Newsletter Article - 03/22 -- Posted by hazzanmenes

Light and Compassion

Chanukah and Purim are those Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Torah. Purim is coming this month. In many ways, they are the most "fun" and are often associated with children's events. Of course, these holidays are as important for adults as they are for children. Both recount events - real or imagined - in which our tradition is preserved. Both recount events in which we were targeted for being Jewish. Both recount events in which we stood our ground as Jews, refusing to bow to an external power. We face that challenge even today and even here in North America: refusing to acquiesce to misconceptions and stereotypes that denigrate who we are. We refuse to be the scapegoats of white supremacists and we refuse to assume the stereotype of the victim.

One way in which we eschew the stereotypes is by maintaining our tradition while avoiding being enslaved to it. Throughout our history, our rabbis have found ways to observe the law even as technology has advanced. Part of that is the recognition that the literal interpretation of the Tanakh does not capture the full impact of the words, and part of it is the acceptance of the idea that humankind can, in fact, change. At Louis Brier, we champion those changes which include the equality of genders and the inclusion of those with disabilities. We honor our tradition by demonstrating that it thrives within the secular world and not separate from it.

Neither Chanukah nor Purim celebrate our relationship with the non-Jewish world. However, the way in which we demonstrate the strength of Judaism today is by our openness and willingness to embrace non-Jews with whom we live, work, and, yes, pray. What makes Louis Brier a Jewish home? It is the values that we maintain to provide care for all, Jewish or not.

We, at Louis Brier, have always championed the interfaith dialogue and worked to include in a meaningful way, all families regardless of their faith tradition. The real danger to Judaism is ignorance and secrecy, and we must fight those dangers with the light of knowledge and the warmth of our compassion.