I have just returned from Mt. Carmel Cemetery to provide presence and support to the volunteers who came here. I was moved, being with people honoring the past and affirming their identities.
As Americans and Jews, we arise with a sense of unity and rededication of purpose. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we stand arm in arm with all victims of hatred and domestic terrorism. Our values bring us together.
Although disturbing acts underlie this awakening of spirit, we need to focus on the good that has come from these cowardly and ugly actions. From ugliness comes beauty, from despair comes hope, from aloneness comes community, and from hatred comes love.
We stand together against hate.
Hate has no home here.
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:
An Anti-Semitic desecration of a cemetery has come to Philadelphia. As most already know, the Mt Carmel Cemetery was vandalized and between 75-100 headstones were toppled. This is an empty act of cowardice, hatred, and stupidity. But more important than the base acts of these thugs is the outpouring of love and support in our community. People joined at Mt. Carmel Cemetery to witness the vandalism and begin the process of restoration. A vigil was held last night in Narberth to express solidarity.
Hate has no home here.
Please donate what you can to aid in the restoration by clicking on this link to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia: https://www.jewishphilly.org/donate-now-mt-carmel-cemetery#.
Also, the Daarus Salaam Mosque in Tampa was burned this past Friday. Please make a donation to help the Islamic Society of New Tampa community rebuild as well by going to: https://www.launchgood.com/project/stand_with_new_tampa_muslims_against_hate#/
Together we stand, a bit shaken but unbowed, committed to the values of love and unity that make our country great. No acts of domestic terrorism or hatred will dampen our commitment to each other and the country we love.