March 4, 2024 /
As I look out at a world which feels more chaotic than ever before, I turn to our history and find comfort
as I reflect on how we have found resilience time and time again during moments like these. The spirit
of resilience is deeply embedded within Jewish history, guiding us through turbulent times, and remains
ever relevant in navigating the complexities of the world.
Our tradition is full of stories of resilience, recounting how our ancestors’ weathered storms of
adversity. From the Exodus story, where a people enslaved emerged as a nation of resilience, to the
perseverance of figures like Esther, who stood against oppression, Judaism extols the virtues of
resilience in times of adversity.
With growing antisemitism, to the war between Israel and Hamas that is stirring us to our core, and to
what is looking to be another contentious election cycle, we need to remember how we have been
resilient in the past. Resilience is about adapting without compromising our values, embracing change
while staying rooted in tradition. A tradition that reminds us, in the words of Hillel, that “when you are
in a place where there aren’t any decent people, you must stive to be that person.”
But it’s not just with how we ought to behave. The principle of Tikkun Olam, the imperative to repair the
world, urges us to be resilient advocates for change. It calls upon us to apply ancient teachings to
contemporary issues, advocating for a world guided by justice and compassion.
Moreover, our community’s resilience is showcased in how we respond to societal shifts.
The inclusivity and acceptance ingrained in Jewish teachings compel us to navigate changing societal norms with
empathy and understanding. Embracing diversity within our community aligns with our enduring
commitment to inclusivity, standing resilient against discrimination and divisiveness.
Resilience also emerges in our ability to balance tradition with innovation. There has not been one year
in our almost 165 years in New Brunswick when there hasn’t been some measure of change or
transition. Some years more and some years less, but it was always there. What’s important about it is
that we changed while still honoring our heritage. It’s why we are still a strong presence in New
Yes, 2024 already feels like it will be a year of great uncertainty, but as we move forward, let us reaffirm
our commitment to resilience. Let us draw inspiration from our rich heritage, acknowledging that
resilience isn’t merely about bouncing back but about growing stronger through adversity.
Let’s leverage our values and teachings to address the complexities of what is happening around us, knowing that the
strength derived from our faith empowers us to thrive amid life’s uncertainties.
In the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “The entire world is a narrow bridge, and the essence is not
to fear at all.” Let us navigate this bridge with resilience, fortified by our timeless traditions, and
illuminate the path towards a brighter, more resilient future.