Erev Kol Nidre – Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann

In that precarious and fraught mixture of religion and politics, this past year there was a beautiful moment when, at the Democratic National Convention, a great booming man, the Reverend William Barber, took the dais and said, “They tell me that when the heart is in danger, somebody has to call an emergency code. And somebody with a good heart will bring a defibrillator to work on the bad heart.  Because it is possible to shock a bad heart and revived the pulse. In the season, when some want to harden and stop the heart of our democracy, we are being called like our foremothers and forefathers to be the moral defibrillator of our time.”

The moral defibrillators of our time. The posts, dozens of them, starting a week or two before Rosh HaShannah: “ordinarily I hate it when rabbis mix politics and Torah, but this year I need my Jewish leaders and community to be talking about what’s happening in our world. Rabbi, will you please, please, this year, talk politics from the bima…”

I’m grateful for all your calls for #realtalk from the bima– it would have felt spiritually irresponsible to us to not talk about the profound moral crisis that happening in our country– the frightening resurgence of white supremacy and white nationalism, the ongoing assault against minorities, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people, the environment, the poor, and social and political climate that flies in the face of core Jewish values, including little things like basic decency, human dignity, and quite often, truth.

But here’s the thing: Tonight as we struck our hearts for the first time of five opportunities for confessions in the coming day, we’re not striking our chests and saying “For the sin Donald Trump committed by wanton glances, sexual immorality, and false speech.”  Nope, rather this is a day for taking personal ownership for our role in the way things are. As individuals and as part of a community.  Answering God’s call Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Ayekah?” God says. Where are YOU?

And what’s the state of our heart?

Something that I’ve noticed since last year at this time is that I think our hearts have become tired.  And it’s hard to us be the moral defibrillators of our time when our hearts are tired.

So I want to ask us tonight:

  • Why does our heart stop/lose its pulse? Why does our heart get tired?
  •  How do we wake up the heart to the suffering and brokenness around us so that we can be the forces of change and vision we want to be in the world?

How does the heart fall asleep?

Why do any of us fall asleep? Fatigue!

Remember back to last year at this time, many of us at this point last year had invested our hearts in the presidential campaign, donating for Bernie, campaigning for Hillary, libertarians and Republicans saying #NeverTrump, figuring out who to write in, or how to defend the Republican nominee. And when Trump won, for many people, the air went completely out of our sails. We lost hope– hope in our democracy, hope in your ability to effect change, lost motivation to do anything. Some people took to the streets in protest and marches, fired up, angry. But more people cried with a few friends over a beer, shaking their heads in disbelief, unable to get re-energized. The heart gets tired.

Makes me think about Abraham, who when put to the test and asked to sacrifice his own beloved child, said nothing. How, we wonder, would Abraham, the guy who argues with God to save the good people of Sodom and Gemorra, on fire with holy chutzpah and righteous moral indignation, saying to God, “Won’t a God of justice do justice for these people?” … how did this spiritual warrior not stand up to God and say, “Hell no, I won’t do it. This is inhumane, unthinkable, unjust? I conscientiously object!”

It just occurred to me this year… He was tired. He lost that argument about Sodom and Gemorrah. The town was destroyed. That loss broke his heart. I can imagine him thinking to himself, even in the face of this great affront to his family…  “What’s the point? Why bother.”

There’s a phenomenon called Compassion Fatigue (which is exactly what it sounds like). When we heard about Hurricane Harvey, barreling through Houston, the nation was braced and attentive. Millions of people made donations and watched in horror and rapt attention as pictures of people helped each other into row boats out of the 2nd story of their houses and sought shelter. Then Irma, then a massive deadly earthquake in Mexico. By the time three million US citizens in Puerto Rico continue to be without power for almost a week, their homes destroyed too, the media has all but moved on, and so have we. Fewer donations to the Red Cross. Not to mention the ongoing genocide of the Rohinga people on the other side of the world. Not to mention the shootings every day right here in our own city. We’re tired.

We’re tired of being asked to take care of people. We’ll settle for being entertained by the President’s new obsession with insulting professional athletes. At a certain point, we just can’t take any more in.

