Jews need one another, and therefore congregations, to do primary religious acts that they should not, and probably cannot, do alone. Doing primary religious acts is the only way we have of growing as Jews. Consequently, it is also the only justification for the existence of a congregation.
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
Bolton Street Synagogue is an open Jewish community rooted in tradition. We are dedicated to fostering Jewish culture, learning, spirituality and social action in a participatory and intimate environment.
Kindness, equality, inclusion, and a belief in the intrinsic worth of every human being are core elements of the Bolton Street culture. Whether you live in Baltimore or are just visiting this great American city, we invite you to visit us. Peruse our website. Come to a class, service or a social event. Chances are you’ll be happy you did.
Thoughts About Charlottesville from Rabbi Gordon
For millennia, Jewish tradition has taught of the dangers of hatred and violence. The rabbis explained clearly that the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed because of baseless hatred. We learn that when one group hates another without cause, it can lead to the destruction of societal cohesion.
In recent days, we’ve watched the breakdown of our own society. Who would think that the actions perpetuated by white supremacists in Charlottesville could occur in the year 2017? We watched in horror as Neo-Nazis and Fear Mongers marched openly carrying torches and machine guns. We heard the news about the young woman murdered in a terrorist attack and read the accounts of those in the local Jewish community who feared for their safety. Racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are still very much alive in our day. Like the rabbis of old, we cannot stand idly by as hatred and violence occurs in our midst. We must join together with the broader community to seek out justice and love.
- The Reform Movement and the Religious Action Center put out statements over the last few days about the terrible violence that occurred this weekend. I urge you to read more here and here. And a very brave synagogue president of the Charlottesville synagogue shared his thoughts about how his community dealt with the devastation.
- In a few weeks many will gather in Washington, DC for the 1,000 Minister March on Washington. I alongside a few in our congregation will be travelling down to Washington to join together with the Jewish community and our interfaith allies (it’s not just for rabbis!). If you’d like to caravan down with us and join us for the March, please contact Hope Ratner. To learn more and to register go to the Religious Action Center.
- Join the Reform Movement in sharing photos on social media with the hashtag #BeTheLightForJustice. It might be a small act, but it does have the potential to ease our pain. Please share a picture of yourself holding a candle to help spread the light.
- Finally, please consider to make a donation of tzedakah. There are a plethora of Jewish organizations including the Religious Action Center, the ADL, T’ruah, or others who work deeply with the Interfaith Community to combat racism, hatred, and anti-Semitism. Our donations can help begin to build a world of wholeness and peace.
Soon Elul will be upon us. The month prior to the High Holy Days begins the process of looking inwards and seeking the change of behavior we wish for ourselves in the year ahead. May these days of Elul help us and our country begin to turn towards t’shuvah, towards renewal and transformative change.
Rabbi Andy Gordon