How the Charlottesville March Reminded Me of My Favorite Havdalah Service

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

“A good week, a week of peace. May gladness reign and joy increase…”

These are the words Reform Jews sing during Havdalah, the ceremony observed Saturday evening at sundown to mark the end of Shabbat. We gather together to sing and to pray, passing around a snifter of fragrant spices to soothe the soul as we say goodbye to Shabbat, the day of rest, and welcome a new week.

Joining in Havdalah services at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., made for some of the most powerful and profound moments of my Jewish experience. On Friday evening, as I watched videos of neo-Nazis wielding torches and chanting slurs at the Jefferson memorial in Charlottesville, I am struck by some of the parallels – and the vast differences those parallels present.

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