And in this week’s Torah portion, we see other markings of time: The end of 430 years of Israelite dwelling & enslavement in Mitzrayim, for example. But more than time, parashat Beshalach marks a transition of leadership and agency in the Exodus story. After a long period of leadership, the Deity (as we started calling the G-d character at Wednesday morning Torah study this week) tells Moses at the shore of the sea: “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” (Exodus 14:15) This transition of leadership and agency has always been striking to me. The Deity, while sometimes through an intermediary, was entirely in charge until now – certainly through the entire plague saga that has just concluded. It seems clear where to go when in need of a miracle at this point in our story. And then suddenly, just when the Israelites have finally left Mitzrayim, while stuck between a Sea [a rock] and a pursuing army [a hard place], the Deity says something that could be understood as anything from: ‘you don't need me to perform miracles – you all got this!’ to ‘what are you looking at me for?’.
L'havdil, yesterday was another important marker on the Kadima personnel calendar. January 25, yesterday, was Kadima's beloved Director of Operations and Co-Director, Morgan Scherer's last day on staff. Join me in supporting their and their family in this transition through this GoFundMe now.
Morgan has been a tremendous partner in Kadima's varied and multiple facets of work through so many different and varying seasons and experiences in our time leading Kadima together. They have been a partner and a friend, only the former of which has now come to a formal end.
Morgan is a gracious teacher and a kind demander of justice. Without them, Kadima would be light years behind in the realm of accessibility and disability justice. As would I and my relationship with my own mind-body-soul which I can now honor and see more fully due to Morgan's teachings (and patience with me) around ability and disability.
It is important that we mark moments when teachers and leaders shift. And in this case all the more so when a key teacher and leader on disability justice is no longer formally in the room. Morgan has been the lynch pin in Kadima's advancement on not just disability justice, but also the intersections of racial, disability, and gender justice – and we, despite very real advancements, still have far to go in these journeys.
And far to go we still aim and are prepared to go. May we, who have made ourselves willing to follow, learn, and collaborate, find ways to continue the journey and apply the teachings we have received in ways that will make our teachers proud and our students bored from how obvious and normal these teachings become. May we who have less experience with Morgan know that everything Kadima does decently well around accessibility and disability justice is in large part due to their ability to persist upstream and not leave any of us behind – kind yet unwavering, even as sometimes we have thwarted, frustrated, incorrectly interpreted, and at times hurt them and others.
And may you, Morgan, thank you for your willingness to forgive in the name of furthering the work and persistent partnership. Thank you for your prophetic vision of what is possible here and together. Thank you for your emotional, spiritual, and physical labor, that often pushed the bounds of justice, yet stayed the course as you balanced what was possible. May you know your worth, your impact, and your imprint – in part by watching us, your students, succeed (may it be so), and in part by knowing that when we don't, it is because of ableism and our stubbornness, and not for a second your deficiencies, as you have none that are not overshadowed by us and our hurtful, still healing society.
May we all find glorious and myriad ways to continue working together for disability, racial, and gender justice (and more) within Kadima, throughout Seattle, in our solidarity toward a just peace in Palestine and Israel, and within ourselves. And may we honor Morgan, and all our teachers as we do so. Especially as we move into both Jewish Disability Justice and Black History month this coming week.
L'havdalah (to honoring distinctions in time) – with a glass raised to moments of distinction and transition, their bittersweetness, their uncertainty, and the intentions we bring into them: L'chayim – may we create and sustain more and more life.
PS – Maybe I'll see you at the Royal Toom for Rachel Edelman's book launch? Either way, check out her latest in Lilith Magazine, which is reworked from her Rosh HaShanah dvar torah with Kadima this year.