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Tuesday Morning Study Group
June 2 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am
An event every week that begins at 9:30 am on Tuesday, repeating until June 23, 2020
Join us online with Zoom.
Study and discuss a variety of Jewish issues with Rabbi Gardenswartz and fellow congregants.
Our weekly class is held from 9:30 am to 10:30 am every Tuesday in the Gann Chapel and is open to all.
Source Materials for the sessions : Download/View
For questions, please contact Mady Donoff. New members always welcome to join the group.
June 2, 2020 Class : A Successful Prophetic Voice in a Time of Race Riots in America
Fifty-two years ago, race riots, fires, looting, violence, the breakdown of civil society, broke out in American cities in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
At that time, April, 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was seeking the nomination of the Democratic party for President of the United States. The day that Dr. King was killed, Robert Kennedy was supposed to be giving a speech in Indianapolis, Indiana. Given the outbreak of violence and the breakdown of civil society, he was strongly encouraged to cancel his speech. Local police said cancel: we can’t protect you. Secret Service said cancel: we can’t protect you. His family begged him to cancel. Against all that advice, over all their objections, he held the event and gave a speech to a largely African American crowd in Indianapolis.
What he said that night in about five minutes is attached.
Indianapolis was the only city in America without race riots in the wake of the Dr. King assassination, and historians credit that anomaly to Senator Kennedy’s short but obviously powerful speech.
All the biblical prophets failed. They were not heard and heeded in their own time.
This speech is the very rare example of a prophecy that worked in its own time.
What was it about this speech that worked so well? What wisdom does it contain? What is its secret sauce?
What do we think of this speech fifty-two years later, and what does it have to teach us about our own unsettled time today?
May 19, 2020 Class : Having Faith When Faith is Hard to Have–The Prophecy of Habakkuk
In some ways, Habakkuk channels the angst of a pandemic age. A deeply disrupted present. A deeply uncertain future. No clear path to a better place. And it feels like he has been stuck in that muck forever. Here is how his prophecy begins:
How long, O lord, shall I cry out
And You not listen,
Shall I shout to You, “Violence!”
And You not save? (1:2)
Habakkuk lives in the era of an ascendant Babylon. He decries how Babylon conquers and slaughters nation after nation, and Judea is next. Meanwhile God does absolutely nothing:
Why do You countenance treachery,
And stand by idle
While the one in the wrong devours
The one in the right? (1:13)
The pathos of Habakkuk is that he wants to have faith in God, but the world cries out just the opposite: Godlessness. Might makes right. The vicious are the victors. The righteous are the dead.
Our sages picked Habakkuk as the Haftarah for the second day of Shavuot. Somehow, the Haftarah ends with the prophet’s affirmation of faith. The world did not change. He lives on the eve of the destruction of the First Temple, the burning of Jerusalem, the murder of its residents, and the exile of those who survived. He feels the dreaded end in the air. But something within the prophet himself changed. He has faith.
I wait calmly for the day of distress,
For a people to come to attack us.
Though the fig tree does not bud
And no yield is on the vine,
Though the olive crop has failed
And the fields produce no grain,
Though sheep have vanished from the fold
And no cattle are in the pen,
Yet will I rejoice in the Lord,
Exult in the God who delivers me.
My Lord God is my strength:
He makes my feet like the deer’s
And lets me stride upon the heights. (3:16-19)
Where did the “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord”come from? How did he do that? Where did that come from?
If the world does not change, is it possible for us to change so that we have faith when faith is hard to have?