Bob Gorelik

A Prayer

Now that the polls have closed, open our hearts.
Now that the election has ended, let this be a new beginning
Grant us equanimity to live with the legal outcomes and a hope for peaceful transitions.
We are tired, spent, anxious.
Remind us that our real hope lies in You, God.
And in Your call to treat every person knowing
They hold in themselves the Divine image.
May the winners and losers find the fortitude to accept
All the legal outcomes; may they reach across the aisle
To foster laws and policies that can best enable peace and health in every State of the Union.
May the next administration dedicate itself to policies
Of Peace and Understanding between all people
With no place for baseless hatred.
Help us join together as one nation,
Neither red nor blue, but American together
Dedicated to the promise of peace, liberty, and freedom
That is the founding promise of our nation.
Help we pray this election to pass without violence
And remind us that we are all brothers and sisters, children of Adam and Eve.
So may it be Your will
Amen.

A Prayer Read More »

George Floyd and the Healing of America

This is a re-post from chabad.org

Finally, I got myself to watch the video. And I saw something I had never seen before in a lifetime.

Slowly, coldly— “callously” does not do justice—not as a man kills an animal or even swats a fly, but as a man puts out a smoldering campfire before falling asleep, so a man snuffed out the soul of another human being.

There could be no more fatal error than this, to believe we are helpless before ourselves, that we are incapable of healing America’s wound.

A man in uniform, sworn to serve and protect.

And, for the life of me, I could not imagine this scene had the neck squeezed to the pavement not been that of a black man.

It became clear as the sunshine that to this man, this black man’s life was not a life at all.

==breathe==

We are all outraged. Is there any decent human being who has seen the video of George Floyd’s life being taken from him, who has heard his unanswered whispers for help, “I can’t breathe!” and is not outraged? It is not possible.

We are outraged because the very weight of authority tasked with protecting life was instead applied to crush the life force from a living human body.

We are outraged because a police officer assaulted more than one single man—he assaulted the spark of conscience that renders us all human.

We are outraged because, as George Floyd’s breath was robbed away, something essential to all of us was lost—the breath of the divine that renders every life sacred.

We are humanity, united by our divine image. We are America, guided by our ideals.

But, most painfully, we are outraged because this story of brutal indifference to human life, this preponderance of authority over our right to breathe, is not new, but one that perpetuates itself recursively, like a malicious virus that embeds itself into our cells, as though it belongs there, as though it is just another product of our DNA built in so that we can destroy ourselves.

And there could be no more fatal error than this, to believe we are helpless before ourselves, that we are incapable of uprooting racism for good.

==breathe==

America needs healing.

When there is a rift in a living body between one limb and the other, do not tell the limb it must heal itself; speak to the body that must pull itself back together.

So too, America can only heal herself by her people joining together as one, by learning to see one another as we have never seen one another before.

We all want to end the crime of human oppression, in all its many incarnations.

Bodily or psychological assault by an individual hired to serve and protect every one of us is only one of its sordid faces.

The pervasive degradation of human dignity through racism and stereotyping is another.

And then there is the fatal assault upon the divine image within each individual perpetrated by a criminal justice system that could be healing, educating, standing young lives back on their feet, granting human beings another chance, but instead perpetuates and intensifies the cycles of dehumanization, violence and crime.

It hurts. We scream. But how and to where do we channel that scream?

The right and the efficacy of civil protest is fundamental to American society. But we, the outraged, the pained, we must realize that wanton destruction is not a path to transformation, for one who destroys his world destroys himself. Smashing a store window, burning down city hall, wrecking a grandmother’s grocery store, or ruining the businesses that are central to all of our livelihoods cannot bring America lasting good.

Wrecking a grandmother’s grocery store, ruining the businesses that are central to our livelihoods—why are we burning down our own house?

But if violence is not the answer and peaceful demonstration seems nearly futile, if so many have lost their ability to see anyone who votes or thinks differently than themselves as fellow human beings entitled to their own perspectives, but as deadly enemies in a very un-civil war, is there any way left out of this?

==breathe==

You may have seen the video going around of the Rebbe speaking with Mayor David Dinkins in the aftermath of the Crown Heights riots of 1991. That’s the one in which the Rebbe insists that “the two sides are one side, one people, united by the management of one city.”

There is so much to be learned from those few, seemingly simple words. So much that those words can accomplish, because words create realities, and by changing the way we speak, we can change the world around us.

By learning to see one another as we have never seen one another before…getting past the dialectic of us and them.

As long as we continue to speak a dialectic of us and them, we perpetuate the divisions between us by perpetuating an illusion: That we are not one.

We can shift the paradigm.

We can transcend the illusion of us and them.

We can begin to see, begin to feel that this entity we call they is us. We are them. Which is really all that is meant by the motto inscribed upon our dollar bills, “E Pluribus Unum”— “Out of the many, one.”

We are one. We can recognize that we all share the same life-giving breath of the One Creator. And it is precisely out of the magnificence of our diversity that the image of the One who has no image is revealed.

==breathe==

We are humanity, united by our divine image. We are America, guided by our ideals.

Our diversity is not an obstruction to our unity, but a formula to be celebrated for the strength, the beauty and the wealth it gives us.

Our diversity is not an obstruction to our unity, but a formula to be celebrated for the strength, the beauty and the wealth it gives us.

Let’s speak that way. Act that way. Build that way. Let all around us hear and see and know where our heart lies. If we speak, think and act as one we can change the course of history forever for the better.

We are one. We must grieve together. We must build a new reality together.

Together.

==breathe. think. speak. build.==

By Tzvi Freeman

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