Dear WJC Family,
On Wednesday, Julian Edelman—the Super Bowl MVP wide receiver for the New England Patriots and proud Jewish person—extended an unexpected invitation to Shabbat dinner to Meyers Leonard. Leonard, the 7-foot center for the Miami Heat basketball team, should be free Friday night after being fined $50,000 and suspended for a week after using an Antisemitic slur while live streaming himself playing a video game. Edelman sent him an open letter saying among other things, “Hate is like a virus. Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread. I’m down in Miami fairly often. Let’s do a Shabbat dinner with some friends I’ll show you a fun time.”
Besides proving that Julian Edelman is one classy guy, this incident highlights what he calls in his letter, “casual ignorance.” He explains that when someone is hatefully racist, it is usually met with harsh resistance, but when someone is casually ignorant, it is harder to combat. Meyers Leonard issued an apology—he seemed genuinely contrite and unaware of how awful the slur he used is, and that’s the problem.
The level of casual Antisemitism being revealed more and more often is truly disturbing. It is why our program this Sunday morning with Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, is so timely. Rabbi Marans will be speaking with us on Navigating Black-Jewish Conversations. While race may not be at play in the incident with Meyers Leonard, the incident points to a pervasive, casual Antisemitism and we can all too easily think of recent examples. In addition, it seems that some of these conflicts have been highlighted as Jews have sought ways to support the call for racial justice. Rabbi Marans will share his firsthand experiences in open and honest dialogue so we can all learn from his hard-won wisdom. See event details below.
And also register for our special Pre-Passover seder next Sunday, March 21, at 3:00pm. Connect to Every Voice: Kol Kol Seder of Inclusion for Every Voice is a chance to be together (virtually), connect with each other and recognize the power of the seder and the Passover message for this particular moment. This holiday is about redemption from slavery, loss, and prolonged confinement. In many ways, we have all been experiencing these phenomenon over the last year and had no choice but to remain silent and bear it. Kol Kol Seder of Inclusion is an opportunity to find our voices and begin our own journey towards redemption, towards healing and towards freedom. This Passover more than any I have experienced before, requires this kind of prologue to place it in context. I hope you will join us.
On another note, I’d like to thank everyone who responded to our call to help us provide Passover food for Project Ezra through monetary donations. We raised a record amount and have been told that because of your generosity the organization will be able to expand the amount and number of food items each client will receive. I am so grateful for your response to the call and hope you feel as much pride as I do that in particularly difficult times we are still able and willing to make a difference!
This Shabbat, we will start with our HaChanat Shabbat Zoom Shmooze at 5:30pm and Cantor Kabbalat Shabbat with Cantor Goldberg and me will begin on the live stream at 5:45pm. Shabbat morning services will begin at 9:15am with the cantor davening solo and we will be joined by a minyan and then some at 10:00am for Kaddish and Torah reading. Havdalah will be at 6:45pm on Zoom.
See you in shul or online,