May 28, 2020
As we approach the end of another week, which for many of us may seem not unlike last week, or the week before that, two tragic events must not be lost in the sameness of it all.
The brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement reminded us of the chasm that too often divides blacks and whites in policing. The pandemic has laid bare other examples of racial inequality in America, but this injustice we should recall too well from the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner on Staten Island, whose last words also were “I can’t breathe.”
And this past week, our country marked the grim milestone of one hundred thousand dead from the coronavirus, each one so much more than a number, but a parent or grandparent; a child, a grandchild, niece or nephew; a brother, sister, or cousin; an aunt, an uncle, a friend. In our own congregation, dozens have died, and dozens more members have lost loved ones.
Now it is for us, those who have been spared the most painful impact of this pandemic, to extend our arms and our hearts to all who need us, in our Temple family and in our wider human family; to find meaningful ways to demonstrate our gratitude to all those who have put their own well-being at risk to keep us safe; and to address the systemic inequities that constitute America’s longest plague.
– Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson