#WhateverItTakes as We Journey Through the Wilderness

September 9, 2015Shira Zemel

Summer 2015 was a historic and momentous summer: we applauded when the Supreme Court affirmed key tenets of the Affordable Care Act in King v. Burwell; we welcomed the much overdue new LGBT inclusion bill when it was introduced in Congress; and we were called to action by the Pope's encyclical as an interfaith rallying cry to combat climate change.

And let us not forget when we lifted up our voices and our timbrels together in song and dance, just as our ancestors did when they reached the shore of the Red Sea (Exodus 15) when we learned of the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling establishing marriage equality as the law of the land.  

But Summer 2015 has also been incredibly sad.  To quote from an email I received from Kirstin Moore, Director of Partnerships at Everytown for Gun Safety: "this has been a long, hot and cruel summer of gun violence in America. Americans have been gunned down in movie theaters, military recruitment centers, places of worship, homes, street corners and now on live TV."

Just as we rejoiced this summer, we also know "that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt; that there is a better place, a promised land;(Michael Walzer, Mishkan T’filah, p. 157,adapted from Exodus and Revolution by Michael Walzer)

It is eternally Egypt.  That is how I feel about gun violence in this country.  When will enough be enough? When will we be able to say with certainty that our schools and our churches and our movie theaters are safe from guns? How many more young girls and boys have to die?

So, Summer 2015 really has been a “Journey for Justice” in so many ways – wherever  we go, no matter the strides we take and the progress we make, it is eternally Egypt.

But how does Walzer end this text?

"...the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness. That there is no way to get from here to there except by joining hands, marching together."

We are in the wilderness.  And as I write this, Reform rabbis carrying the Torah are marching side by side with the NAACP in the wilderness, joining hands and marching together towards a better America.

We can continue to carry on our prophetic tradition as we work towards a more just world with better gun laws.  It is a winding road through the wilderness, but we can get there together.

Won't you take my hand and join us in this march?

NFTY and the Religious Action Center are participating tomorrow in the Everytown for Gun Safety's National Day of Action Call-In

How can you participate?

Call your Members of Congress

Text FEEL to 877-877 to tell Congress you'll do #WhateverItTakes to end gun violence. OR Call 877-857-1909 to be patched through to Congress.

Sample script:

My name is insert name here and I am a reform Jew from town/state here.

As Americans and as Reform Jews we are frustrated with the lack of action in Washington regarding Gun Violence Prevention. Judaism emphasizes the value of human life, and that by saving one life, it is as if the entire universe has been saved.

As your constituent, I am asking you to do whatever it takes to fix our country’s broken gun laws.

Make sure to say thank you before you hang up.

Social Engagement

We’re encouraging people all over the country to remind their Members of Congress that we'll do #WhateverItTakes to end gun violence in America.  Supporters are encouraged to get involved by taking a photo and sharing it on social media, targeting their elected officials.

  1. Print out this page
  2. Fill it out.  Address it to Congress, President Obama, the NRA, your Member of Congress or anyone else you feel needs to hear our voices on gun violence prevention right now (samples below).
  3. Take a picture holding your filled out sign and post it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Be sure to include the hashtag #WhateverItTakes.

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