This weekend we celebrate Simchat Torah; we move from from Moses’ death in Deuteronomy into Bereshit, the birth of our world. In this story of creation we read “vayivra Elohim et ha-adam B’stalmo, B’tzelem Elohim bara otoh, zahar u’nekeiva bara otam. Vayivarech otam…” God created humankind in God’s image; male and female, God created them… God blessed them.
The significance of this text is palpable in today’s modern world. We face raging fires, flooding waters, flying bullets, hurtful words and lives lost without reason. We live in a world where our differences rather than our similarities are the focus. Yet, these few verses of Torah remind us that even though we look, think, feel and speak differently, we are all B’tzelem Elohim; we each carry within us a part of the divine.
It is fitting that ATL Pride falls upon the weekend we re-live our creation as human beings. We have an incredible chance to do something that is a central core of Reform Judaism, to take action, and raise our voice for justice and equality. It is apparent that those ostracized in our community are no longer solely determined according to race or religion. That we still face such persecution in a country, founded upon freedom and liberty for all, is an outrage. More infuriating is the hatred and rejection we face based upon who we choose to love, or what gender we identify with. The deepest parts of our human biology-the very parts which are blessed by God as God creates us- are now at stake.
The prophet Amos famously cries out “At such a time that the prudent man keeps silent, it is an evil time…. Seek good and not evil, that you may live, that God may truly be with you… hate evil and love God and establish justice upon your gates so that perhaps God may dwell with you, let justice well up like the waters, let righteousness burgeon forth like an unending stream.”
We must not be silent in the face of injustice and inequality. In order to bring God’s divine light into the world, we must raise our voice and let righteousness pour forth.
I will be marching with SOJURN Sunday morning, as a part of ATL’s Pride March, supporting the LGTBQ+ community. I will be marching in honor of my family and my friends. I will be marching for humanity because we are all created in the image of the divine regardless of our basic biology, color, race, religion, creed, gender, or sexuality.
Who will you be marching for?