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A Day of Great Important 

06/15/2023 11:24:14 AM

Jun15

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

To listen to Rabbi Scott's blog, please click HERE.

Up until probably 10 years ago, June 19th held great meaning for Natalie and me (and our families) as it is our wedding anniversary. But probably about the time, or soon after, when we moved to Texas, June 19th came to be more than the day Natalie and I celebrate our union (29 this year!). 

Perhaps of equal importance to the world (or…I guess probably more so than our anniversary ☺), Juneteenth has become an important date in our country’s long but reluctant history to fully admit the import of slave labor to its establishment during its first hundred years of existence (and truly much longer). I find that Juneteenth is a somewhat challenging formulation of a “holiday,” as it commemorates the announcement of the end of slavery to black slaves in Texas….a good 2 ½ years AFTER President Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation.” (If only the internet had yet been invented!)

There are some in our world (people of color as well) who indeed argue against the lingering effects of systemic racism. I believe that human society and historical patterns are deeply imbedded and incredibly difficult to uproot. I also believe that we Jews don’t need much proof of systemic racism, since anti-Semitism is so historically pervasive, we shouldn’t imagine that one persists while the other somehow is a myth. Both are true, both are valid, and Juneteenth is yet another call to all people, Jewish and not, to recognize that each of us individually can perhaps make the most significant impact on the upending of the deleterious effects of all the worst “isms” of our world. 

  • How we speak and listen to the other.

  • How we go the extra length to give the other the benefit of the doubt.

  • How we humbly recognize that our own limited, personal experience will never be enough to understand the experiences of others, without paying much closer attention, always trying to listen without our answer running. 

Other than my undying love for my wife, this is what June 19th causes to arise in me. And perhaps can become an invitation to you to “commemorate” the day – on line, in person, with family and friends, at marches, rallies, wherever you find (or put) yourself.  It is a day of great import.  

Fri, July 19 2024 13 Tammuz 5784