Tomorrow morning, we finish reading Bereshit (Genesis). The book that details the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah and Isaac, Jacob, Leah and Rachel and the Twelve Tribes of Israel comes to an end. We read the last line of Genesis which details the passing of Joseph and his burial in Egypt, paving the way for Moses and the drama that will unfold in Shemot (Exodus). Once we finish that line we say the words that we always say when we finish a book of Torah: “Hazak Hazak, V’Nithazek,” which means, “Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another.”
This week began with thousands of Jews and friends of the Jewish community coming together and rallying against anti-Semitism in New York on Sunday. It continued with #JewishANDProud Day that I wrote about last Friday. For me, this week included an important interfaith discussion addressing anti-Semitism with our local representatives from Congress.
As we continue to struggle with anti-Semitism, the phrase we chant as we finish Genesis “Hazak Hazak, V’Nithazek” – “Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another” is an important reminder to push ourselves to stand up to the hate that is directed at our community. When we do so, we inspire those around us, we fill them with strength to follow our lead. In turn, we become stronger as a community – making every day a day of Jewish pride.
Hazak Hazak, V’Nithazek!