What the World Needs Now…

What the World Needs Now…
By Rabbi Lori Shapiro

Anyone who has ever stepped into Notre Dame knows that it is like stepping into a womb. Enveloping us with a comforting presence that is a mixture of love, rapture and history, the Cathedral, the “Heart of Paris,” is a unique Christian and literary icon symbolic of human love on every level. To watch it burn yesterday was to experience a sense of loss that is best described as Exile. Watching the flames, I thought of our ancestors that believed that ultimate causality was attributed to God. As the spire toppled, collapsing upon the church in flames below during Christian and Jewish Holy Week, I allowed myself to question what the symbolism of this cauldron might be: a karmic backlash to France’s momentous yellow vests movement? A response to Europe’s underlying ethnic unrest? The darkest side of my soul contemplated whether this was a symbolic turn in the downfall of Western thought and Judeo-Christian values.

And then I saw it. Crowds gathering on the streets of Paris to not only sing, but pray, together. With rosaries in their hands, and facing the potential destruction of their symbolic spiritual center, people gathered to find new ritual spaces – in the streets.  They sang together with open hearts, tears streaming down their faces, hearts and souls aligned with the words of their liturgy. Together, they found solace, and redemption, through prayer.

This Saturday night, Open Temple gathers together through the streets of Venice in search of our own collective Freedom through Food and Faith: our Passover Seder. We invite everyone – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist, Rationalist and All – to Rise to the Call of Humanity as we raise our voices in the streets of Venice and pray. For Freedom. For Memory. For Miracles.

May the Sacred Lady of Paris Endure and Remind us that the Gateway to Redemption is simply found in the Beauty that Surrounds us Always: Love.

May All of Us Find our Freedom this Passover,
Rabbi Lori