Coming Together This Veterans Day

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Last night’s flag ceremony at the Heat game.

Cheryl, Abigail, Jonah and I went to the Heat game last night. It was a special evening. The Heat were playing the Bulls and Miami had the opportunity to welcome Dwyane Wade back to the American Airlines Arena. While it was nice to be there to experience this homecoming, what truly made the night special was the way in which the Heat commemorated Veterans Day – which is officially celebrated today. Throughout the night military families were recognized and honored. Heat players wore the names of fallen soldiers whose stories were captured and shared via video presentations. The highlight of the evening was a beautiful flag ceremony led by the United States Southern Command. During this ceremony, as my family and I stood in the arena, surrounded by people of all different races and ethnicities, all of us singing the National Anthem, all of us cheering for our country, I was overcome with emotion.

In that crowd last night, there were those of us who were happy with Tuesday’s election results. There were those of us who were unhappy with the results. And there were those of us who are still trying to figure out how we feel. But, as members of our military held our flag, sang our anthem and honored our veterans, I’m certain that everyone in the arena felt connected to each other, felt a sense of pride for our country, felt honored to be a part of this magnificently complicated nation we call the United States of America.

This election has divided us. Family, friends and neighbors aren’t speaking to each other. Some are overjoyed and wondering why we are offering a Healing Service tonight. Some are overcome with sadness, fear and anger and can’t fathom healing from this election. And this is why we need to gather together, tonight, tomorrow and in the days and weeks to come – not to bash President-elect Trump or Secretary Clinton, not to accuse or label each other, not to gloat about or challenge the election results – but to simply come together with all of our different emotions and experience the power of community.

Hineh ma tov uma na’im, shevet achim gam yachad.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters can come together.

It is by coming together – with all of our differences – that we will slowly find ways to listen to each other, hear each other, learn from each other and, most importantly, respect each other.

Tonight, some of us will come together at 7:30pm. In doing so, we won’t fix the division in our country. But, we’ll celebrate Shabbat. We’ll get a chance to wish a “mazal tov” to our upcoming B’nai Mitzvah. We’ll honor our Veterans. We’ll sing and pray with people who share our political views and those who don’t. We’ll wish everyone we spend time with this evening a “Shabbat Shalom” – a peaceful, beautiful, meaningful day of rest. And, in doing so, we’ll all get a little closer to each other. I hope you will join us.

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