Philadelphians are demonstrating a profound love for each other, putting those who would seek to divide us with hatred on notice. Whether the acts of depraved individuals or something more widespread, the forces of darkness have not triumphed over the light shining in our sacred community of Philadelphia. The outpouring of my community of my country heartens me. I am deeply grateful to live here in Philadelphia in these interesting times.
Hate has no home here. Together we Stand Against Hate.
Listen as Cantor Julia Cadrain of Central Synagogue (NYC) sings Sanctuary: