Fear! by: Rabbi Pesach Sommer

כל העולם כלו גשר צר מאד והעקר לא לפחד כלל

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Guest Post: Rabbi Pesach Sommer
Team Director-Team Just One Life at Just One Life

To me, it is the biggest problem facing the Orthodox world.

Fear of being different, of standing out, of being one of them.

It keeps us from being the kind of Jews we want to be, the kind of parents we know we can be, the person we must try and become.

It keeps our kids in broken schools, black hats on heads that no longer buy into the system, friendships from being developed.

Thoughts and ideas are kept inside, or expressed anonymously, or by people using pseudonyms.

We worry about getting our kids into the right schools, about shidduchim, about standing out.

We are the moral majority within the community, or at least I hope we are, but we remain powerless due to remaining silent, failing to join together, failing to bring the needed changes to our broken system.

I can’t play this game any longer. I can no longer be a coward, trying to please those who will not be satisfied with anything less than being exactly like them. 

I can’t change things by myself, but we can. We can start advocating for the types of shuls and schools and rabbis and institutions we and our families, and our communities want. No, not want. Need. 

We can refuse to play along, to remain silent with what exists, to keep our hearts and minds and dreams silenced.

I am afraid of what will happen, how I will be seen, of failing. 

I am more afraid of keeping silent, of constantly thinking “what if”, of being complicit in being part of the smallness that has become our community.

I am afraid, but I will not let that fear hold me back. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting despite the fear.

Join me. We can do it.

Link to Part II

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