The Cloud is Lifting – A Reflection on D-Day and 40 Years of Women in the Rabbinate

It was a cool and cloudy morning on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.  The weather was not ideal, but it was significantly improved from the day before when the Allied troops had planned to invade.  This was the time to move.  This was the time to take the plunge into the water.  This was the time to change the course of history forever.

The invasion of the Allied forces on D-Day was perhaps the most significant day in the entirety of the Second World War.  Not only was it the largest amphibious attack in history with some 155,000 troops landing on the beaches (not to mention the support side of the operation), it set in motion the eventual end of the war and the Nazis. It was a turning point in history that changed the world and humanity forever.

President Roosevelt addressed the nation that morning.  Take a moment to listen to his words, to hear the prayer that he offered.

President Roosevelt’s Prayer to the Nation, D-Day, June 6, 1944

Though to be sure, D-Day, June 6, 1944, was a completely different time, place, and circumstance for the world, much of President Roosevelt’s message remains poignant and meaningful to our experiences today, June 6, 2012, 68 years later.  Perhaps most meaningful to me is his reminder that the “road will be long and hard” and that “success may not come with rushing speed.”  But, he affirms, “We shall return again and again.”

As we begin this new blog celebrating forty years of women in the rabbinate, we acknowledge that in many ways the road has been long and hard.  And though there have been many great achievements to celebrate along the way, success has not come with rushing speed.  There is still great work to do.  But, with strength of arms, stoutness of heart, and steadfastness of faith, we will keep going, pressing forward in our efforts for liberty and justice for all people, both in the larger world and the Jewish community.

Today, as it did for our biblical ancestors, a cloud is lifting and it is time to continue our journey.  It may be a little scary and daunting.  But, I believe that we are headed in the right direction, that there is much left to do, and that, one day, with hard work, perseverence, and a little faith, this world will be the world of our dreams.

Rabbi Amy B. Hertz