top of page

Hazzan Steve's Message


Numerous times over the last weeks, I have been told how I feel about Israel and about

Palestine. Or the common variant, which begins “we all feel”, sometimes including “we

are all suffering from ….” Or “we all have friends and relatives ….”

These statements, in conversations and gatherings or on listservs or FaceBook posts,

are meant to reassure, I suppose. Reassure that I am not alone in my feelings or my

intergenerational trauma or my concern about friends or relatives in harm’s way.

Reassure that I am understood and stood with.

Yet no one can know what I feel or what you feel without asking. It is presumptuous to

assume that you and I are alike and are just like the speaker. So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we risk dividing our small community, risk making some of us feel

“less than”.

A through line of the “Torah of Chico”, as Reb Lisa has called our communal story, is

that we are small and diverse and yet strong and creative and amazingly active. We

are descendants of all sorts of people, from all sorts of places, with all sorts of histories.

Not a few of our CBI family have chosen to join the Jewish people, and not just a few of

our CBI family are not Jewish. We have various political views, and various aspects of

CBI life interest us enough for us to choose to invest our time, attention and funds. We

offer community to all of our community, fully accepting our differences. That is why we

are strong and creative and active. Each of us is not just needed. Each of us is

necessary to Jewish life in Chico.

With such diversity, assumptions about who feels what or has or lacks particular

histories or relationships are bound to be wrong at least some of the time. A wise

person (Richard Armour?) said “Look before you leap – the conclusion you jump to may

be your own”.

I will say the obvious (obvious to me, anyway). It is okay if you feel what we are told

everyone is feeling, and it is okay if you are not feeling that. If your personal or family

history means you do not share what we are told is the intergenerational trauma of

Jewish history, that is okay. Maybe you have different personal or family trauma, or

maybe you do not. It is okay to feel what you feel (or not feel what others feel) about

what is going on now in Israel and Palestine whether or not you have family or

friendship ties to the conflict and whether or not you have strong attachments to the

culture and history of the State of Israel. Note that I am talking only about how we feel,

our emotional states. I am not making any sort of argument about facts or about moral

equivalency, or about any of the other things that have so quickly sparked arguments

and resentments recently.

I have made the case for not making assumptions and not being prescriptive in our

interactions. And yet I believe there are some things each of us can do, each in our

own way, right now. Listen. Love. Be patient. Try to see the face of the Holy One in

every person you encounter. “Seek peace and pursue it”, and when you believe you

know the only path for that consider that there may be alternatives. Remember that no

one can ever do only one thing (i.e., there always are additional consequences, not

always the ones we anticipate). After what is coming in the coming days, weeks and

months, it still will be necessary to seek and pursue peace, and the possible paths to

peace still will be opening before us. Listen some more.

With blessings for a week of safety and community,

Hazzan Steve

החזן שלמה זלמן עיט בן מרדכי מרגלן

61 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Rabbi Lisa's Message

5/15/24 When Israel became a state in 1948, three new holidays were added to the Jewish calendar: Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance day, which we began at sundown on May 5th), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial

Rabbi Lisa's Message

5/8/24 Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, was this past Sunday evening through Monday. On Yom HaShoah, Jewish communities around the world remember the 11 million lives lost under the Nazi regime

Hazzan Steve's Message

Have Fun In Shul “Sing ‘Baruch’ like you know what it means” may be the most important thing Hazzan Jack has ever said to me.  To budding shelichei tzibur (“emissaries of the community”, meaning leade


bottom of page