—Rabbi Jonathan Malamy, Director of Meaningful Life

Good Morning Jewish Home Manhattan

Today is Thursday, June 11.

We do important work every day at The New Jewish Home. Today is no exception. Yet today we have some different important work to do together. First at noon and then again at two PM all available staff are invited to join in front of the building for a vigil in memory of George Floyd and in solidarity with the protest movement that has grown up in the aftermath of his murder on May 25th. We will stand together for the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that robbed  him of his life.

We will do so in the name of justice and as an expression of our values, as people and as an institution. As you know, The New Jewish Home holds seven core values and many of them will root our actions today. 

We Affirm Dignity, the dignity of each human being, the dignity denied to George Floyd.

We Embrace Diversity, the diversity that is a strength of our workplace and communities. In diversity we see beauty and opportunity and the very best of America.

We Respect One Another, honoring the truth of other’s experience even when we do not fully know or understand it.

We Increase Knowledge. By coming together with open ears, open minds, and open hearts.

And We Pursue Justice — not only calling out injustice and oppression but finding ways to stand together, and march forward, in pursuit of the better world that our many traditions demand, and that we and our children deserve.

In the classic 60s’ protest song “Blowing in the Wind,” Bob Dylan asked these questions:
How many times can a man look up, before he can see the sky?
How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry?
How many deaths will it take till we know, that too many people have died?

We will look up today and see the sky and work to ensure that all people can do the same. We will open our ears and listed to the cries of people of color. We will hear them, when our brother or sister tells us, “I can’t breathe.” And we will answer Dylan’s last question with clarity. We need no more deaths to know that far, far too many black and brown people have died.

Let us gather together at noon (wearing our masks) to affirm the truth of another song of the 1960s. We’ve been singing it a long time, and it’s still true. As Sam Cooke sang, A Change is Gonna Come.

A Change is Gonna Come (Cover by Brian & Thomas Owens) (by Sam Cooke)