Recently, Jonathan King asked me if I was familiar with a song composed by two students who survived the massacre February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I was not. So he sent me a link to “Shine.”
I found the song incredibly moving. I felt sorrow at the pain expressed by teenagers who witnessed the killing of their friends. I also felt deep admiration for their determination to not let these murders define them. They sing, though the killer “may have brought the dark, but together we will shine the light.”
Jonathan, has lived a significant period of time in South Florida, not far from MSD. He asked me whether he could share Shine with our congregation and I readily agreed. He will do so during tonight’s Shabbat Service.
I have decided that in addition to Shine, other protest songs will permeate our worship. Some are drawn from the tradition of American songs about injustice. Others are from contemporary Jewish songwriters.
Songs that protest hatred and that speak honestly about cruelty and grief can tear at our insides. But when they also offer messages of inspiration, our spirits are lifted. May our service tonight banish a measure of the darkness that surrounds us and shine a bright light of hope and harmony.