Monday, November 12, 2012

Building Bridges of Understanding

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav taught: Kol ha'olam kulo gesher tzer me'od, v'ha'ikar, lo lefached clal. The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to fear at all.

How many of the decisions we make as individuals, as a community, as a nation, are driven by fear? Fear of speaking out? Fear of taking risks? Fear of that which is foreign? Fear of she or he who looks different from us?

Rabbi Nachman's teaching suggests that, like a narrow bridge, life's precariousness can cause us to act out of fear rather than on the basis of our highest human values. To avoid acting out of fear is not simply an important rule, he says; it is ha-ikar: the guiding principle for us humans to adopt as we cross that bridge. One way we can embrace that principle and live more courageously and fully is by building relationships that cross the racial, ethnic religious, political and cultural divides that are so often sources of fear.

For the year 5773 our annual theme will focus on Building Bridges of Understanding between our community and other communities. These bridges will extent to to our interfaith partners, the greater Jewish community and Israel.

Rabbi Andrea London

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