Love, shaken, fear.


Rabbi Brian

A modern-day rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission.


Fear is real. Fear does terrible things to us.

Fear can transform our rational, mammalian brains  into reptilian, fight-flight-flee, us-versus-them brains.

Fear – as many are experiencing right now – paralyzes us and robs us of our very humanity.

Fear makes us scattered.

I have been scattered in the past few days.

A year ago there was anti-Semitic chalk graffiti outside my house.

This week there were people marching with torches and calling for firebombing of synagogues.

I handled the one-off incident outside my home by calling people to combat hate with love. #lovealwayswins

I wasn’t so scared a year ago.

Today, I’m scared.

Something has been triggered in me. It is as if generational trauma has been re-awoken.

I’m scattered.

Having a hard time focusing.

Feeling terrified.

I know I am not alone. Many others whose lives or lineage have contained trauma are telling me they feel the same way.

A few weeks ago, I had the old-German script inscribed in the prayer book given to my grandfather before he left Germany in 1928 decoded.


Hamburg. 24 Oct. 1928
My good and dear Ernst,
Take this little book with you on your journey and read it. When you read this there will be no more storms. May only sunshine accompany you on your life’s journey. Do enjoy life’s passages every day and also my loved ones. May life be easier for you and may the sunshine again. I am wishing you this from the bottom of my heart – your eternally loving mother and grandmother – all be kissed for 100 years and more – from your mother and grandmother.

Reading these words written by my great and great-great grandmothers reminded me of some words of Hafiz that a dear one sent me this week in an attempt to give me a morale boost:

I should not make any promises right now,
But I know if you
Somewhere in this world –
Something good will happen.

I don’t feel like praying.

Perhaps that is what I should do.

I really don’t want to.

But perhaps that is what I should do.

Say a little prayer.

What else is there for me to do?

I’ve written letters to local and federal representatives, donated to free-speech causes, attended vigils, and made plans for continuing those activities.

Maybe saying a little prayer could help?

How can it not?

So I will offer two prayers – one of Hafiz and one of my own.




Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions,
For your mother and my mother
Were friends.
I know the Innkeeper
In this part of the universe.
Get some rest tonight,
Come to my verse again tomorrow.
We’ll go speak to the Friend together.
I should not make any promises right now,
But I know if you
Somewhere in this world –
Something good will happen.
God wants to see
More love and playfulness in your eyes
For that is your greatest witness to Him.
Your soul and my soul
Once sat together in the Beloved’s womb
Playing footsie.
Your heart and my heart
Are very, very old


Oh, God.
Please help me.
Please help me find some calm.
Please help me remove some of my fear.
Please help me find love in my heart again.

I am afraid of so much. Being scared, seeing “them” as the enemy, feeling like the victim is being blamed – it is almost too much to bear.

Help me receive love so the playfulness in my eyes can shine.
Help me feel the sunshine again.
Help me feel the eternal love around me.
Help me help others see that it is not hate that is ripping us apart, but fear.



So, my dear one, I should not make any promises right now.
But, I will ask you, what would you pray for?




The article I wrote last year about the graffiti outside my house.

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