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Of Pilgrims’ Paper Buckles and a Nation’s Sacred Truths

11/25/2020 04:36:33 PM


Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

I remember Thanksgiving from days of yore – at least days of my yore, when my younger brother Kenny and I would dress up like Pilgrims. Taped on my nice shoes were construction paper buckles.

Did Pilgrim men’s shoes have buckles? I have no idea. It may just be a story.

There is a heavy dose of “story” in every nation’s founding narratives. The stories we tell about ourselves may not be historically accurate. But they do have the potential to teach important lessons.

We know, for instance, that the treatment of native populations in this land by Europeans was not idyllic, as the Thanksgiving story would have us believe. But the story that the first Thanksgiving was characterized by good will and mutual sharing reveals a larger truth about how we see ourselves, and of who we could be.

It is important to reckon with historical reality and to acknowledge how the powerful persecute the weak. It is important to make amends when necessary. It is also important to accept our founding narratives not as history lessons but as guideposts to help us become the best nation we could be.

Happy Thanksgiving and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Tue, August 3 2021 25 Av 5781