This weekend, I went with my family to the Havdalah service at our temple. Havdalah is a celebration of the end of the Sabbath, a quiet, simple, beautiful service that ends with extinguishing an interwoven candle in a cup of wine.
We were there with other Fourth Grade parents to watch the kids reenact Havdalah Hispana, a study of the Sephardic Jewish traditions that flourished in Spain. The kids spoke about the hundreds of years of convivencia, peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Jews and Christians in Spain from the eighth Century until 1492, the start of the Spanish Inquisition.
At the end of the service, standing holding hands in a circle surrounded by friends and strangers, practicing shared rituals, I felt safer, more at home, and a part of something bigger than myself.
And at that moment I couldn’t help but think how, at that same moment, in every single mosque in all of the United States, congregants were probably feeling less safe, less certain, less secure. That is why I am so angry, and why what is happening feels so counter to the ideals and the values for which this country stands.
And I ask myself:
Do the people supporting the Muslim Ban not understand the impact of what they are doing?
Or do they not care?
Or worse, is this exactly what they want?
The answer to these questions will help us understand the best ways to respond.