Don’t Mess With My People

This morning, with everyone in my community milling around getting ready for the first Passover seder, I’m going to my local JCC (Jewish Community Center) to work out in the first time in forever. Why? Because I want to make a statement: Don’t mess with my people!

Yesterday’s news of the horrific shootings at the Kansas City JCC and Jewish assisted living facility nearby, leaves us breathless and disgusted. But sadly, not surprised. Video showed the suspect – the biggest loser of them all – sitting in the back of a police patrol car and shouting, “Heil Hitler.” We’ve seen people like him before. We hear about their hate crimes almost daily still, 69 years after WWII ended and their cowardly brain-washer killed himself.

In all, the gunman shot at five people, none of whom he’s believed to have known. He killed three. A grandfather and his grandson. A woman. Turns out they were not all Jewish. 

When I pull into the JCC parking lot, I will see the boy, his grandfather and that woman in my minds eye. When I pant, sweat, and feel like croaking on the elliptical, I will go even faster in fury, unable to keep the murderer out of my mind. When I leave my community center, I will smile and wish the employes who work there a peaceful and meaningful holiday, because even if this tragedy did not happen here, we know in our hearts it might as well have.

We can only begin to imagine what Passover (and Easter) will be like for the families who have been affected by these devastating losses. The traditional passover meal question asked by the youngest child around the table, “Why is this night different than all other nights?” takes on a whole other meaning in light of such immediate tragedy.

Tonight when we talk about the meaning of freedom, I will make sure to remind my kids to use their freedom of speech to speak up against hatred and intolerance.

speak up

 

 

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Permission to be Free

Seeking permission to shed a role

I somehow ended up with, despite it all.

Yearning for a sign from this life or beyond

Telling me I can and must and will in time

Courageously peel the mask, the scars and the skin

Away in favor of a splendid metamorphosis.

***

But perhaps the permission must come from within

If I listen close to the voice of my intuition

The one imprinted on every fiber of my core –

Not the voice of my mother, lover, or friend

But rather that of the woman I have become,

True to herself, fully, honestly, even brutally.

***

A writer once called out to her sisters near and far:

“To write is to try to understand…to repeat the unrepeatable,

to write is also to bless a life that has not been blessed.”

And I say: you draw, she acts, he dances, I write; together we shall sing:

I give myself permission to heed my calling and find true beauty,

Dedicating this one life of mine to the joy of being free.

Free

(Inspired from an African folk tale as told by Sara DeBeer)