28/29 May 2021, 17/18 Sivan 5781

This past week or so we have reached out to our students, teens and children within FPS.

We know that social media is stoking the fire of the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis and their leaders. We know that some of our young people are being asked to comment, explain or even defend a situation they barely can understand themselves. LJ Netzer has offered supportive sessions, we used Ivriah time last Shabbat and Streetwise connected with CST offered a session for teenagers last night to attempt to unpack and find thoughtful language to navigate what is happening and the inevitable overflow into life here in schools and universities. I hope this is a time when LJ and us as a Liberal synagogue can respond and support.

Even we adults know the complexity of opinion and strong seated feelings about the matzo, the situation as Israelis often refer to the political moment.

This week’s Torah portion Be’halotecha captures a moment of dissent, argument, even prejudice between Moses and his siblings. They criticise him for his ‘Cushite wife’, commentaries are divided. Was this a reference to a new wife he took, or perhaps to Zipporah’s skin colour. Either way it is perceived as offensive and Miriam is punished. It gives much food for thought about difference, tolerance and acceptance. We’ll read this section on Shabbat. But it’s a good reminder of the damage words can do and the febrile and inflamed way one can hear them.

El Na Refa Na La, Moses pleads to God in the shortest verse in Torah. Heal her please.

These words gave me pause for thought this week.