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July 10, 2016 / Rabbi Laura

Hate is hate, no matter who it is against

As I sat home yesterday afternoon watching various live streams of the #blacklivesmatter march in Fresno that went on for 5 hours, 6 miles of marching, I had mixed emotions.

On the one hand, I felt a tremendous sense of guilt.  I should be out there marching with them.  Showing my support. Standing alongside my fellow clergy to hear the pain, to help keep the calm, to show my own outrage at the senseless death and discrimination we see in our country today.

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On the other hand, I was scared. Scared that what happened in Dallas would happen here in Fresno.  Those who love me most didn’t want me to put myself in the path of possible danger.

So, while not there in person, I was there in spirit.  I sat at home, obsessed, ceaselessly clicking back and forth between my Twitter feed, the live Facebook video streams, clicking through the TV channels to check which news stations were covering it live.

I took a brief break when my son and his girlfriend came over for a little bit.  We updated each other about what we had been hearing. We took a short respite for them to teach me how to hunt #Pokemon. We joked about how so many people in town were either out marching in protest or out hunting #Pokemon in their neighborhoods.  We laughed, and felt safe, and as if everything was normal.


It took me a long time to fall asleep last night. I was too worked up. Overwhelmed with emotions.

And this morning, I am realizing again why this is so gut wrenching for me.

Yes, Black Lives Do Matter.

Yes, All Lives Do Matter.

No one life is more important than any others, BUT…

NOW is the time for us to do the work to correct the wrongs being done to people of color, black and brown. Now is the time to look in the national mirror and see the victimizing and judging and profiling that exists, just because of the color of one’s skin. Now is the time to do the hard work of change!

I, as Jewish woman, am lucky. I can hide behind my whiteness. Yet, that wasn’t always true.  There was a time when Jews were also the targets of discrimination and hatred.  Perhaps if we had social media and hashtags then, we would have also said #Jewishlivesmatter.  We in the Jewish community are in a better, safer, more inclusive place these days. No, it’s not perfect. There is still anti-Semitism in this country.  Yet, for better or worse, we have achieved “whiteness” and hold “power” and empowerment in ways that we haven’t before.

How can we justify fighting against anti-Semitism and not fighting against racism and Islamophobia and other forms of marginalization, discrimination and hate?! Hate is hate is hate, no matter who it is against.

So today, I will walk.  Not march, but walk, with colleagues and friends from Faith in Community to hear people’s stories, to hear their pain, to offer support and consolation, to bear witness.  And God-willing, we will build bridges; we will give hope and love; we will find opportunities for reconciliation; we begin to find spaces of peace and safety, and make change.


One Comment

  1. Marilyn / Jul 10 2016 1:18 pm

    This is beautiful, Laura. But, you are correct, your loved ones do not want you in the path of danger.

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