Posted on January 13, 2023 by Dave Cohen
It is appropriate on this Martin Luther King Day Shabbat, that we read in parshat Sh’mot the story of how the Israelites became enslaved by the Egyptians, and how they started on their road to redemption.
As I read through the parashah I am struck by Pharoah’s attempt to enlist the Israelite midwives in thesubjugation of their own people. All too often this is the playbook of tyrants. The midwives, Shifrah and Puah, refuse to cooperate, sowing the seeds of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom, a first instance of the non-violent resistance Martin Luther King would later come to champion.
This past weekend, on my flight back from Santa Barbara, I watched a new movie, “Woman King”, starring Viola Davis, about an African community in the early 19 th century, taking their first steps in resisting the slave trade by refusing to collaborate with the slavers in victimizing their fellow Africans. It is a stirring, inspiring story, and so interesting that the protagonists, the individuals who spearhead the resistance are women in this story, too. True, it is an action flick, and the heroines are Amazonian warriors, but I believe their refusal to participate in the oppression of their people comes from a similar place – compassion and empathy for others.
This week, TBE’s Tikkun Olam coalition will be leading our Erev Shabbat worship. Please join us as we share the many ways in which TBE is bringing these very same values to bear on issues of today, from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to Welcoming Refugees, to Feeding and Housing those in need in our community, to studying solutions at the State level to problems of segregation, to protecting the planet for our children and their children. Please join us as we follow the common threads which connect our many initiatives to each other and to our tradition.
Chair, Green Team