Rabbi Alexandra Wright
17 June 2016
For Liberal Jews, the Torah portion this week opens with the instruction to light the seven-branch candlestick, the menorah ‘to give light at the front of the lampstand.’
In the wake of the brutal and horrific murder of Jo Cox Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen, the members of Liberal Judaism’s congregations unite in grief and deep sympathy for her husband, Brendan and for her two children, for her constituents and her fellow MPs.
When a working woman is murdered during her working day, in the midst of her constituency, a woman who brought energy, altruism and commitment to the plight of refugees through her work for Oxfam, compassion to her campaigning for the NSPCC and Save the Children, diligence and honesty to her work with her constituents, it is all too easy to give in to fear and threats and to live with the constant anxiety and sense of hopelessness that the world can ever become a better place.
In the current climate of bitter and corrosive division, we recall the lighting of the seven-branch candelabra, the menorah, and pledge ourselves to renewing the vision of our faith that all decent and good men and women, like Jo Cox, can be ‘a light to the nations’, faithful to the qualities and values that she embodied during her life: democracy and freedom, hard work and idealism, empathy, passion and peace.
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