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Twenty-First Century Questions

10/24/2019 01:20:19 PM


Dr. Jessica Meir took a spacewalk this week. She identifies as Jewish and has been up in space for a month. So, I’ve been wondering: How can you “walk” in space? More importantly, did she hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah? Did she fast on Yom Kippur? Did she circle her spacecraft seven times for Sukkot? And how does she know when Shabbat comes in without a sunset?

Dr. Meir shared that she brought up a picture drawn by Rona Ramon. The picture was of a phoenix, and Rona Ramon is the widow of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon who died in the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle tragedy. Dr. Meir’s mission, like a phoenix, has emerged from the ashes of the Columbia that disintegrated upon re-entry into our atmosphere.

The symbolism of the phoenix is one of rebirth. Christ is the symbol of individual rebirth for Christians. Judaism is a communal religion, so the rebirth we envision, and have been blessed to experience, is national. The State of Israel was not caused, to be clear, by the Shoah/Holocaust, but Israel did emerge in the aftermath of European Jewry being burned to ashes. Alas, there has also been a rebirth and resurgence of antisemitism, and this Shabbat we mark the anniversary of last year’s massacre at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.

More twenty-first century questions: Why do they still think that murdering us will further their agenda? How can we be experiencing antisemitism, yet again, from both the left and the right?  How should we respond to ignorance and hatred?

One response is to “Show Up For Shabbat.” Our non-Jewish allies will show up this Shabbat to synagogues and temples across the country to crowd out intolerance and violence with compassion and solidarity. Join us. Let the next question be how we finally killed the phoenix of antisemitism.

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784