Friday, April 20, 2007

Joy and Pain and Joy Again

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My rabbi was named #19 among the top 50 rabbis in America by "Newsweek." Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum was recognized as "...the senior rabbi of the world’s largest synagogue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews."

I discovered this wonderful news while looking for more information on terrible news. My rabbis sent this to us this afternoon by e-mail.

E-mail from Our Rabbis

Dear CBST members:

As some of you might have heard by now, there has been an anti-gay bombing this morning in Bet Shemesh (2 miles outside of Jerusalem) in which one person was injured. The primary purpose of this bomb is clear - to intimidate and silence the GLBT community in Israel. The anti-gay religious rhetoric has led to this and other outrageous acts of violence against our community. CBST stands proudly in support of JOH (Jerusalem Open House - the GLBT Center in Jerusalem). Jerusalem belongs to all of us.

Join us tonight at the Yom Ha'atsma'ut Shabbat services (Chelsea Location) to hear from Noa Sattath, JOH executive director about the current situation. We are grateful that a group from Jerusalem is here in NY this week with us. In these days between Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and Israel Independence Day it is a tragedy that Jews would resort to violence to try and silence others. For details about tonight's service, visit

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum and Rabbi Ayelet Cohen

To follow the news:

Blacksburg and Metro-Jerusalem

As Shabbat approaches on this first beautiful day of spring so far, I've been thinking about the student who killed so many, so tragically at Virginia Tech earlier this week and how silent I've been about it. And then I'm thinking about this bomb, probably created by the most extremely fanatical of my own people, and I am struck by how much less remote it feels, even though it happened on the grounds of a monastery near Jerusalem, so much farther away from my home than Virginia.

The bomb was anti-gay in origin, it is believed so far, and my negative imagination is much more so captured, thinking of the hatred behind the act, and by whom it was likely carried out than it is by the adolescent soul in Virginia, who needed help, perhaps, for mental illness.

On Shabbat, we're supposed to be joyful. I'll focus on Rabbi Kleinbaum's recognition.

How do you restore joy when joy is called for?

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