For all who may have missed our monthly newsletter, please read this letter to our community that was included. I have updated it with some new information and details.
Suzanne Greenberg and the Board of Vashon Havurah
In my tenure as president, the number of times I have written to you, my community, with heart-wrenching news seems to be multiplying. Now, once more, we find ourselves in deep grief as a nation due to the horrendous murders of three African-Americans, George Floyd, Brionna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, at the hands of police and self proclaimed vigilantes.
As Jews, we are taught to stand up for justice everywhere and for everyone. As a people, we have been luckier living in this country than what we experienced elsewhere for most of our long history. Ashkenazi Jews have been accepted as "white" in the US since after WWII, and with that, we have enjoyed the privilege that white skin grants.
And yet, we know oppression, we remember in our DNA, in our stories, in our very souls what it feels like to be considered less than human, spit on, rounded up, killed for no other reason than being born into the Jewish bodies we inherited.
With that cellular and storied memory, we now must step forward and use our privilege to do all we can to end the dehumanizing legacy of White Supremacy.
How we do that is no easy task. It must be tackled in big and small ways in all parts of our lives. From interrupting racist and insensitive comments, to marching for Black Lives as allies, we can't be complacent when our fellow Americans are still living out the horrors we remember all too well.
I invite us as a congregation to keep this in the forefront of our minds, our discussions and our actions. Dismantling 400 plus years of Black oppression takes efforts in all levels of our lives, from re-examining ourselves and our privilege to working to elect new leaders who will not promote hatred and violence.
There are ways to get involved right here on Vashon. There is a group called Vashon Maury Island SURJ - Showing Up for Racial Justice. If you are interested in participating in that group, contact Havurah member Jessica Lisovsky.
If you'd like to work on electing new leadership for this broken country, Indivisible Vashon has a multitude of ways for you to get involved, including writing letters, texting voters, phone banking, or helping fund raise. Go to the website, or email me!
3. Support the leadership of Black women in Congress Call your House representative right now and demand that they co-sponsor and push for a vote on Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Barbara Lee, and Karen Bass’s resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and use of excessive force.
Lastly, as we enter Shabbat tomorrow night, please join the greater Vashon community for a silent candlelight vigil at 8:30 pm at the four corners. Liz Peterson, the organizer, wrote this:
"Silent Candlelight Vigil. Friday night. 8:30 pm. Uptown-Vashon. Let’s line the sidewalks. Six ft social distancing. Masks. Bring candles. Let’s stand together in silence and honor not only George Floyd, but all black lives taken because of racism. Candlelight vigils symbolize strong unity. Even though a vigil may seem simple, they’re a way to honor, invoke healing, and support during this time. Please join us. Please Share!” You can find the post at https://www.facebook.com/groups/273959550393901/
Taking action for social change is fundamental to our tradition. Tikkun Olam, or world repair, requires that we work to make this world a better place. The world is very broken right now. It needs all of us.
President of Vashon Havurah
The Havurah is proud to be an all-volunteer organization, maintained by the cooperative energy of its members. We are blessed with many hard-working folks. Here's our board:
President: Suzanne Greenberg Vice President: Meredith Cummings Clerk/Secretary: Alice Bloch Treasurer: Amy Greenberg Member at Large: Barry Grosskopf