Call For Courage

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We at the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation have been overwhelmed with messages of support and a desire to sign the "Call for Courage" statement. Therefore, we are inviting you to sign, and to forward this message to anyone who you think would like to sign and commit to drowning out these cowardly messages of hate with messages of courage, hope, and unity.

______________________

Swastikas were painted on the sidewalks and street furniture at North Point Shopping Center last night.

Often we call these “symbols of hate,” and they, along with zoombombers shouting the n-word or posting images of pornography, demonstrate the dark path that seduces too many of our fellow citizens during this pandemic. Whether one promotes the hatred of Jews, people of color, or women, I believe these symbols are less shouts of fear and loathing and more whimpers of cowardice. We face a disorienting unknown. We barely understand the scope of the virus and our economy is fragile, while our political leadership contributes to the sense of chaos. As our minds spin into endless questions, the chasm of despair beckons to our souls. We are afraid, and the quickest analgesic is to project the fear onto an enemy. Our minds are wired to find a target when threatened, and the easiest target is some marginalized group in society. This eases our mental tension, providing temporarily relief, until fear swells again within, and we seek another hit of mental relief in greater acts of villainization of the other. Hate is the opiate of a terrified society.

As we were polarized before Covid-19, we should only expect a crescendo of these symbols, and we must turn them back before violent symbols become violent acts. We are already seeing attacks on retail workers who ask patrons to wear masks.

The solution is to call these symbols what they are, marks of cowardice. While they claim to communicate hate and fear, they really belie the underlying weakness and loneliness of the perpetrator. We are all afraid, and courage is the ability to face a fear and carry on despite it. Cowards allow fear to drive their decisions and actions, undermining one’s duties and purpose.

This pandemic requires unity of purpose, steadfastness, and sacrifice. To prevent its spread we wear masks for each other, our representatives authorize bailouts, and we make do at home while we support and applaud those on the front lines. This is our task, as essential as buying War Bonds or planting Victory Gardens. The first two months of this were the easy part. This next stage promises more uncertainty, impatience, volatility, and scary numbers. We are all afraid.

The moment calls for courage. We invite everyone to drown these cowardly messages with the message “Hate has no Home Here.” Write this on sidewalks, take photos, use the hashtag, and post it online. Let us show Reston, Herndon, Vienna, Northern Virginia, the Commonwealth, and Country that we go forward together.

L'shalom,
Rabbi Michael G. Holzman
Cantor Susan Caro
Rabbi Jessica Wainer

Ryan Ackerman, Central Reform Congregation, St. Louis
Michael Ackerman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Supervisor Walter Alcorn, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Hunter Mill District
Elizabeth Allen, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Judy Baskin, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Tom Berlin, Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon
Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Ellen & Dan Blalock, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Nancy Bleeker, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Deborah Botuck, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Joe Brennan, OSFS, St. John Neumann Catholic Community, Reston
Christine Cameron, Senior Warden, St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Reston
Phillip Carl, Christ the Servant Lutheran Church, Hunters Woods Plaza
The Rev. Laura D. Cochran, St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Reston
The Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon
Daniel Davis, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Michele Duchin-Watson, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Jo-Ann Duggan, St. John Neumann Catholic Community, Reston
The Rev. Dr. Martin Eldred, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Herndon
Maxine & Barry Ellior, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE)
Hurunnessa Fariad, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Randy Fleitman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Ava Flores, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Ramon Flores, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston
Fr. Donald Heet, OSFS, St. John Neumann Catholic Community, Reston
Josie Hertz-Ackerman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Bob Hoffman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Hillary Horn, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rizwan Jaka, Chair, Board, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Scott Johnson, Lead Pastor, Oakbrook Church, Reston
Lillian Kaminer, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Aaron Klaus, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Reverend Dr. Marcus Leathers, United Christian Parish
Michelle Light, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Imam Mohamed Magid, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Debbie Massey, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Allan McCullough, Grace Hill Church, Herndon
Pastor Jake McGlothin, Restoration Church, Dulles South
Jeff McKay, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Karen Menichelli, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Mayor Lisa Merkel, Town of Herndon
Rebecca Messman, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon
Fran Miller, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Barbara Miner, Pastor, Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon
Dianne Modell, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Pastor John Moyle, Oakbrook Church, Reston
Reverend Michelle Nickens, Washington Plaza Baptist Church, Reston
Sue Owens, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Jonathan Page, Herndon United Methodist Church, Herndon
Carole Parnes, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Nancy Pilchen, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Saif Rahman, Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
Michael Raizen, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Cantor Rachel Rhodes, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Bob Riggles, Floris United Methodist Church, Herndon
The Reverend Sean Roberds, First Baptist Church of Herndon, Herndon
Rabbi Jeffrey Saxe, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
K Scarry, First Baptist Church of Herndon, Herndon
Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Ileen Shefferman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Cantor Michael Shochet, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Joan Silverlieb, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Stephen Smith-Cobbs, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Herndon
The Rev. Dr. John D. Stonesifer, St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Reston
Mohammad Ahsan Ullah, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Rev. Rob Vaughn, Community of Faith United Methodist Church, Herndon
Rev. Tim Ward, Restoration Church, Reston
Edna Weitzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Donald Weitzman, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church
Rev. Hillary T. West, Epiphany Episcopal Church, Oak Hill



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