The prophet Isaiah’s words, “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami/ be comforted, be comforted, my people” will echo through synagogues throughout America this Shabbat, as we mourn, grieve, and perhaps begin to heal.
This has been a tough week. In some ways, everything has changed. In other ways, nothing has changed.
The violence fueled by mentally unstable men armed with assault rifles who follow ideologies of hate that has plagued our schools, our concerts, and other houses of worship with increasing frequency has hit home in a way that pierces our Jewish soul.
We have held one another, we have shown up in record numbers, and vowed to be stronger than any hate that we might face.
The barrage of support that we, the Jewish community, has experienced from others has been a testament to the human spirit.
For many of us, we continue to mourn (a dream, an ideal, lives lost…) even as we go about our daily lives. For some the Tree of Life is a call to action, for others it is a hard look at reality.
Last night, after a very long day of intense pastoral care, building bridges, and teaching, I found myself sitting in our Sanctuary at 9pm listening to Cantor Adesnik rehearse with the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra (ACSO) for their Sunday night concert. It is a hugely impressive set-up of close to eighty instruments that weave wind, brass, string and percussion. Cantor’s voice masterfully entwines and lifts up each note. The sounds reverberate from our Ner Tamid, the twelve tribes of our ark doors, and the menorahs that adorn our walls. It is magnificent.
But that is not what struck me.
What struck me was how much I needed to experience something so beautiful, so profound, that it could be called nothing short of sacred.
In those precious moments in our Sanctuary I felt something that I can only describe using words like ‘light’ and ‘love’, they were sublime, for I felt my spirits, raw and trampled, begin to heal.
“Nachamu, Nachamu Ami/ be comforted, be comforted, my people,” we are stronger than hate.
See you tomorrow night for Shabbat services. Come be with your people. Come to grieve, to soar, to heal.