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Mobilizing Hope

This last term of my Undergrad has been full of thought. I've been taking courses asking me to think about how I interact with people of different cultures, how to actively voice my opinions in society, and how to think about my role in the world as a Jewish-American and a human being. My Senior Capstone, Mobilizing Hope, was focused on social justice and what different faith traditions have to say about it. Through a number of readings, discussions, refelctions, and projects with community partners, we each explored these topics within our own faiths and the faiths of others. The final assignment of the class was to come up with a blog post. Here is mine! Check out everyone else's awesome reflections here.

Cowardice, like courage, is contagious.

By what we say and do,

We can spread darkness

Just as readily as we spread light.

History is not something that takes place elsewhere;

it takes place here;

we all contribute

to making it.

Don’t look for a moment of total triumph.

See engagement as an ongoing struggle,

With victories

and defeats.”

“Hope is believing

In spite of the evidence,

Then watching

The evidence change.”

“It is an orientation of

the spirit,

an orientation

of the heart.”

Either we have hope within us

or we don’t;

it is a dimension of

the soul

For to be free

is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way

that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

This past week I had been contemplating what I should do for the blog. I’m a graphic designer, so my initial thought was to express myself the way I know best – visually – but as I thumbed through the pages of the various texts we’ve been reading throughout this term I noticed that there were all of these amazing words I had highlighted. I felt inspired. The words spoke to me and that is how I came to the idea of writing a found poem.

Right now the Jewish people are celebrating Hanukkah (Jewish holiday also known as The Festival of Lights). Now, you might be wondering, “What does Hanukkah have to do with any of this class?” Well, let me tell you. The legend of Hanukkah is that the Greek King Antiochus destroyed the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. A group of Jewish rebels, led by Judah Macabbee, went to rededicate the temple but when they arrived they only found enough oil for one night. Miraculously the oil lasted for eight nights. This is called the miracle of Hanukkah. Like many Jewish myths and legends, our story includes the Jewish people facing the threat of destruction and a courageous soul stepping up to lead them to a miracle.

No, the Jewish people have not come under any new threats of destruction during my time in this course, but what I’ve been learning is that I do not need to wait for that threat. I am here and I am motivated, inspired, and young. I should not wait for something drastic to move me. I should choose to make the first move myself. Like the Jewish people, humans all over the world seem to be very reactive, rather than proactive. We need a terrible tsunami or war to prompt us to aid each other, when really we should be proactively striving to help one another. We like spectacles and grand gestures, but really the battle for humanity will be won through many small acts of kindness over a long period of time.

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