Everyone has a calling, a purpose – to discover why we’re here, and then once discovered, the responsibility to move forward with this knowledge and go about doing what it is we’re supposed to do. When we can bridge the differences between us and we allow ourselves to appreciate each moment, we can find hope.  Our thoughts can guide us to a peaceful place when we are grateful for what we have. Gratitude can dispel fear.

We can recall special moments of gratitude when we rejoiced with bride and groom or dined and laughed with friends or sat together in rooms filled with strangers and shared inspirational music or theater, or lectures and afterwards, strangers greeted each other with smiles, even tears in our eyes and the good feelings brought us together.

How can we sustain those moments when the hard times weigh heavily on us? What changes can we make in ourselves when we’re bombarded with bad news? We can give ourselves a break. We can catch our breath and take a walk and think about our role in the world. Where are we during the highs and the lows?  As Jews, we deeply feel the horrific pain of our people whose lives have been lost or who are held hostage. There are too many who are blaming Jews for everything and who are bonding with each other over their mutual hatred of us. It has always been this way.

There were moments during the Passover Seder this week when we discussed and lingered over the historic struggles of our people. One of the wise children present at the table recalled our history of abuse. We sadly acknowledge that there have always been those who wish to eliminate us. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Jews

So, what can we do? We can come together, educate, and arm ourselves with moral strength, teach our children history and how to strengthen our connections to each other. We can continue to ask, “What are we grateful for?”  We can reach out to strangers wherever we are and make a point of connecting. For everything that brought us to this moment, we can claim our share of the good and the bad. As we have said and still say, “NEVER AGAIN,” we experience the repetition of our never-ending persecution.  If we can find things to be grateful for each day, we can overcome the fear that continues to haunt us. We can find strength and rise and live fully and make a difference and reach out to each other. “What are we grateful for?

I hold deep gratitude for my life and for the future of my children and their children. When I worry about the catastrophic tides of boundless antisemitism, I remind myself: I am here, now, grateful to be free… to be doing fulfilling work… to have enough – including the security of shelter and abundant love. Working for peace is a responsibility.

What are you grateful for? What are the stories we can share? How can we transform ourselves and each other to get past our own personal worries and pain? And then with hearts full of compassion, empathy, and a true sense of possibility, simply love our fellow man.

How can we come together and put aside our differences and work for lasting peace in our broken world? The questions can feel hopeless, but just like during the worst and most troubling times in history, we go back to those around us… our family and friends – our “everyday people” who sit together around the Seder table, remembering how we made it through frightening and troubling times in the past. And I pray we will make it through again.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-g4UWvcZn5U

Shabbat Shalom.

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