On a personal level, this year we had our hearts broken. And you know how annoying it is when someone says in the face of that brokenness, “You’ll love again, don’t worry! You’ll be back out there in no time!” When our heart has been broken, quite often the last thing we want to do is get back out there.

We’re tired.

But let’s say it’s not fatigue. Or not only fatigue. Why does the heart fall asleep? Maybe we’re too comfortable.

Over and over throughout the book of Dvarim, Deuteronomy, God says to the Israelites, “circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants.”

Interesting metaphor, the imagery of cutting away the covering over our hearts. It appears again and again throughout Torah, but especially in this final book. What’s that about? Why are we in need of intentionally exposing our heart?

“So it shall be,” Moses says, “when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full—  then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 6:11)

It seems that comfort and affluence are a spiritual liability, put us at risk of forgetting where we came from.

4000 years ago, a Jew by the name of Moses led the first strike of bricklayers at the Pyramids, and since then our sacred mission became to oppose Pharoahs whenever we encounter them, to side with the stranger, the orphan, the widow, the oppressed person, because not long ago that was us!

100 years ago my Grandpa Lazer Wachs came here with hundreds of thousands of Jews fleeing state-sanctioned, anti Semitic, violence, poverty, and war in Euproe…

Those Jews were leaders in the Labor Rights movement, the Women’s Rights movement–  Emma Lazarus, Bella Abzug. Who are our Jewish Jewish leaders today?? Jared and Ivanka?? How comfort and affluence put the heart to sleep, make us forget where we came from and what our sacred mission is in the world. So, the Torah says, cut away the thickening that separates your heart from the world around you.

If we’re being honest, Jews in America are now less like downtrodden and oppressed Israelite and more like the average Egyptian, land owner, the employer. And the average Egyptian wasn’t Pharaoh but benefitted from Pharaoh’s system. Was not part of the revolution because the average Egyptian was comfortable. And that meant that even if they perceived that something wasn’t right, they somehow never found time to protest.

Martin Luther King wrote in A Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”

We are so comfortable that we can, the words of Ruth Messinger, retreat to the convenience of being overwhelmed, we can simply afford not to be bothered, to prefer order and comfort over wakefulness.

But it is a precarious comfort. Which leads me to the last reason why our hearts close down.

Why does the heart fall asleep?


You know how scary it feels to type anything out on social media, knowing your words will be immortalized for eternity, for all family, future employers, potential friends or lovers to see… We fear of being called out, being wrong, if you change your mind later, being accused of being inconsistent or ignorant…  many of us are paralyzed and unable to take a moral stand because when we put ourselves out there we open ourselves up to criticism … so we don’t take that risk.

And as long as we’re a Jewish community having this conversation I want to do a somewhat risky thing and talk about the fear that many Jews have with regard to talking openly about their thoughts and questions on Israel and Palestine.

I met a bright, really sweet young Jewish woman last year who had graduated from a prestigious local university, been very involved in Jewish life on campus, and could not find a job eight months after graduation, and was deeply depressed. She couldn’t find a job because if you Google her name, her picture and a bio come up on a website that documents “people and organizations promoting hatred of the US, Israel and the Jewish people.” This website, funded by right wing pro-Israel donors, would destroy this young woman’s life and career future because of her politics in college?  This is part of an overall culture of intimidation that not only students but Jews in general feel about expressing sympathy with Palestinians or even mentioning the word Palestine in Jewish space, let alone be involved in anything but mainstream pro-Israel activism.

On the flipside of the same coin, at the Dyke March this summer in Chicago, women who wanted to proudly wear their identities as Jews and queer people, were asked to leave because the sign they carried– which was a pride rainbow with a Star of David in the middle– felt to other marchers like a trigger, like Zionism in their space, and that, they deemed incompatible with the other identities present. More than one Israeli speaker, not even there to talk about Israel, has been shouted off of campus stages for simply being Israeli.

This is shameful. We have become fragile and fearful because we get shouted down, asked to leave, intimidated, and wrestle with the threat of having our funding pulled or losing donors, if we speak our minds.

