On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that we just celebrated a beautiful installation. I want to offer thanks to the Board of Trustees and the Installation Committee for planning such a meaningful event for our congregation. My hope is that through the stories of the honored guests you got to know more about your new Rabbi. If you missed the evening, the service is available on our website for viewing.
This past Sunday we hosted our Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Leaders attended from the local Muslim, Presbyterian and Baptist communities. Several teens also spoke on behalf of the Westchester Youth Alliance. I was moved to tears more than once by the hopes and dreams of our teens and the other leaders who spoke.
I want to share with you the text I prepared for this service.
“On this Thanksgiving I am so thankful that we are able to gather in-person as a beautiful rainbow of diversity of faiths, colors, and communities.
Last week Michael Flynn the National Security Advisor of the last president declared “America would be better if we only had one religion in this country.”
In essence he said America would be better if we did not enjoy a celebration of pluralism like this.
Imagine if someone were to say the music of the world would be better if there were only one instrument in the orchestra. It would be like saying we should ban all music but the clarinet. Were that to happen the music of the world would be flat, and we would be spiritually impoverished.
I believe that you can be a flute, and she can be a harp, and he can be a trumpet. My being a good violin is not diminished by another being a good French horn.
Psalm 150 is about the diversity of God’s symphony. This sacred text teaches that God loves a full symphony of many instruments harmonizing together, jamming together with a richness of sound and rhythm, and creativity.
The Holy City of Jerusalem can serve as an earthly model of diversity. From the El Aksa Mosque, the beautiful sound of the Meuzin, the Muslim call to worship, blends with the sound of the Church Bells ringing in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, which in turn harmonizes with the Jewish shofar blasts from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the Second Temple – all of it segueing into a musical masterpiece.
My prayer – is that we too can be a part of God’s symphony here in Westchester. I am thankful that we are partnering, in a diverse coalition of faiths and communities, to lift up life in Westchester to be a fuller reflection of the Garden of Eden, in which all people enjoy life’s blessings with dignity, hope and opportunity.
This Thanksgiving may we be thankful that we have one another. That we have this relationship of collaboration. That we have these moments of celebration of hope. May we respect the right of each of us to be different and varied. May we never be in in discord, but may we join in harmony as God’s symphony.
Keny Heyi Razton – May this be God will. Amen.
On Hanuka, we’ll begin our outreach for the end of year giving. Please watch for that, as your gifts enable us to continue the meaningful work we come together to do.
May you and your family be blessed with health and happiness on this Thanksgiving and Hanuka,
Rabbi David Wilfond