Letter from Rabbi Ross

Rabbi Michael RossDear TBS friends and family,

This week all TBS folks are invited to join Hillel’s Shabbat gathering at 5:30 pm. Our theme this week is “Israel Shabbat.” We will light candles, sing a few songs, and have a student dvar torah. We will also honor the second anniversary of the Pittsburgh shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill.


As I mentioned in both my Yom Kippur sermon and my Hudson Hub article, voting this year is not optional; it’s a mitzvah! In honor of the Pittsburgh victims and in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburgh, we must participate in this essential act of democracy.

I have been spending time the past few weeks exploring the spiritual nature of democracy, and how we take for granted the freedoms and liberties that we have experienced. Mordecai Kaplan came up with the term “civil religion” to describe how Americans celebrate our shared sense of community. This “civil religion” is part of our Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day and 4th of July celebrations. Our shared sense of civil society has ruptured. I hope our communal connections will lead us to a desire to rebuild a sense of civility.

These are fraught times, and besides taking some time off for rest during Shabbat, if you need a listening ear on Election Day or after the results of the election, I am always available to chat by phone or zoom. I will be holding special extended office hours for anyone who needs a listening ear in the next week or two. Send me an email or text, 310-569-6329, and we can set up a meeting time.

My hope today is with us, our community. As I voted last week, I felt a tiny bit of hope for us in northeast Ohio. I am realistic to the possible outcomes. I think most of us are. That’s what’s different this year. We won’t be surprised in the same way we were in 2016. Our radar is set for a broad array of possible outcomes, while we hold out our desire for our favored results.

I attended a webinar with Reform rabbis earlier this week and their encouragement to us was to get out the vote, and to do everything possible to encourage a full, complete counting of all election ballots.

Rabbi’s New Book Group,”Caste,” Sun 11/15, 1 pm!

I am forming a new book group to read and discuss Isabel Wilkerson’s new book, “Caste: The Origin of our Discontents.” This book looks at the structure of hatred and discrimination in America, Nazi Germany, and India.

She is a historian and writer, who has developed a new perspective on the institutional nature of oppression in this country. She also wrote the award-winning “Warmth of Other Suns.”

The group will meet November 15 at 1:00 pm. Please get a copy of the book and read through the first 100 pages. If there’s desire, we will have a second session on this book as well.

SAVE THE DATE – Virtual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service 11/22, 7 pm

The clergy of Hudson will join together in gratitude at our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. As we face the challenges of the coming election, the clergy of Hudson have planned to come together in unison to represent our community. Please join Rev. Peter Wiley, Rev. Charlotte Collins Reed, and me for a virtual interfaith gathering of hope and peace, the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving.

Upcoming TBS November Gatherings

Sat. 11/14, 9:30 am: Torah for Our Times
Fri. 11/6 & 11/20, 7:30 pm: Zoom Shabbat Service B’yachad
Sun. 11/15, 1pm: Rabbi’s Book Group – “Caste”
Sun. 11/22, 7pm: Virtual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service