Dear Park Hill,
I feel a desperate need to say something impactful or do something meaningful for you, for any and every community touched by the prejudice and injustice of this moment. I feel angry, scared and impotent in the face of the narrow minded, cold-hearted forces of bigotry and hate. The best I can do right now is to remember what you did for me in another difficult moment.
It was a Sunday morning in October of 2018. The day before, a crazed madman entered the Tree of Life synagogue and massacred Jews who had chosen to observe their Sabbath in their community. On that Sunday when you showed up to observe your Sabbath, I was there for our community’s Sunday programming … feeling afraid, vulnerable and shaken.
Just like our shared spiritual ancestors do in our sacred stories, you simply showed up and said: Hineni, Here I am. You could not eliminate antisemitism from the world, you could not erase the vulnerability we felt at the moment, you could not make sense of the lives that were lost … and you did not try to do any of those things. You just showed up and said: Hineni, Here I am. There were words of comfort, gestures of support and silent embraces. They all simply communicated what I needed in the moment: to know that you were there standing with me and my community. And it meant everything.
Even though that is ‘all’ you did, I knew that you were (and still are) willing to partner with us to do the work that might eliminate hate, erase the vulnerability that originates from the fear of the other and create a world in which every life is precious.
In the midst of this pandemic, my community and I cannot physically show up so that you can feel the breath of our words of comfort from our lips, the warmth and connection of our touch or the power of our embrace … but do not doubt it for a moment — Hineni, We are are.
Hineni – We are here in this moment with you, without any grasp of the words to say that might change the world … but are eager to learn how to engage in that conversation.
Hineni – We are here in this moment with you, not knowing what exactly to do… but we are eager to roll up our collective sleeves and to go to work.
Hineni – We are here in this moment with you, even without understanding what fully showing up means. What we do know – with help from you – is that showing up means not trying to save you or fix it for you, but standing next to you because the things that scare you scare us; that your injustices are our injustices; that your peace is our peace.
Hineni – We are here.