DAY 370: The Unity of Fireworks

July 5, 2013
By bethmordecai
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DAY 370: The Unity of Fireworks

Dear Hevreh,

Yesterday, I went up to Hoboken to view the fireworks. The city has become a popular place for July 4th over the last few years because of it’s proximity to the colorful display of joy over the Hudson River; popular to the tune of 40,000 spectators according to a local event staffer. As I waited for the show to begin, it struck me how many people from different races, religions, creeds, and ethnicities were gathered together peacefully for one (viewing) purpose…

  • An Indian family lying out on a blanket to my right trying to remain comfortable during the long wait

  • A Hispanic man standing next to me asking me to hold his spot while seeking out a better view

  • An African-American couple occupying a prime viewing location by the railing in front of me only to turn our views onto them when the man got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend near the beginning of the show

  • And a pair of Israeli couples standing directly in front of me enthralled with their young children saying “Wow, wow, wow!” to the beautiful display before them.

As an American, witnessing a microcosm of how we have become the most diverse country to ever exist in the world is a testament to the ideals of our nation to be a place endowing all people with a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As a religious person, sharing this moment of joy together within our diversity is a testament to the unity of life endowed by God. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “God is He who holds our fitful lives together, who reveals to us that what is empirically diverse in color, in interest, in creeds — races, classes, nations — is one in His eyes and in essence.”

As we enter Shabbat, a “helek l’olam haba – a taste of the world to come” let us be able to open our eyes to the beauty of the diversity of our nation and our world, and the strength to discover the unity embedded within it, even when that moment of unity is simply watching fireworks in the sky.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Ari Saks

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