Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
As you all gather around your Seder tables I hope that your years spent deepening your own knowledge and commitment to Judaism make the experience that much more meaningful.
May the Haggadah's story that immerses us in the historical memory of our people evoke a renewed consciousness of the place that our people have in human destiny. As you recite the words: Avadim Hayinu -- we were slaves, may you come to believe that our collective memory of the chains of slavery compells us to unshackle any in our own society who are bound by economic, medical, environmental and yes physical bonds so that we can one day celebrate Pesach knowing that all are truly free in this world.
Rabbi Ron Stern and the Social Justice Leadership Team
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Last night six members of the Social Justice Leadership Team (including Rabbi Stern) traveled to Boyle Heights to visit the Dolores Mission and meet with some of its members. Our journey was a mere 14 miles, and only took us twenty minutes (it’s true, everywhere in L.A. takes twenty minutes), but Boyle Heights probably seems very far for most of us.
When we arrived, we were taken on a tour of the church and school. We visited chapels, classrooms, a student-created vegetable garden, administrative offices, and living quarters for the fifty men who are temporary residents of the Mission. Each of the facilities is immaculately maintained, and immediately makes visitors feel welcome.
The Dolores Mission and school are surrounded by “projects”; however these are not the graffiti-covered, crumbling high-rises that you might be picturing. They are known as “casitas”, small townhouses whose manicured gardens and fresh paint reflect a strong pride of ownership.
At 7:30 our bilingual, bi-denominational meeting began. We began with prayers and ice-breaker activities, which allowed us to get to know each other. Everyone was warm and friendly, and it hardly felt like a first encounter.
Then it was down to business. We discussed our definitions of community, why we are proud of our communities, and the issues facing our communities. Through our discussion, it became evident that there are several connections between the Stephen S. Wise and Boyle Heights The discussion was honest, and people shared true concerns and hopes about their churches, synagogues, families, neighborhoods, and city. Each group is concerned about jobs, health care, and education. It turns out both groups also really like tamales. communities.
Our next step is to identify how our interdependent relationship will allow us to create positive change in our communities.