Friday, May 29 NAACP Eulogy for George Floyd

Posted by on Oct 28, 2020

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 at Sinai.

What does it mean to be obligated to a set of rules that include:

the commandment not to kill and

the commandment to release debt every seven years and

the commandment to ensure that wealth is distributed exactly evenly every 50 years so grotesque disparities between rich and poor cannot accumulate?

What does it mean to be obligated 36 times to welcome and love the stranger, the sojourner, the one who looks different from us?

What does it mean to pursue justice?

What does it mean to be fair in justice?

What does it mean to live in the world where Torah was written when all justice was restorative?

It means that we must RISE UP and SAY NO to both citizen and state murder of our Black neighbors.

Ahmaud Arbery

Breonna Taylor

George Floyd

And you may not have heard, but after George Floyd was killed, Tony McDade, a Black transman was killed by police in Florida and then repeatedly misgendered by the media. Tony McDade, SAY HIS NAME!


I know it might be tempting to look away.

We are all exhausted and the horrors just keep coming.

But we Jews learned from the Holocaust that all it takes is for good people to look away, to do nothing, to ensure that this will continue.

And looking away cannot be the way we live our lives today.

It cannot be the way we live today.

Forgive my French, This shit has got to end. And we are the ones to do it.

Please join me in the refrain WE MUST END as I complete the sentence many times over

We must end

the war on drugs

We must end

the war on sex work

We must end

the war on the houseless.

We must end

the war on the mentally ill.

We must end

mass incarceration.

We must end

broken windows policing.

We must end

The militarization of the police force

We must end

The war on Black people

The obligation is upon us, the yoke of heaven demands it and please hear me loud and clear right now.

We white people must take responsibility. We have failed to date. And failure is no longer an option.

Now that social media ensures that we cannot claim ignorance, if one more generation of Black people has to live with this nightmare of citizen and state sponsored lynchings, that will be a collective sin on those of us who are white for which I fear there will be no atonement.

For all we know, it is already too late.

Let us not only pray, but let us ensure that their deaths not be in vain.

It is upon us. It is upon us.

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