• Rabbi Anthony Knopf

From the Desk - Anti-Racism

Shalom Friends,


I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well.


In the world at large, there is so much to be concerned about. We remind everyone to please continue to observe social distancing during this process of deconfinement. We are also distressed by the violence taking place across the world. I recall the visits of members of the police force to our community on a number of occasions, and in particular for last year's Rise Together Project when we expressed our appreciation to them. Our thoughts are with all members of the police force who work so hard to protect us and our society.


Anti-Racism


At the same time, we continue to deplore any racism in our society and our communities. It has been said that it is not enough to be a non-racist - we must all be anti-racist. It's not always easy to protest against friends or family members who may sometimes make statements which denigrate people from certain ethnic or religious backgrounds. Here is some guidance, adapted from various online suggestions, as to how we can effectively protest against racism:

  • It's hard to talk about these topics with the people we love.

  • Don't expect to change anyone's mind.

  • Do your reading and watching and prepare to respond to counterclaims, but respond gracefully.

  • Challenge them to think about who, when, and where their beliefs came from.

  • Call people out for not listening or talking over you, but hold space for their fears and anxieties. Anger and frustration is certainly justified now, but patience, compassion and level-headed, factually-based conversation is more likely to persuade.


Over the school vacation, I plan to make use of some of these great resources on racism from PJ Library to teach my kids these important lessons. If you have children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, these are highly recommended!


Beth Ora Activities


It was wonderful to be joined on Sunday evening by a nice group of Beth Ora members who came to hear guest speaker Rabbi Dr. Jason Weiner address the interesting topic of how to understand the value of prayer when the patient doesn't recover.


This period has been one in which we have established bonds with people of different communities, locally and throughout the world. I am delighted that the Mizrachi movement has facilitated a connection between Congregation Beth Ora and the Shai Agnon synagogue in Jerusalem. We will be planning a number of get-togethers with members of this community. In the meantime, you are invited to join the Shai Agnon community tomorrow on Zoom for their Mincha service at 12:35 PM by clicking here.


We are continuing to work hard in planning all sorts of activities for the community. In particular, we are beginning a Pre-Shabbat Inspiration program on Fridays from 12:00 - 12:15 PM. I will be presenting some beautiful insights into the week's Torah reading. I know that there are some members who are not easily able to access our Zoom meetings through the internet. Thankfully, it is possible to access the sessions by calling a local telephone number. If you or someone you know is not comfortable using the internet, you can access our sessions through the phone. On Friday, you can reach us at 12:00 PM by dialing 438-809-7799. When it asks you for the ID number, please enter 854 7536 5305 #.


We are also excited to announce our Beth Ora Bingo Night which will be on Thursday, June 25th at 8:00 PM! If you would like bingo cards to be delivered to you for this event, please send an email to info@bethora.org with the number of cards required, including your full address. Alternatively, you can email to let us know that you will pick up the cards from Beth Ora next Tuesday (June 23rd) between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. As there is no charge for this event, we welcome any donation.


We are closely monitoring the government's plans for reopening of religious institutions and hope that we will soon be permitted to resume services.


Wishing you all of the best,


Rabbi Anthony Knopf

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