Friday, December 21, 2012

Sandy Hook: Blame the Maya?

The goal of Table talk is to turn the Friday night dinner table into Shabbat experience. Please print and share.
20 Sandy Hook Teddy Bears

Someone asked me the other day if I was going to write about Sandy Hook Elementary School.

To be honest, I wasn’t.

What more can I offer for your table talk that hasn’t already been offered?

Half of the victims have yet to be buried; emotions are too raw. Words of comfort are what are needed.

There are no words. Maybe hugs.

But he insisted that you, dear reader, would want a table talk on this theme.

As I have noted in the wake of other calamities like the earthquakes in China, Haiti, and Japan, the daily level of human suffering in the world is high.

Since last Friday’s massacre, approximately 50 American children were killed with handguns.

Some of them are accidental, like the father who accidentally shot and killed his seven-year-old son in the gun store parking lot.

Today, some 16,000 young children died of starvation. Oh, and yesterday too. And the day before that.

Vibrant young Americans continue to return in body bags from Afghanistan, more than one per day, yet their photos never appear on the first page of the newspaper. Most of them don’t even appear on any page of the newspaper. (If you'd like to do the media's job and know their names, bookmark this page. If you want to gaze into their eyes, click here.)

American bombs – sent with your dollar and by your government – accidentally kill and maim  thousands of women, children and other innocents in Afghanistan, but we don’t see their pix or hear their names on NPR. Here's a site that tries to humanize this tragedy.

Yet unlike these daily tragedies, our collective grief for the angels of Sandy Hook reached such a level that Newtown had to open a special branch of the post office to handle the influx of care packages.

We’ve got big problems, but together, we have the wealth and knowledge to end hunger, eradicate many diseases and reduce violence.

But our wealth and knowledge has to be mobilized. Otherwise we’re back to auto-pilot.

So here are three questions for your Shabbat table… and I’ll venture one suggestion below.

Q1 – Why wasn’t the Batman massacre enough to get us moving?
Q2 – Do you think Newtown might be the same – all too soon forgotten?
Q3 – If you were personally moved to action by Sandy Hook, what would it take to get you to stay awake and not slip back into business-as-usual?

Jewishly, there is simply ethic that – should you choose to adopt it – will guarantee that you will put your money where your mouth is.

The ethic is – if you are really serious about doing something to help repair the world – right here and now make one commitment.

Commit - out loud - to give X percent of your net income for the rest of your life to worthy causes.

10-20 percent is the recommended range, but if that's above your comfort level, start with less. But make that commitment in this rare moment of clarify.

It’s hard to do, right?!!!

But if you will just do it, you might just find that not only will you heal the world, you’ll heal yourself.

Teach this to the kids: When you get 10 bucks, a dollar goes to the charity of your choice.
As I wrote in May, 2008, I’ve never met someone who didn’t want to leave the world better off than we found it. Anyone who has ever loved a child wants to. So here's a fourth and hopefully uplifting question for your table:

Is life on earth getting worse, or is the world in balance getting better?

Shabbat Shalom  

(PS – volunteer time counts)

(PPS - One of our biggest needs is demonstrably in the area of education.... How did the Maya, an abhorrent civilization of warfare and human sacrifice, become a respected source of futurism? Or any other wisdom? Should this man have been protected from himself? How about this one? Finally, read this and weep.)

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