Rabbi's Update 5/16/2022
As you probably know, Joel Wasserman, the son of our members Lori and Robert Wasserman, has been living and working in Ukraine for the last four years or so. Right before the war he relocated from Kyiv to Lviv. He has been volunteering to help others who have relocated due to the war and has been interviewed often by Western media sources as an American who speaks both Ukrainian and Russian. This Shabbat morning Joel will be speaking to us from Lviv over Zoom. His talk will be in lieu of my sermon but so as not to disturb the flow of the service, he will speak right after it ends. I anticipate his talk will begin at around 11:15 or so. You can join us either in person at the shul or over Zoom for Joel’s talk, whether or not you have attended services beforehand.
This past weekend ten people were murdered in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The murderer drove 200 miles to target a supermarket in a predominantly African American neighborhood, and 11 of the 13 people he shot were African American.
The murderer livestreamed his killing spree on Twitch and a few days before his murderous rampage had posted a long screed detailing his plans and what motivated him. He is a believer in the “Great Replacement Theory” which holds that liberals, mostly Jews, are actively working to replace the White American native born electorate with brown skinned immigrants who can reliably be counted on to vote Democratic. This is the same ideology which motivated the tiki torch bearers who marched through the streets of Charlottesville chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” and the perpetrator of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh. For more on the antisemitic roots and nature of this theory which is promoted by mainstream media figures like Tucker Carlson, read this article which appeared about a month ago in the Forward. While we send our thoughts and prayers to those who were injured and to the families of those who were killed, thoughts and prayers are not enough. While I believe that Tucker Carlson and others have an absolute First Amendment right to share their theories, consumers also have an absolute right to boycott companies which advertise on his show.
As a reminder, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has established a Ukraine Emergency Fund to meet emergency humanitarian needs. You can find out more and donate here.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at email@example.com or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. Although I am working primarily from home, I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.
Rabbi Charles L. Arian