Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, January 21, 2022

I lead the Monday morning minyan at Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael.  Before the Kaddish D’Rabbanan, we always have a Talmud lesson.  Rabbi Rubin summarizes the Daf Yomi (the page of the Talmud according to a schedule that we read one page of the Talmud every day) on every day except Monday.  I try on Monday to search a passage of the Talmud that relates to the Torah portion.  This week’s Torah portion is Yitro, which contains the Ten Commandments.  Last Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and I sought to find a connection with King to the Ten Commandments.  It was easier than I thought.

In April 1963, King spelled out a radical strategy to change culture in his book, Why We Can’t Wait.  Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by King’s “Ten Commandments.”

  1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
  6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
  8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Malik Faisal Akram, the gunman at Congregation Beth Israel at Colleyville, did not heed King’s ten commandments, especially numbers two, three, six, and eight.  We thank God the congregants escaped unscathed, but it was due to the training they underwent.  But the close scrape in Colleyville (the most recent violent attack on a synagogue), leads me to formulate the ten commandments of security:

  1. Hire a guard.
  2. Install metal detectors.
  3. Install multiple panic buttons linked to the police departments
  4. Unlock all of the doors to the outside.
  5. Undergo security training.
  6. Ensure that you have an escape route.
  7. Install a keypad.
  8. Ensure you have cellphone at your fingers.
  9. Get Homeland Security grant.
  10. Trust the security teachers.

 I am not an expert in security.  Maybe you can come with additions or subtractions.  We open our doors to the community, and we have occasionally guests from the community.  It would be shame to lose the openness.  When the pandemic ends and we are in the sanctuary, we need to balance security with the openness.