Thursday, November 10, 2011

What should we do?

 Recently a patient asked me what I thought about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I mumbled something about how I admired the courage to speak out against injustice and inequity but how I worried that their message was being dissipated by a motley group of folks without a clear goal.

I soon realized that was a cop-out.  What movement is well formed from its outset?  What change is brought about in a tidy fashion?  I soon wished I had said something different.

Then at a recent prayer service at my synagogue, Larchmont Temple, I read the following in the siddur, or prayerbook, written by Rabbi Sydney Chayet, a professor of history and a poet:

We oughtn't pray for what we've never known,
and humanity has never known:
unbroken peace,
unmixed blessing.
Better to pray for pity,
for indignation, 
the will to see and touch,
the power to do good and make new.

What Occupy Wall Street might represent for many is in fact this holy indignation, this drive for improvement and for a more moral and meaningful life.  We should be proud and pray for more people like these who are agitated  and discontent and are asking us to look for better ways to make our socity anew. Stepping out of our comfort zones and into a place that is uncertain, but certain in its pursuit of justice and fairness, is a healthy thing.  I would encourage my patient, my children and my friends to go find out what they have to say and what can be carried back home, to school and to the workplace.

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