In helfman, Our Virtual Mishkan

Repentance Bipartisanship and Growth

The words, “May Her Memory Be a Revolution” ring in my ears as we approach Yom Kippur.

While many have lived their whole lives under the watchful eye of the same Monarch here in Canada, I lived most of my life in a United States of America with a strong Jewish feminist on the bench.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg once addressed a congregation on the High Holy Days, saying, “The Jewish religion is an ethical religion. That is, we are taught to do right, to love mercy, do justice, not because there’s gonna be any reward in heaven or punishment in hell. We live righteously because that’s how people should live.”

As we approach Yom Kippur, I am worried about what is happening in the United States right now.

It used to be that shame was a great motivating factor.  I read an article recently about how in the modern day, Orthodox rabbis in Israel have used shame as a replacement for the ancient excommunication of herem.  When shame no longer compels people to change their actions, it means that a society has truly lost its power to hold together.

Yom Kippur ‘works’ for so many of us, because personal shame leads to personal repentance.  All the more so with public shame and repentance.

I hope this Yom Kippur that we reflect on what motivates us.  For some it is career success, or public acclaim.  For others it is family and a feeling of being loved.  And for most it is a combination of these things and many more.  I hope that we take these motivations and think about what it might mean to stretch towards them in a way that is a little bit more righteous.  For no reason, other than that is how we should be living.

Gmar Tov  – May we all have a good seal in the Book of Life.

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  • Joanne Bargman

    Thank you for these words. However, Judge Ginsburg was not a Millenial. Did she really say “gonna”?

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