Solidarity Shabbat – Bringing Light Into Darkness
by David Cygielman, Moishe House Founder & CEO
As we made our way through the darkness of the horrific attack in Pittsburgh and other anti-Semitic incidents that have followed, we heard a consistent message from residents and Moishe House Without Walls hosts from around the world, “We want our homes to be a place for people to come together for community and grieving.” Through the grassroots leadership of residents, hosts and participants, we were quickly able to provide additional programmatic support to host 57 Solidarity Shabbat and Havdalah programs this past weekend. From Orange County to Boston to Vienna to Be’er Sheva and beyond, it was a real display of togetherness in a very divided world. In the wake of unthinkable acts, showing our commitment to Jewish life and providing spaces for their friends and neighbors to be together and find support felt like the only way to move from darkness to light.
We’d also like to express a special depth of gratitude to Moishe House Pittsburgh for opening their home in Squirrel Hill every night of the week to feed the souls of so many. We are deeply appreciative to our Board of Directors and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation for quickly underwriting the additional programming and materials.
Receiving messages and photos from throughout the world gave us a real look into being a united Jewish people. Here are just two of the thoughts that we received from Moishe House community builders creating Solidarity Shabbats:
“After the rough last week that we all just went through, it was so important now – more than ever – to #ShowUpForShabbat. I am so grateful that last night I was able to proudly put on my kippah and open up my apartment as a safe and positive space for all of my friends. The fact that we all came together last night is a blessing in-and-of-itself and is the reason why hate will never win.”
-Brandon, Moishe House New York City – Williamsburg Resident
“After the horrific attack this week, we (joined) together to bring light back into the world with Havdallah and discussion.”
-Jonah, Moishe House Without Walls Host in Philadelphia
The only way to get through these types of tragedies is by coming together and showing the world we are not going to let hatred and bigotry make us live in fear. We are committed to standing against anti-Semitism and hate wherever it is present and will always work to be a light during dark times.
Rabbi Brad Greenstein, Moishe House’s Senior Director of Jewish Learning, reminds us that, “Our Judaism demands of us to not accept the world as it is, instead we are mandated to pursue what we believe the world could be. Towards the end of every minyan, within the ‘Aleinu’ prayer, the words recited are ‘L’taken Olam B’Malchut Shaddai’…’Rebuild the World in the Image of the Divine.’ Our task is to wake up each morning and consider how we can build a community with more justice, wholeness, and peace.”