First, thank you for participating in what was a sacred night at our Temple. Seeing our kids interact with our neighbors’ children and not being able to differentiate between them and us was magical. I sense a sermon in those holy moments.

Second, thank you for modeling the best of our shule and community in deed and warmth. You each made me so proud to be the rabbi of our Temple!

As we waited patiently outside for our guests to arrive, it turns out that sadness was unfolding again for them.

You see, three vans of guests were slated to join us for the evening. On the way here, one van full of families learned that they had relatives that were killed in the gas attack yesterday in Syria. According to strict Muslim law, when they hear of the death they become mourners and are to be sequestered to their home for 3 days. Since they heard on the way here, the vans turned around to take them home. This is the reason our guests were late.

I share this story to remind us all how close and personal this civil war in Syria is to our new friends, and now, by extension, each of us.

I pray that the days and years ahead pave a path of peace and welcoming to each of those smiling faces we saw tonight. One day, as they integrate fully into society and industry, I hope they can look back and say with pride that their Jewish “cousins” were friends and supporters that shone a lit on the path they took forward. I also hope tonight is the beginning of this holy work we do together. Onward!

Thank you all.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Kirshner

PS- check Facebook for pictures from tonight!


Posted by Temple Emanu-El of Closter, NJ on Thursday, April 6, 2017