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Cantor Bromberg’s Remarks at POINT Thanksgiving Service, November 14, 2018Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, Poway

11/14/2018 06:04:13 PM



I am so grateful for the honor to address YOU – grateful for the effort each one of you went through to be here – from putting it on your calendar, to parking just a few minutes ago.  Grateful to POINT for organizing this event and to the Poway Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints for hosting us this evening.

As a representative of the Jewish community I was deeply touched and grateful for the love and support shown to us recently at our Poway Vigil service. Your presence strengthened us, helps us to bear our grief and inspires us to join together to fight against hate.

How do we fight against hate?  One way is by removing the veils of assumption and judgment that keep people separate from each other.  As Rabbi Hillel of the Mishnah stated - “Al Tifrosh Min HaTzibur” – Do Not Separate Yourself from the Community.

Rabbi Hillel and his rival, Rabbi Shammai, lived in the First Century C.E., during the time of Jesus’ life.  (I would not be surprised if they had known each other!).  Hillel and Shammai are famous for disagreeing vehemently on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!! However, the two rabbis were and remained friends their entire lives – because they ate together! The bond created by shared meals and the friendship of their two families allowed them to always keep the greater good of the community at heart  - while disagreeing on how it should be achieved!

Eating together.  Breaking bread, sharing the bounty of our homes and the work of our hands.  Those with whom we eat feel like family.  We can share food even if we do not share beliefs.

We can also teach and learn about each other’s beliefs – The best place to share them might be at the table. Judaism has a long tradition of learning at the table – we see our tables as altars, and consider mealtime study to be as holy as prayer.

Ner Tamid Synagogue recently invited members of the interfaith community to be our guests at a Community Shabbat Dinner. Some of you were able to join us (at very short notice!) for Friday night worship, followed by a delicious and lively Shabbat meal.  Your presence felt deeply precious to us.  The community felt more whole, somehow.  We at Ner Tamid will do this again.  I know Temple Adat Shalom has plans for similar events.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could replicate this in all our sacred communities?  What about the idea of matching up families from each house of worship into fellowships (In Hebrew we call them chavurot) who would take turns hosting each other for a meal?  I think we can brainstorm a number of ways to gather and share our food!  Jewish sacred meals both begin and end with blessings – a short blessing before, when we’re hungry and impatient, and a long blessing after – 4 paragraphs where we thank God for the food, for the land that produced it, for Jewish survival and for all the goodness God provides.  

I would like to close by teaching you a Jewish blessing.  This is our quintessential blessing of gratitude.

If you wish, I invite you to repeat after me.  Baruch. Ata. Adonai.  Eloheinu.  Melech. HaOlam.  She-heh. Chey-anu. V’ki. Manu.  V’hi.  Gi-yanu.  LaZman.  HaZeh.

Blessed Are You, The Presence Whose Sanctity Fills Our Lives, For Giving Us Life, Sustaining Us, and Bringing us to this Special Time and Season.

May we always be grateful for what we have, support each other in times of loss, share our abundance without fear, and know Your Great Love.  And let us say…..

Sun, July 21 2019 18 Tammuz 5779