Jewish organizations maneuver within a very narrow window for what a relationship with Israel may look like. Afraid to lose funding, organizations keep quiet as the two-state solution is chipped away, as liberal secular democracy is increasingly threatened as women and non-Haredi Jews, including rabbis, are edged out of public religious life by the right-wing, state-run rabbanut. Words like “the occupation” and Palestine continue to be taboo in mainstream Jewish settings, making it impossible to even talk about changing the status quo.  

And then the organized Jewish community wonders why young Jews seem disinterested in Jewish life. It’s either become so shrill and polarizing and intimidating, or alternatively so sanitized and vanilla, that there’s no place to authentically be one’s self, or even ask questions.

And so the heart closes down.

We know that the heart closes down. So then how do we wake it up?

What’s our moral defibrillator?

In response to fatigue…

Believe it or not, I actually support binge-watching the new season of Transparent or Game of Thrones. REST. Rest is the antidote to fatigue. This is the golden age of television– there are a lot of really good shows out there right now, and very often, that’s all the motivation we can muster when the world is this Ffff-akakt. Which is Yiddish for exactly what it sounds like.

So curl up with a good book, and get a massage, learn Talmud in the S & M bet midrash or finally get on that meditation practice, Shabbos services, that you’ve been wanting to do for a decade… do whatever it is that constitutes self-care for you.

Many people in the justice sector will say that burn-out happens because the drive to constantly resist, oppose, activate, and protest is so relentless. So resist burnout by tuning out and getting back in touch with your self– not apologizing for it or feeling like it’s some kind of moral compromise. Know that rest is holy.

But be careful. Rest does lead to recovery, but remember the ratio of Shabbos to chol is 1:6… too much of a good thing is actually a problem: you’ve gotta be careful because rest can lead to comfort.

And being too comfortable, as you remember, is the 2nd deadly sin.

So how do we counteract comfort? Well, we need to be uncomfortable.

It’s been said that the purpose of religion is to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable. And to afflict comfortable… again and again.

Think of what we’re doing here today. The Torah tells us on Yom Kippur, “initem et nafshoteichem.” Afflict your souls. How is it that affliction leads to atonement? Well, maybe for the first time all year we will become just uncomfortable enough, just raw enough to be a little more sensitive, circumcise our hearts–  to feel our own suffering, and the suffering of others. It’s hard to go to sleep when you’re hungry, aren’t wearing comfortable shoes and the person next to you didn’t put on deodorant or brush their teeth tomorrow morning. The heart can’t help but be more awake when it’s made to be uncomfortable– vulnerable.

Dr. Brene Brown talks about how loathe we are as Americans to feel discomfort, vulnerability. When we feel that creeping feeling of discomfort we medicate, we eat, we change the subject, change the channel… anything to avoid feeling the pain of vulnerability. But going there, that is the only way for the healing to happen.

Three weeks ago when Neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville the heart of Jewish people in America woke up, again, this time because we were among the targeted. It’s hard to feel comfortable with Nazis marching in the streets with torches shouting “Jews will not replace us,” We were shaken out of our comfort. To the extent that we may think we have assimilated into the great melting pot, this was a reminder that the melting pot is still more like a salad bowl, and there are still those those picking out the parts they don’t like, us, alongside other minorities targeted by white supremacists. But sometimes discomfort is the necessary thorn in our side to get us to wake us up.

But the most important response to the closing down of the heart, is the response to fear. And what I want to say to us tonight is that response to being afraid, is not to not be afraid- that’s not possible- the response to fear is purpose.

Every day during the month of Elul we read Psalm 27, which begins like this “Adonai ori v’ishee, mi mi irah? Adonai ma’oz cha’yai… mi’mi efchad?” God is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? God is the strength of my life… whom shall I dread?”

What does it mean for God to be your stronghold and your light,… and therefore to fear no one? To be fully awake and fully alive?

I believe it means, despite fatigue, despite being comfortable, that you know your God-given purpose, and it guides you, and despite everything you may fear you have to lose.

