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Dan Shapiro @DanielBShapiro
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
This morning in synagogue, as so many chose to #ShowUpForShabbat the Torah portion we read was Hayyei Sarah (The Life of Sarah). In it, when Sarah dies and Abraham seeks a burial site for her, he calls himself a Ger Toshav, a resident alien among the Hittites. 1/10
But the Hittites say to him, "Hear us, you are the elect of God among us." They reject Abraham's removal of himself from among them. They are telling him he belongs. 2/10
That reminded me of the famous letter from President George Washington to the Jewish community of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790. Not the oft-quoted passage of how the US government "gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance", but the following words: 3/10
"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights..." ("Letter to the Jews of Newport", 18 August 1790) 4/10
President Washington meant that the Jews of the United States were not guests, were not "the other", were not a group that the majority had "to tolerate", were not resident aliens. He said they were an integral part of American society. 5/10
That is what we were, that is what we are today, & that is what we will continue to be, bringing meaning to Washington's words in the next passage, wherein he quotes the prophet Micah "that every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall make them afraid". 6/10
Even with the new vulnerability we feel after Pittsburgh, even with the new security measures, which inspire gratitude for those who protect us and sorrow that we need them, we will not run from anti-Semitism. We will not give the shooter and those like him that victory. 7/10
We are determined to strengthen our communities, to bring more Jews to synagogue, to educate our children in Torah and Jewish tradition and Jewish heritage, to deepen our connection with Israel. To be proud Jews and proud Americans. 8/10
We will confront the scourge of anti-Semitism together with our non-Jewish allies. We have many of them. Political leaders on the right and the left. Brave law enforcement officers who stand with us and protect us. Americans of every religion who took part in our mourning. 9/10
Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and Sikhs and many others joined this week with their Jewish neighbors to say in a loud and a clear voice: We will defeat hate, and we will defeat it with love, with hope, with unity, and with courage and resilience. 10/10
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