During Pesach we are reminded that even in our greatest joy, our liberation from Egypt, we are to lessen our joy because of the death of the Egyptians. Hatred is not a part of what it means to be Jewish. Throughout the story of Pesach and today, we are taught to do what is necessary for freedom and equality, but never to let hatred overtake us.
Over the course of the past several weeks, we as a congregation have joined an inspired effort to protect our fellow citizens against hate crimes. As one of five states in the country without hate crimes legislation, the Temple Emanu-El Board of Directors believed it was time for Temple Emanu-El to take a stand for progress and equality in Georgia. We joined the efforts of the Anti-Defamation League and the Religious Action Center’s Georgia affiliate, Tzedek Georgia, to make a change. We had high hopes for this legislative session. Though we did not have a legislative victory, we made progress.
The bills proposed against hate crimes made it further this session than in any other year. The progress we made was directly because of your efforts. As a clergy team, we are proud of the stance our congregation has taken to ensure that Georgia is safer for all its inhabitants. As we learn from our successes and failures this year, we know that there is much more work to be done.