Now that we have entered the Hebrew month of Elul, some of us, depending on where we live, hear a strange sound in the morning. In most orthodox neighborhoods, the shofar (ram’s horn) is blown every day. The purpose of this is to awaken us from our complacency.

The shofar is normally blown on the High Holy Days to shake us up, startle us, call us to the action of repentance and then to finally announce the end of the Yom Kippur fast.

In times of trouble, the shofar was blown to announce danger, call the community together, and sometimes to announce the new month. The startling sound of the shofar seems extremely relevant today. So much of what we hear on the news, read in the papers, see on Facebook and the internet warn of the problems in our country. The blast of the shofar startles us to action. But what action?

We need to write letters, sign petitions, come together at rallies and marches. We need to call our politicians and let them hear from us. Let them know what we like that they are doing and let them know what we feel needs to be done.

Change will not happen if we sit back and do nothing.

You don’t have to be Jewish to hear the call to action. You just have to care. You have to want to be a participant in the society we live in.

During the March on Wasington, Rabbi Heschel (who marched with Martin Luther King) said he was praying with his feet. What an incredibly spiritual moment that must have been. Many of our religious leaders are preparing for the 1,000 Minister’s March for Justice which will be held on August 28th in our Nation’s Capital. It will be a chance to Pray with their Feet.

On September 30th, there will be a March for Racial Justice, also in our Nation’s Capital. This is an opportunity for groups, organizations and individuals to stand together for racial justice in Washington, DC. The gathering is at Lincoln Park beginning at 10 am. More information is available on their Facebook page “March for Racial Justice.” This march takes place on Yom Kippur, so many Jewish voices will not be heard. Many of us rabbis have asked that our congregants pray for a peaceful and just march or that if you do not plan to attend a religious service, to join with our brothers and sisters in this march.

The call to action, whether it be the shofar, the bugle, a reply to the actions in our nation, is a real call. We must take action. If we do not stand together against hate and injustice, who are we? Our voices must be heard. Our lives depend upon it. Not just our physical lives, but our spiritual lives. It is impossible to sit by and let the hatred that has been stirred up in our nation (and around the world) continue. There is no room for it in our lives and the lives of the children. It is our spiritual obligation to do something.

Do what you can. Extend yourself just a little bit farther than usual. Change can only happen if we make it happen. We need to use our voices, our feet, and our prayers to make a difference.

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