Marty’s Shabbat Message – March 21, 2019

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

This week marks the end of our remarkable 6-week run of Violins of Hope in our Valley and state. Through this amazing program, we have impacted more than 24,000 students and 50,000 individuals with lessons of respect and acceptance. This was a true collaboration as more than 30 organizations, synagogues and churches came together in an unprecedented display of partnership and unity. The bar has been raised for all of us going forward, as it should be.

This past weekend, I visited Bisbee with some friends. As I was looking around in one of the tchotchke shops, I noticed some casino chips in a display case with swastikas. I was appalled and shared what I saw with my friend, also Jewish. He immediately voiced his disapproval to the shopkeeper and after a healthy conversation, the chips were removed with a note to the vendor that the items were offensive and not welcome in the store. The moral of the story… be an "upstander", not a bystander! We can all effect change in our own way as my friend did in that moment. Isn’t this why we brought Violins of Hope to our community, to learn and to teach respect and acceptance of diversity?

poker chips

This week’s Torah portion is Tzav (Command) in Leviticus. Aaron and his sons remain within the Sanctuary compound for seven days as Moses initiates them into the priesthood. For those of us who attended the Violins of Hope events over the past six weeks, we too have been initiated. We are called upon to stand up to bullying and hatred and to comfort our neighbors, as was the case this past weekend during the community’s interfaith vigils for the victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings. As Elie Wiesel so aptly stated, "The opposite of Love is… Indifference."

We simply cannot choose to be indifferent!

Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom.

Sincerely,

Marty Haberer
President & Chief Executive Officer

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