Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"My Brother's Keeper"
Vayeshev in Minneapolis
by Naomi Less

This past Friday night, during a most warm, inviting Kabbalat Shabbat Service at Shir Tikvah in Minneapolis, I was invited to present "My Brother's Keeper" - a mini-Maven program exploring just three verses of the famous Joseph chronicles. Rabbi Michael Latz and his community were true to their tagline on their website, " A congregation welcoming all, embracing diversity, and seeking to make the world more whole," as evidenced by the deep, thoughtful and heart-opening responses and reactions to the infamous narrative of mob-mentality, murder plots and devaluing human life.

We explored together the long lineage this Genesis family has with sibling conflict - seems to be in the DNA. But that generation of siblings really took the cake, or shall we say, took the pita. Verse 20 says: "Now, come, let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say: An evil beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams."

The brothers speak in one voice - no one brother is designated as the leader of this charge - it smells like "mob-mentality" and it's something that is clearly relevant today. When we lose individual voices, when we lose the sense of responsibility to speak up with dissent against what clearly is an injustice, we are accountable and we are accomplices. Especially in today's "bullying" climate - who will step up and say "Shed no blood" like Reuben finally did?

My Brother's Keeper created by Naomi Less with Jon Adam Ross and Amichai Lau-Lavie

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