Good morning everyone,
I want to congratulate our girls swim team for their win on Friday over an undefeated Needham team. I was glad I could come see it.
I want to congratulate the Boys Football team on a great run to the playoffs this year. Yesterday wasn’t easy, but they have a lot to be proud of.
Congrats to our girls soccer team on beating Framingham on Friday to qualify for the postseason tournament. Boys soccer and Girls Volleyball have also already qualified for their tournaments.
Congratulations to both the boys and girls cross country teams for winning the Baystate league championship yesterday.
And of course, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, the 2018 Champions of Baseball. That one’s tough for this lifetime Yankees fan to say, but I have to say, they were simply awesome.
Since we school ended last Friday we’ve had a lot of positive news here in Wellesley and I’m really glad that’s the case. I’m proud of all this hard work and I know there’s more I didn’t mention. Mostly, I’ve been happy to see the joy it’s brought for all of you involved.
As you may have heard or read, the news was not as positive in the City of Pittsburgh this weekend as 11 people were killed and numerous others were shot at the Tree of Life Synagogue during the Bris of an 8 day old baby.
I know this is another one of those moments when I come over the announcements and talk about tragedies in the world. I know these announcements can be easy to dismiss and ignore. I hope you don’t today. A synagogue in Pittsburgh may seem a long ways away from here, but I want to share with you a part of an Editorial from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that was published yesterday 10/28. The writer, Editor David Shribman of the Post-Gazette argues that these incidents are not really far from any of us.
This was, to be sure, a 21st century event. Gunfire in a house of worship. Text messages flying at the speed of bullets. (Mine came from Saskatchewan and Alberta and Ontario, from a nephew at Yeshiva University in New York, and brothers and my sister from Boston’s North Shore and from neighbors the next street over.) And of course: Confusion, and then clarity, over how many dead, how many wounded.
And confusion, but no clarity, about what this means, and whether the toxic political and cultural environment caused this, or merely reflected it. But one thing had clarity. At a time of peril, in a period of media disruption, people turned to the much-maligned mainstream press to find out what happened, when they needed the news most, when it counted the most, when it didn’t matter whether you voted for Donald J. Trump or Hillary Rodham Clinton or what your definition of nationalism was.
Changes in demographics, increased intermarriage, and the growth of the suburbs have diluted the Jewish identity of Squirrel Hill somewhat, but it remains true, as Steven R. Weisman, author of Chosen Wars, the most recent history of Judaism in America, put it in a phone conversation only hours after the shooting, that ‘’the fabric of American Judaism is woven into Squirrel Hill.’’
Because this was our neighborhood, caught in the crossfire of the strains of the global village, and for once — sadly, so very sadly — the hurt was ours, and the victims were ours, and the need to heal is ours. For now it has happened here; for millions across this wounded nation, we are the focus of anguish and anger and solace, the it-can-happen-anywhere place of the moment. And we know, given the tempo of tragedy in these times that are ours, that the title won’t be ours for long.
In our grief — shared across all faiths — we need something to lean on, to steady us. We might reflect on the passage from Proverbs that lent its name to this place of tragedy, a reference to the metaphor describing Judaism’s most sacred text, the Torah, as a tree of life, or, in transliterated Hebrew, Etz hayyim:
It is a tree of life to all who hold fast to it; its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace.
So, what can we do here, at a time like this? You can be kind to others. You can take action to work for justice and peace wherever you don’t see it. You don’t have to solve the world’s problems, but we can all live our lives so we work to bring people together.
Thanks for listening and reflecting with me this morning.