Black Lives Matter, White Accountability and One Rabbi's Read on this Moment

Some of us are on overload, don't want to see and hear any more about gun violence, police violence, racist, homophobic and transphobic violence, systems of oppression, white supremacy. Some don't believe that this crying out is helpful, or perhaps that it is even harmful.

In Judaism our core narrative, our freedom story, our journey from mitzrayim, from the narrow place of slavery, oppression and defeat STARTED WITH OUR CRYING OUT AGAINST OUR OPPRESSION.

By whatever name you call the Great Mystery, the Connective Collective Consciousness, the All That Is, HaShem, Allah, Etc, the Universal Force of liberation, of hope, of defying empire and creating a whole new way of being, IS INITIATED BY OUR CRYING OUT.

Why? Because our crying out is a sign that we were READY. Our crying out signifies that we have grown into our own awareness and will no longer accept subjugation, suffering, whipping, etc. Our crying out signifies that we have gotten strong enough and big enough and COHESIVE enough (yes, it takes that CRITICAL MASS, THAT TIPPING POINT OF KOACH/STRENGTH, of CONNECTIVITY) to weather the turbulence of the freedom process, because the FREEDOM process is a BIRTHING process, and BIRTHING IS DIFFICULT! LABOR IS DIFFICULT!

Through my tears, through my overwhelm, through my rage, I see that we are EXACTLY WHERE WE NEED TO BE.

This is so friggin hard and yet calling it out, saying that we are not going to take it any more, rising up into our own power and speaking truth to power is exactly what Spirit is asking of us. YES! We are starting to turn the tide. YES. Together we can.

Oh, and by the way, I want to say, WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. The systems are the problem, not the people in them, who are doing what the systems are designed to do.

Next: What do we do in our awakened state? I can only speak for myself.

I am educating myself. I asked my friend who sits on the Board of NACOLE, the national police accountability organization to tell me (well, I didn't ask, I begged) where is it going right? What is the best practice? Where do police departments do fabulous jobs on the following:

Screening applicants
Mental health service provision
Accountability systems
Deterrent systems
Reward systems

You know, the whole deal.

He responded with the following information. I will read every word.

2015 President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing:

Response to the President's Task Force Document from the National League of Cities and the Major Cities Chief's Association:

And finally:

I am going to return to work tomorrow, at Resolutions Northwest ( an amazing Portland based non-profit, where (amongst other things) we provide world class anti-racism/equity training to organizations and community members. Since I didn't ask permission to use the names of my colleagues, I am not going to list them here, but if you know who I am talking about, you know that they get to the core of the issue in ways that connect, empower and don't shame. WE CREATE CHANGE!

I am going to speak with my colleagues about what leadership we might take on this issue. If you are in Oregon, I encourage you to contact us tomorrow, Monday to ask about our providing training for your organization. You can reach me at

After reading all of the materials above I will speak with other faith leaders in Portland about what we can do to support Campaign Zero and the President's Task Force Policing recommendations (see links above) here in town. If you are one of my clergy colleagues in Portland and you are reading this, please read through those links and be ready for my email/call!

This is a beautiful planet filled with amazing, brilliant, powerful souls. I believe that our destiny is to be free, that our destiny is to be safe, that our destiny is to live in love and mind boggling appreciation for our differences.

And I believe that right now our task is to collectively lead ourselves into a future where we can all shine our glory.