Rabbi Ron Symons on September 6, 2019
As we turn the page on the calendar from Summer to Fall, from vacation to the academic year, from the old Jewish year 5779 to the new Jewish year 5780, the work of the Center for Loving Kindness are all the more relevant to the lives we lead in and around Pittsburgh. Planned throughout 2016 and 2017 and launched on August 28, 2017, to commemorate the March on Washington and to respond to the White Supremacist march on Charlottesville, the Center for Loving Kindness is designed to REDEFINE NEIGHBOR FROM GEOGRAPHIC TERM TO MORAL CONCEPT.
We learned that concept from Rabbi Joachim Prinz, the last speaker in 1963 to speak before Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His message in that era of civil rights was simple: For thousands of years, Jewish wisdom has been teaching the same every time it quoted ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds’.
In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man’s dignity and integrity.
He spoke those words in heat of the most pressing issues of his day. He spoke those words from his own life experience in Germany. He spoke those words as a part of the sensibilities of Jewish wisdom that has been shared for thousands of years.
Now we, well into the 21st century, must guide our lives by the principles he and his colleagues articulated way back then. NEIGHBOR IS A MORAL CONCEPT!
Joining with thousands of people across our region, speaking to even more through social media and television media, we are committed to building strong relationships across perceived boundaries, helping neighbors and being helped by neighbors through the traumas of life, and addressing critical issues that impact us all so that we can learn and grow together.
We live in an interconnected neighborhood. Mr. Rogers explained it in this way:
As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each one of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.
The World According to Mister Rogers
Important Things to Remember – 2003
The question is simple: Will each one of us view and treat the other as a NEIGHBOR?
If your answer is ‘YES’, then please join us and a wide array of programming.
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