I am a person who, my entire life needed 8 hours of sleep to function. Even 7.5 and I’d be falling asleep in the afternoon, having a hard time focusing. Many of you know I recently had a kid. I’m lucky now if I get 5 or 6 hours, non-consecutively, between the waking up every time he snorts or coughs, to actually getting out of bed in the middle of the night to feed him. And somehow I’m able to function. It’s because I suddenly have a purpose beyond myself that motivates me beyond my individual needs. It gets me moving, it is hard, and it is deeply satisfying.

But I also know that this is a temporary state. At a certain point, my kid won’t need me in the same way and what then? I, and we, yearn to have purpose that transcends a particular relationship– whether it’s our spouses or our children or our parents… to be part of something bigger.

Another quote from Rev Dr. King: “You may be 38, as I happen to be. And some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you’ll lose your job, or afraid you’ll be criticized or lose popularity or that somebody will stab you, or shoot you, or bomb your house; so you refuse to take the stand. And you may go on living til you’re 90 but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. You died when you refused to stand up, for right, for truth, for justice.”

PURPOSE gives us a reason to wake up in the morning and transcends a particular campaign or political moment. It’s who you are in the world. Underneath our daily obsessions with our bodies and status and comfort. Maimonides says about the sound of the shofar: Awake Awake sleepers! Awake from frivolous pursuits that consume your waking days and focus on what matters, on the truth.”

Purpose is what you get when you consider how you want to be written about in your obituary. What you will be satisfied knowing, as you lay on your deathbed, that you spent your life doing. What side of history you stood on. The truth is that we will all end up there, and we want to have lived purposeful lives when we do.

I’m not here to tell you what your purpose should be. Remember the story of Zusha, lying on his death bed. He cried to his students and they said, “Reb Zusha, why do you cry?” and he said when I die God will not ask me, Why were not more like Abraham, or Isaac or Jacob. God will ask me, Why were you not Zusha? And I won’t have an answer.”

So tonight, my friends, we begin a day of profound rest– Shabbat Shabbaton- the Shabbos of all shabbos’s– and a day of profound discomfort… today is a rare opportunity to awaken your heart, and our collective heart. And in this sanctuary, this holy container for growth and connection in the safe space of community, I invite you to consider your personal mission statement, your purpose.

So that when we go back out into the world tomorrow night, our hearts are awake to the world, awake to its brokenness and prepared to bring all of ourselves to its healing. Lord knows, there’s never been a better time.

May you all be inscribed in the book of life and health this year, and the book of heart.


Intro to the Yom Kippur Torah Reading – Rabbi Lauren

We know what taking responsibility for our own personal screw-ups looks like, at least in theory. You go to another person, you apologize, you make amends, hopefully you find a way to heal the relationship.

But what about when an entire system is at fault? What if there’s no one person who is guilty, but an entire community or an entire society? And what if that guilt stretches back in history for generations, so that none of the original perpetrators are still alive – but the effects still remain?  Reverend Jim Wallis wrote that white supremacy and racism are America’s original sin, built into the very foundation of our country, and never honestly reckoned with.

And whether it’s racism, or climate change, or group dynamics issue in a family or a workplace, addressing systemic challenges is way more complex and thorny than fixing or removing one problematic piece.

I want to look at this morning’s Torah reading as somewhat of a guidebook for the process of taking individual responsibility for a collective issue, at any level.  We’re about to read the section from Leviticus that describes the rituals the high priest would perform in the Temple on Yom Kippur to atone for the entire Israelite community. And I’ll tell you – most years when I read this, my eyes glaze over and I tune out after the 1st aliyah. It reads way more like an ancient cookbook than a compelling narrative, and when it starts talking about all of the different animals that are sacrificed and the process of the confessions, I zone out.  I can imagine for the folks who were witnessing what was going on, it’s incredibly intense – there’s drama, and blood, and it’s visceral in a way that reading about it in a foreign language just doesn’t capture. But here’s what jumps out at me as important for our learning:

