RABBI DEBRA KOLODNY

AS THE SPIRIT MOVES US

Writings

Black Lives Matter Lamentation – Tisha B’Av 5780/2020

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Black Lives Matter Lamentation – Tisha B’Av 5780/2020

Chanting to Eicha trop Words curated by Rabbi Debra Kolodny Perek aleph: Chapter One:  Final words of 8 Black men and one Black woman shot by police: ‘Officers, why do you have your guns out?’ – Kenneth Chamberlain ‘What are you following me for?’ – Trayvon Martin ‘Mom, I’m going to college’ – Amadou Diallo ‘I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.’ – Michael Brown ‘You shot me! You shot me!’ – Oscar Grant ‘It’s not real.’ – John Crawford ‘I can’t breathe.’ – Eric Garner I love you too. Sean Bell Please don’t let me die. Cristal Perkins Perek bet:...

Portland Oregon Jewish Federation Pride Celebration – June 2020

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Portland Oregon Jewish Federation Pride Celebration  – June 2020

Our rabbinic sages say that we are to learn and replicate the deeds of our ancestors. They call this principle maase avot siman lebanim, which means that the actions of our ancestors are a sign or portent to their children. I invite us to learn from a series of deeds that isn’t found in Torah, but is part of the legacy of the avot v’imahot/the founding generation of the LGBTQI+ movement. On a hot summer night in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York ’s Greenwich Village, a haven for the city’s LGBTQI+ communities At the time,...

Friday, May 29 NAACP Eulogy for George Floyd

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Friday, May 29 NAACP Eulogy for George Floyd

Today is the Jewish holy day of Shavuot when we celebrate our receiving of Torah. Some of us study all night long, altering our consciousness from lack of sleep so we can feel and maybe be closer to God. Today as I stand in that liminal place where only the thinnest of veils separate me from the Holy One of Blessing, I contemplate the Jewish concept of kabbalat ol malchut shamayim-not just receiving but accepting the yoke of heaven, which we understand as our obligation to follow the rules and laws of right living so generously offered to us...

Moms Demand Action speech

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Moms Demand Action speech

August 20, 2019  The ten commandments are clear. And of course the one most appropriate to remember today is “Thou shalt not murder”. The Talmud expands upon that Torah command and teaches us that “the one who takes one life, it is as though they have destroyed the universe. And the one who saves one life, it is as though they has saved the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). So I wonder. Maybe you wonder. What about the one who takes 10 lives? Takes 20 lives? Takes 50 lives? Every year in this country hundreds murdered...