Florida gas prices jump 12 cents; most expensive since 2014 Gov. DeSantis says new moment-of-silence law in public schools protects religious freedom Healing begins with meInspirationBy Rabbi Rick SherwinGene Roddenberry created Star Trek to reflect a vision of the world as it has the potential to be. The original series aired in the 1960s, at the height of interracial tensions, an immoral war, and xenophobic fear. The bridge of the Starship Enterprise was staffed by a black communications officer, a Russian ensign, and an alien first officer; the captain was from middle America, and the doctor from America’s south. Amazingly, this multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-national crew worked together as they forged a path through space, exploring – not conquering – new worlds, gaining new perspectives of possibilities.Today, many of us are deflated in spirit as we see our world spinning out of control. Muffled voices of ambiguous condemnation fuel hate groups and bigots who have come out of hiding, crying for their “rights” with weapons in hand. We see terrorists throughout the world, even in America (including the one who took the life of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville), and we cringe that nations openly threaten nuclear war. People are increasingly excluded from social services and health care because we failed to make it a priority to create a cooperative society. America today has been derailed by interracial tensions, the threat of terrorism and war, xenophobic fear, and people who can only see what is in their personal mirror.Patrick Stewart – Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the Star Trek sequel series, The Next Generation – offered what might be called a profound insight into what should be obvious: “I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets, even though they may be utterly uninhabited.”We have a long way to go until we achieve the ideals of the 24th century, where relationships hold the highest priority and the material world takes several steps back.We are all asking the same question: “How can I, one person, make a difference?” One answer comes in the story about a young man in the 1960s. Every Friday afternoon for two hours, he stood across the street from the White House holding a sign protesting the war in Vietnam. He stood there week after week, month after month. A reporter approached him and asked, “Do you really believe you can change the world with this sign?” The man responded, “You don’t understand. I am carrying this sign with the hope that the world won’t change me.”I thought of this story as I saw photos of people carrying signs to protest bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, and injustice. A friend in Orlando stood by the road carrying the sign “Peace, not hate.” A friend in Phoenix joined a group carrying such signs as “Make America Kind Again,” “Equal Rights for All,” and “Never Again.” Perhaps these signs make more of a difference than we might imagine: If I am kind, if I fight for equality, if I try to make sure we don’t go backwards, then others might be strengthened to walk alongside me and go forward.The Rabbis of the Talmud tell the story of the Sage Ben-Zoma who saw a diverse crowd on one of the steps of the Temple Mount. He recited a b’rakha – a liturgical formula – thanking God for creating the strength for diverse people to share common focus. So, too, we should thank God for people of all colors, faiths, nationalities, and personal uniqueness who stand together to hold signs, circulate messages of hope, link arms in peaceful protest, and chastise those in power who tolerate hate.There are two basic tenets upon which all Jewish rituals, teachings, and ethics are based. From the Hebrew Bible, we learn that every human being reflects the Divine Image (Genesis 1.27 and Genesis 5.1-2). From the Talmud, we learn that humanity and God are co-partners in completing the process of creation (Shabbat 119b). Ironically, these two tenets are not specifically Jewish: they are human.Imagine the world if every human being focused on these two universal tenets, treating each other with dignity, and working together to transform the world from the way it is to the way it needs to be not just for those who are like “me,” but for everyone. It starts with me, and I will extend my hand to you, and the two of us will reach out to two more, and the four of us will each reach out to four more… until we reach the wholeness we call shalom.Shabbat shalom.Rabbi Rick Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Please enter your comment! UF/IFAS in Apopka will temporarily house District staff; saves almost $400,000 Rabbi Rick Sherwin, a graduate of UCLA, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Rabbi Rick’s passion is filling spiritual services and interfaith educational programs with creativity, relevance, dialogue, and humor. Please enter your name here LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply TAGSInspirationRabbi Rick Sherwin Previous articleWinter is coming…Next articleDonna’s Deals: 5 things to know about shopping at Stein Mart Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.