This D’var Torah, or “word of Torah,” is a guest post by Deedee Jacobsohn, a member of the JUFJ Campaign Fund’s Montgomery County core team.
The haftarah for this week’s portion of Eikav comes from Isaiah; it is known as the Second Haftorah of Consolation, because this is the second of the seven weeks between Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah. In the Jewish calendar, we are moving from the despair of Tisha B’Av to the joy of the approaching new year, when we start afresh with hope for new beginnings.
We are living in challenging times, and I am sure that over the last year, each of us has experienced feelings of despair. At times, despair has seemed the only reasonable response to any number of devastating events, especially at the national level. And yet out of the ashes of destruction, this week’s Haftorah of Consolation reminds us that we can find comfort and hope in unity.
In the words of Isaiah, “Let us stand up together. Who would be my opponent? Let him approach me!” (Isaiah 50:8)
In our context, our opponents are those who place stumbling blocks on the road to equity and justice. Our opponents are those seeking office to protect narrow interests instead of working towards the systemic changes necessary to provide security and opportunity for the entire community. The recent primary election has shown us that by working together we can defeat our opponents. True, not all our candidates succeeded. But the work we did through the JUFJ Campaign Fund clearly illustrated our values and priorities, putting other candidates on notice that we will continue to focus on these issues long after the election is over. And when, together, we succeed in nominating politicians who share our values and goals, we make progress by electing politicians who will work with us to remove stumbling blocks and take steps to make real change in the world.
Isaiah’s words also provide a kind of reassurance for the future:
Listen to Me, you who pursue justice,
You who seek the LORD:
Look to the rock you were hewn from,
To the quarry you were dug from
Look back to Abraham your father
And to Sarah who brought you forth.
For he was only one when I called him,
But I blessed him and made him many.
Each of us started as only one. But the JUFJ Campaign Fund brought us together as many, a blessing which enabled us to accomplish together what one person alone could not. From the first, the thorough endorsement process worked because of the dedicated team supporting each step—staff, board members, and volunteers. I personally benefited from the teamwork behind co-hosting a successful house party for Kate Stewart. And as we’ll see, simply by the numbers, we multiplied our impact by working together.
As this was my first time participating in C4 work, I read the words of Isaiah and saw another kind of promise for the future. Each of us was one when we were called to this work; may we be blessed so that each of us is made into many: to continue to attract new people to join our campaign, to amplify our impact, and to increase the number of elected officials who support our purpose and values. In this way we will continue to come closer to a community that provides justice and equity for all.