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Praying in Paris, Budapest, NYC

Lab/Shul friends,
I’m making my way back to NYC and back to the land of the living after a meaningful and intense month of mourning with my family in Jerusalem. On the way over I stopped over in Budapest to lead study sessions and worship events at The Aurora Jewish Cultural Center in partnership with some of the leading Jewish organizations here, including Marom Olami and Minyanim. As I toured Budapest this morning, witnessing the powerful memories of atrocities and the wonderful signs of life and revival, terrible news from Paris kept arriving: more reminders of hatred, violence and needless death. 

It’s heartbreaking. 

Tonight I will lead a Shabbat prayer here, building on hope. Next Shabbat I am looking forward to singing, praying and rising to reclaim justice with many of you in NYC – joining hands and hearts with friends and leaders from Auburn Theological Seminary and the Lab/Shul community to remember the legacy of MLK, and to raise our voices in prayer for peace, tolerance and vigilant hope. More details here. 
One more note: Two images stay with me from today’s tour: The Shoes Monument on the banks of the Danube River that recall the horrible murder of Budapest’s Jews – and the way so many looked away as these murders happened. 
two shoes

And a prayer book, printed in my father’s hometown, left in a cubby in one of the pews of one of the synagogues here, with instructions from my older brother as to its exact whereabouts – so I can find it, use it, say Kaddish, honor our father, all that’s gone, and be grateful for our privilege to continue. 
May all those bereaved today by death and violence find comfort and healing. 
May our prayers, actions, gestures of kindness help us all enter this sabbath and the rest of our lives with a bit more hope and peace. 

Shabbat Shalom,