  1. Aaron started with confessing his sins first, and we’ve gotta clean our own houses first. You can’t call out others for what they’re doing wrong until you’ve completed (in the words of the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”) a “searching and fearless moral inventory” yourself. So the process begins with looking at our own personal spheres of influence, our own actions, and our own families, even as we’re tempted to wage critique outward.
  2. Once Aaron’s completed his own personal confession, you think he’d be done, and he can move on to making confessions for the sins of the priests. But that’s not how it works – in confession number 2 for the rest of the priests,  he goes back and confesses his own actions a second time around. It’s just true that no one can be morally insulated from a group of which they are a part. Their actions affect his own standing, and he is seen in public as a representative of them, even if he is personally blameless. It’s the reason why we’re embarrassed and ashamed when other Jews do something morally reprehensible, and for those of us who are white and think of ourselves as “the good ones,” why we have an even greater responsibility to engage on issues of race publicly, to not let the actions of extremists cancel out our public voice. The ritual is telling us – it doesn’t work like this. You are connected to your groups, and the work is not to cast off that connection or disregard it, but to take responsibility for it.
  3. This was NOT a clean ritual – Aaron would get messy and dirty in the process. To really do atonement – to right deep wrongs – there’s no way to do it and keep your own hands clean. You’re going to mess up, a lot, in trying to rectify your behaviors and actions. It takes courage to keep pushing toward a better solution and not get bogged down.
  4. And finally, your responsibility actually doesn’t extend to the ends of the earth. There is a limit to what each of us can do. Aaron’s personal confession didn’t extend to the level of the entire Israelite community – he could facilitate the process for them, confessing their sins, but he wasn’t personally responsible for each and every one of them – God was.


On RH, I spoke about the concept of sanctuary playing out as a fractal – you can find sanctuary on every level, from the sanctuary of the world to Sanctuary Cities to your home, called a mikdash me’at, to the very human soul.  Each a system, each a place to act, to begin to effect transformation that has ripple effects to all of the other levels. And right now is the moment where we focus on this community, the Mishkan community, and where we have the ability to make powerful change that ripples outward.

During this Torah reading, we’re going to be calling up a number of different mini-communities, squads, and teams within Mishkan. Each of these groups is responsible for a different sphere that is essential for the functioning of the whole system, and each of them is devoted to creating a more knowledgeable, more connected, more healthy, more activated community as a whole. We’re excited to honor these dedicated folks who have committed to taking deep responsibility for the community they want to build, and hope that seeing them up here will inspire those of you who haven’t yet found where you’d like devote your time and energy to see your place as a part of the greater whole this year.

Introduction to Yizkor -Rabbi Lauren

We’re moving now into the Yizkor service, prayers for our loved ones that are no longer in this world with us. Some people may have the custom, if their parents are still alive, to leave the sanctuary now, and if it’s your custom to leave, by all means do so. But if it’s not, or whether you’re wondering whether to stay or leave, I encourage you to stay, to be part of the container holding space for others to feel their losses and to say amen to their kaddish, and to explore losses of your own.

I want to share a few reflections with you from a writer named Kathryn Schulz, who wrote a piece a few months ago about experiencing a number of seemingly unrelated losses. I’ll read a few excerpts from her essay [full length version here], woven in between the prayers in the Yizkor service. Bear with me – it’s a little long, but I think it speaks to some truth about what brings us in this room together, today.

One summer, while living in Portland, Schulz starts inexplicably losing ordinary objects almost every day: her car keys, her house keys, her wallet, and then the bike lock, and then her gigantic truck somewhere in downtown Portland. Kathryn calls up her sister, a cognitive psychologist, who tells her all sorts of scientific and psychological explanations for why she might be losing all of this stuff, most of which are unhelpful and unsatisfying.

And then, a few years later, she experienced another season of losses. She writes:

“My father, in addition to being scatterbrained and mismatched and menschy and brilliant, is dead. I lost him, as we say, in the third week of September, just before the autumn equinox…So began my second, darker season of losing things. Three weeks after my father died, so did another family member, of cancer. Three weeks after that, my home-town baseball team lost the World Series—an outcome that wouldn’t have affected me much if my father hadn’t been such an ardent fan. One week later, Hillary Clinton, together with sixty-six million voters, lost the Presidential election.”

