We want to wish all of our candidates well… It is not an easy time to be involved in public life… Is it any wonder that women are still underrepresented in local and national government given the abuse that comes with putting your head above the parapet. We want to thank Councillor Yates, Councillor Mac Cafferty and Councillor Junio for standing for election, for your commitment to being involved in public life. We too want to be involved in public life. We will sometimes do this in a way that will challenge our political leaders but we will always be respectful – and at a time when politics has become divisive and unkind, we will aim to bring people together and act with kindness towards one another.
Friends: We have gathered here this evening in good faith on the understanding that by working together as citizens of our city, and working with those who represent us, we can achieve our goals. This Assembly is not about ‘us’ and ‘them’; it is about all of us, including, the councillors here this evening. We are all citizens of Brighton and Hove and we all want the best for our city and for everyone who lives here.
In the Bible, Psalm 133 begins with the words usually translated as: ‘How good it is and how pleasant when brothers dwell together in unity.’ In Hebrew, the root meaning for ‘brothers’ [achim] is ‘those who belong to one another.’ We belong to one another as citizens of Brighton and Hove; as human beings who share responsibility for the planet, for this island that we inhabit, for this city in which we live and work, for one another. Another key phrase in this verse also has a deeper resonance in the Hebrew: the root meaning of ‘together in unity’ [gam yachad] is ‘all as one’. Here we are: a collection of individuals with different backgrounds, experiences, life situations, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, cultures and ethnicities, who dwell in this particular place. We can dwell separately in our microworlds and pass each other by, or, celebrating all our differences, we can all dwell together as one for a shared purpose and for the common good. This evening we have chosen to dwell together as one and we have already discovered ‘how good it is and how pleasant’. Inspired by this special Assembly, what we need to do now is to continue to work together on the campaigns we have identified with focused, unrelenting determination to make Brighton and Hove a city that does justice to all our lives.
Rabbi Elli Sarah Tikvah Sarah, Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue