חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ אַל־תַּעֲרֹץ וְאַל־תֵּחָת כִּי עִמְּךָ הֹ’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵךְ
“Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified or dismayed, for the Eternal God is with you. Wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We are asking you to stand. To stand and stand again.
We stood just days after October 7th, in Mel Lastman Square, with thousands of Torontonians from across the city. We stood against hatred and murder, we stood up for our wounded brothers and sisters in the moment of shock wishing that we could wake up from this terrible dream. We stood, nearly 15,000 in loss while the dead were still being counted and the kibbutzim, towns, and villages were still being retaken.
We stood again just this last weekend. At Christie Pitts Park, where 90 years ago in 1933 Canada faced its largest race riot. Where Jews and their allies fought Nazis for hours. The symbolism could not be missed. Supported by our allies today; Persian-Canadians in exile, Ukranian-Canadians, and people of good conscience, our Toronto Jewish community stood by the thousand to demand the safe release of our brothers and sisters taken hostage in Gaza.
We stood as a people just yesterday in Washington DC. Where 290,000 Jews of every denomination, identity, background, observance, and belief stood side by side in the largest gathering of Jews to ever occur in North America. Members of our Holy Blossom Temple community stood in attendance in thanks, standing in prayer, and standing up for our people.
And on Monday night, November 20th, we need you to stand again. This time to stand in gratitude with our allies, in their home. Timothy Eaton Memorial Church is opening its doors to us, to host an interfaith gathering between their community and ours. Along with the communities of Beth Tzedec Congregation and Grace Church on-the-hill, to stand against the darkness of antisemitism.
It is a hard and painful thing, at times, to take a stand. To stand up and be counted. To stand when we fear that we are alone.
But we are not alone. We know that there are good people who see us, who are with us, who know our grief, who sense our fear.
Who stand by our side.
What else can we do, even if we are tired, but rise once more?