It doesn’t really make sense that we use the same word to describe totally trivial but frustrating losses like car keys and sports games, and also use it to describe the final loss of death. Schulz writes, “With objects, loss implies the possibility of recovery; in theory, at least, nearly every missing possession can be restored to its owner. That’s why the defining emotion of losing things isn’t frustration or panic or sadness but, paradoxically, hope. With people, by contrast, loss is not a transitional state but a terminal one. Outside of an afterlife, for those who believe in one, it leaves us with nothing to hope for and nothing to do. Death is loss without the possibility of being found.”

“For weeks, I slogged on like this, through waves of actual and anticipatory grief. I couldn’t stop conjuring catastrophes, political and otherwise. I felt a rising fear whenever my mother didn’t answer her phone, hated to see my sister board an airplane, could barely let my partner get in a car. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I started going on walks, looking for my dad.”

“Some days, I merely said to myself that I wanted to get out of the house; other days, I set about searching for him as deliberately as one would go look for a missing glove. Because I find peace and clarity in nature, I did this searching outdoors, sometimes while walking, sometimes while out on a run. I did not expect, of course, that along the way I would encounter my father again in his physical form. To the extent that I thought about it at all, I thought that through sheer motion I might be able to create a tunnel of emptiness, in myself or in the world, that would fill up with a sense of his presence—his voice, his humor, his warmth, the perfect familiarity of our relationship.

“I have subsequently learned, from the academic literature on grief, that this “searching behavior,” as it is called, is common among the bereaved. The psychologist John Bowlby, a contemporary of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, regarded the second stage of grief, after numbness, as “yearning and searching.” But I had never knowingly engaged in it before, because, in my experience, my dead had always come looking for me. After other people I’d loved had died, I had often felt them near me, sometimes heard their voices, and even, on a few exceedingly strange occasions, been jolted into the uncanny conviction that I had encountered them again in some altered but unmistakable form….These experiences, to be clear, do not comport with my understanding of death. I don’t believe that our loved ones can commune with us from beyond the grave… But grief makes reckless cosmologists of us all, and I had thought it possible, in an impossible kind of way, that if I went out looking I might find myself in my father’s company again.

The first time, I turned around after five minutes; I have seldom tried anything that felt so futile…

“Thus do I feel about my father. “Lost” is precisely the right description for how I have experienced him since his death. I search for him constantly but can’t find him anywhere. I try to sense some intimation of his presence and feel nothing. I listen for his voice but haven’t heard it since those final times he used it in the hospital. Grieving him is like holding one of those homemade tin-can telephones with no tin can on the other end of the string. His absence is total; where there was him, there is nothing.

“It is breathtaking, the extinguishing of consciousness. Yet that loss, too—our own ultimate unbeing—is dwarfed by the grander scheme. When we are experiencing it, loss often feels like an anomaly, a disruption in the usual order of things. In fact, though, it is the usual order of things. Entropy, mortality, extinction: the entire plan of the universe consists of losing, and life amounts to a reverse savings account in which we are eventually robbed of everything. Our dreams and plans and jobs and knees and backs and memories, the childhood friend, the husband of fifty years, the father of forever, the keys to the house, the keys to the car, the keys to the kingdom, the kingdom itself: sooner or later, all of it drifts into the Valley of Lost Things.

“There’s precious little solace for this, and zero redress; we will lose everything we love in the end. But why should that matter so much? By definition, we do not live in the end: we live all along the way. The smitten lovers who marvel every day at the miracle of having met each other are right; it is finding that is astonishing. You meet a stranger passing through your town and know within days you will marry her. You lose your job at fifty-five and shock yourself by finding a new calling ten years later. You have a thought and find the words. You face a crisis and find your courage.

“All of this is made more precious, not less, by its impermanence. No matter what goes missing, the wallet or the father, the lessons are the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. Our brief crossing is best spent attending to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, denouncing what we cannot abide, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.”