From TBT President Jeanne Freeman
Anyone who knows me well knows that my favorite genre for books and movies is science fiction. Not the worlds of wizards and warlocks, but spaceships traveling into the stars, alien visitors to earth, and superheroes.
My love affair began at the newsstand on Blue Hill Avenue in Boston at the tender age of 8. I would get my 10-cent allowance and hightail it to the newsstand where I would pour over the comic books -- Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Hulk, Fantastic Four, Justice League. I moved on from comic books to pulp fiction with Amazing Stories and finally entered the worlds of Anderson, Asimov, Heinlen, Herbert and Silverberg.
My voyages into space with all-night into the early morning reading have been curtailed, but I've found a new way to get my sci-fi fix. I am now hooked on the updated versions of superheroes from my childhood. Courtesy of my 8 and 11-year old granddaughters, I am binge watching The Flash and Supergirl.
Looking at the portrayals of these youthful superheroes, I am captivated by their sense of justice, of fairness. They never hesitate between right and wrong, good and evil. They understand the value and importance of family and friends. They look for the humanity in their foes and strive to bring out the good. They inflict harm only as a last resort.
The world view portrayed in both these series is acceptance and inclusion. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) rules! Intelligence is glorified. There are interracial couples and interspecies couples. There are lesbian relationships and gay relationships. Without fanfare or explanation, in this very extraordinary world, everyone can be who they choose to be and with whomever they choose.
One of the most important things to note about superheroes is that they are not invincible. In fact, they often possess only a single superpower. It is often their faith in humanity, in those that they care about, that makes them seem all-powerful.
Each of us has a superpower; we just don't define it as such here on Earth-prime. There are those that can quiet a screaming baby with a single touch. There are some who can offer support and sympathy with a simple hug, making the recipient feel instantly, almost magically better. There are those who know how to connect people with each other, making everyone feel welcome and included. There are those who can always bring people to "yes," others who instill a love of learning in children and still others that can commune with animals. And then there are the superheroes that take on the really big challenges fighting for peace, for equality, for justice.
In many ways Reform Judaism fits quite snugly into the world of superheroes. Social justice and advocacy are among the central tenets. American Reform Jews have historically supported a variety of civil rights issues, including equality for the LGBT community, hate crimes legislation, criminal justice reforms, disability rights, and legislative protections from religious discrimination.
In our own community we know the value and importance of our family and friends, and we show by our actions that we care. We step up to feed the hungry in ongoing programs, and now we are working with organizations to support the youngest and oldest members of the greater community with Mountain Star Family Relief Nursery and Assistance League.
There are many amongst us who are deserving of the title superhero -- those who serve our community as leaders and keep our synagogue running; those who teach our children - Sunday School, Hebrew School, and B'nai Mitzvah preparation; those who work to create the programs that we all enjoy; those who step up to help the greater Central Oregon community.
Does this all seem far afield from being able to run at Mach 3, to fly, or use x-ray vision? Not really. Here on Earth-prime our powers may be less herculean, but they certainly bring as much benefit to the planet.
Give some thought to what your superpower might be and how you can put it to work for the TBT community and for the planet.