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November 14, 2012 / Rabbi Laura

Sh’ma Smackdown – Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5773

Tonight is Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

Here in Fresno, California a group of 25 women from Temple Beth Israel gathered together to study Torah and midrash, recite Sh’ma while wearing tallitot (some for the first time!) and holding the Torah. We cherish our freedom to worship as Reform Jews, as women with equal access to all aspects of Jewish practice and observance.

At almost the exact moment that we were praying for the safety of our sisters in Jerusalem who were gathering at the Kotel as Women of the Wall, several individuals from amongst the Women of the Wall were being detained and arrested for the simple act of wearing a tallit.  They do not have the same freedom to pray as Jews in the Jewish homeland.

We stand with Rosh Chodesh groups and sisterhoods across the Reform Movement in the Women of Reform Judaism‘s Sh’ma Smackdown.

 Hear, O Israel. Hear our voices raised in prayer. Hear our voices declare that the God of Israel is our God. Hear our voices make known God’s message to the world. As long as there is breath in our lungs we will proclaim God’s name – out loud. We will not be silenced.

 Hear us, O Israel. Through our tears of anger and anguish, with joy and love for our people, despite our outrage and indignation, hear our voice.

 God says, “Cry with a full throat, do not hold back; let your voice resound like a shofar!”  (Isaiah 58:1)

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