Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly.Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.
– Langston Hughes
This past week in Ferguson, Missouri, in Philadelphia and across the country, individuals and communities responded to the decision of a grand jury not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager in August. It has been fifty-one years since the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the prophetic words, “I Have a Dream,” and we are not there yet. Across our country, individuals and communities are calling out, “Black lives matter.” We pray for the day when our society will operate on the belief that “All lives matter” regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, income, ability, gender or sexual orientation. We yearn for a country that recognizes the truth of the words of our Talmud:“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:9). May we hold onto these dreams of human dignity from our tradition and our nation and take action to make them a reality.