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unanticipated friends

03/09/2023 08:50:54 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

A few weeks ago we finished up a Purim shpiel rehearsal at Calvary Episcopal Church (If you would like to view “Estar Wars”, click here: I gathered my things and took the elevator down to the lobby. Exiting the elevator, I heard voices, and came upon a post-rehearsal conversation between Rector Jonathon Jensen and Associate Rector Neil Raman, both of Calvary Episcopal Church, Pastor Vincent Campbell of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Alan Hausman, President of Tree of Life Congregation.  Prior to that evening’s rehearsal, the clergy of the two churches had never met. I joined in the conversation. At one point, Rector Jensen asked me if I was already planning next year’s Purim shpiel, and I answered that I was thinking of creating a Woodstock Purim with music from that event. Without missing a beat, the Rector emotionally responded, “Oh God! Please don’t have any nudity!” And as we were laughing hysterically, the Associate Rector chimed in, “You know, we can burn incense.”  That just took it over the top. 

I share this funny moment with you because the Purim shpiel had brought together at that moment two Episcopal priests, a Baptist pastor, a synagogue president and a Rabbi.  The joke is not about all five walking into a bar, but rather, sharing a hilarious moment that deserved to be recorded, and is permanently stored in my brain.  This was magical, the chance to be together as five human beings, sharing good humor and each other’s company, shorn of all externals. It is an unanticipated positive outcome of 10.27, and it will not be a rarity. This is whom we have evolved to become, a faith community engaging with other faith communities for the betterment of everyone. It is not that we ignored communal engagement, but an infinite number of doors opened after 10.27, and the only response is to enter them and shake the hands that are extended in friendship and love.  The challenge is that there are so many doors, but it is a nice problem to have, despite the root cause.

Our commonalities grew our unity during that moment, and that was indeed a blessing to observe and grasp tightly.  It serves as a model for all of humanity that people of different faiths, colors and sexual orientations should be able to share an experience in joy. Humanity is capable of far better than we exhibit. This brief snapshot in time is proof. In this case, it took a book of the Bible to bring us together, but what has kept us together is far more. Our common desire to strengthen our bonds, forged as a result of 10.27, continually motivate us to work together to “build a more perfect union”.  It should not take a massacre in a synagogue to do this, but this is where we are at, and that is a very good place.  I’d like to think that Queen Esther is smiling down upon us across nearly 2500 years, as she remains a timeless heroine.

Thu, March 30 2023 8 Nisan 5783