Before we went to sleep on Monday night, the night of the winter solstice, my family and I all decided that we would wake up at 2 a.m. to witness the first lunar eclipse in some 372 years. We all made it except one bleary-eyed 8-year-old who, as I tried to stir her from her sleep, mumbled that she would catch it “next time.” I don’t envision being around in another 372 years, so she might have to wake herself.
I encouraged my children to get up to see the eclipse for a variety of reasons. It was, as they said, “cool.” More importantly, you’ll excuse the pun, but I wanted them to broaden their horizons. As much attention as they’re giving their Jewish studies and the traditional math and science and English courses, I have always been mesmerized by astronomy — the stars and the universe — and I want my children to explore those vistas as well.
But there was another reason I wanted them to wake up in the middle of their dreams and gaze heavenward. I want them to appreciate that life and its experiences do not end at our front door or even in their classrooms. I want them to know that there is a complete world that exists beyond their immediate grasp. There are worlds of knowledge, experience and people that seemingly don’t affect them, but in reality, touch them all the same. If my children can get up to witness beauty millions of miles away, then they need to be just as interested in what’s going on here on our block, our village, our country, and our world — a few blocks away or a few thousand miles away.
In that regard, the buzz around town has been the Rubashkin rally. The issue is not millions of miles away in some other distant galaxy. It is right here at our doorstep and we must get up, even in the middle of the night, and protest injustice and, I dare say, anti-Semitism. I will never condone illegal actions but that’s not what this rally is about. It’s about fairness and proportionality. It’s about the equal application of the law and transparency. It’s about preventing the truth from being eclipsed, from hiding behind another celestial body.