Sunday, December 18, 2022

Love and Solidarity

On the Sabbath, two days before Hanukkah, someone sprayed words of hate about Jewish people on a school sign in Montgomery County. No, it’s not Howard County. But, when it comes to hate speech and antisemitism, it’s close enough to be worrisome, even frightening. There have been enough examples of violent acts against worshippers in synagogues around the country in recent years to take every ugly act of desecration seriously.

School officials said they found antisemitic graffiti in front of a Bethesda, Maryland, high school just after 8 a.m. Saturday.

Walt Whitman High School Principal Dr. Robert Dodd said in a letter to the community that the hateful words were seen on the Montgomery County school’s sign.

I don’t know what it is to feel the fear that incidents like this can cause for their targets. I do have a strong sense that those of us who are not targets must not remain silent. Our Jewish friends, neighbors, and coworkers should not have to wonder how we feel. We should make it clear that we support them against mockery, derision, and hate. 

But what does that mean, exactly? At the very least it is verbalizing care and concern. That’s a beginning. Something else we can do is learn more about the religion of Judaism and how its peoples are living throughout the world, also their history. I think many people think “they know” without having made more than a cursory effort to learn more. 

It’s an act of love and respect to make the time to learn something new, possibly out of one’s comfort zone. Thats when we discover that what was different is no longer “other”.

My response to yesterday’s awful news from Montgomery County was to set everything aside this morning and go looking for Hanukkah. This is how I did it. I went to Twitter and searched Hanukkah. I clicked the option that allows you to search “near you”. Most of the examples that came up were from Baltimore. Close enough.

A mouthwatering food photograph was shared by a non-Jewish husband who hopes please his Jewish in-laws with a coffee-braised brisket for tonight’s Hanukkah dinner. 

Someone else wishes her friends happy holidays with a photo of her feet in Hanukkah-themed socks, covered in a festive dreidel print. 

An article from Baltimore Magazine about a new addition to Baltimore’s 34th street lights display.

Image credit Grace Hebron, Baltimore Magazine

Baltimore woodwind musician Seth Kibel  promotes his recent appearance on Sirius XM Radio:

I got to be a guest DJ on SiriusXM!  Catch my special Hanukkah show, where I spin vintage and modern klezmer tunes, along with insightful commentary, and more than a few bad jokes!  Premiering this Sunday evening on The Bridge, Ch. 17.  Rerunning a whole lot after that.

Downtown Diane offer Hanukkah recipes the whole family will love. The Jewish Museum reminds you that Hanukkah is right around the corner and you can purchase all your supplies at their gift shop. Menorahs and dreidels 35 per cent off!

Also from the Jewish Museum of Maryland, a reminder of this event by Repair the World Baltimore:

Come find us at the 8th Annual Hanukkah BrewHaHa on December 20th from 6-9 pm at Union Craft Brewing! Celebrate the third night of Hanukkah with us by Burning Bright and Sharing Your Light!

Jewish Community Services encourages you to make a donation so that families are able to buy Hanukkah gifts for their children.

A reminder from two Baltimore synagogues that you must reigister in advance for their annual Hanukkah event.

Hanukkah Lights Up the Sky

Only one week left until the annual Beth El and Chizuk Amuno Congregations joint Hanukkah Lights Up the Sky event on December 19th. The evening will include a special live concert by the incredible acappella group, @Six13Sings.

I loved the description of the evening’s festivities included on the registration page , particularly their forethought in considering attendees who may be disabled or neurodivergent.

We'd like to offer a sensory friendly space for families who could use a quiet spot during the big Hanukkah event. You can find this area at Beth El in the Kolker Room.  

Are there any accommodations that would benefit you or your family to feel successful engaging in this program?  If so, please email  us.

Finally, here’s one from Columbia/HoCo: a menorah lighting on December 19th at the Harriet Tubman Center.

I wanted to peel away all the layers: Christmas, Holiday, Santa, Trees, Decorations, Shopping. I wanted to sit, for just a moment, in a place that centered Judaism. On social media that takes a bit of extra effort. But it’s doable. Looking, listening, and learning can begin as simply as this. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center offers some excellent information on their website:

 Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Resource Guide.

Here are the ten ways. Read the article to learn what they mean. 

1. Act

2. Join Forces

3. Support the Victims

4. Speak Up

5. Educate Yourself

6. Create An Alternative

7. Pressure Leaders

8. Stay Engaged

9. Teach Acceptance

10. Dig Deeper

Congressman Jamie Raskin responded to yesterday’s news with these words.

Sickened and horrified about another episode of antisemitic vandalism in our community, at Walt Whitman High School—on Shabbat and just before Hanukkah. Sending love and solidarity to Whitman students, families, faculty and staff. Hate won’t win in MoCo.

How will we show love and solidarity? How will we make sure that hate won’t win in HoCo?

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