Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg Profile picture
Mar 26, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Finally saw @Emma4Change's masterful #MarchForOurLives speech. It was beautifully written and powerfully delivered, and I want to say a few words about why what she did with the silence was so major and instructive for clergy and other kinds of leaders. (thread)
She held space, y'all. Held it big. And you saw how people were kind of uncomfortable at first, yes? We're so used to input and stimulation and have expectations about what happens when a person gets up to a pulpit and etc.
So there were some WHOO! shouts and some people tried to get chants going and fill up the space and what did she do? She kept holding the space. And agonizingly more, and more--defying conventions about what should happen (those 'moments of silence' are rarely more than 60 sec)
And finally people gave in and embraced the silence, and held themselves in it, and had feelings and mourned and handed themselves over to whatever needed to happen there. They got to a place that they wouldn't have if she had gotten uncomfortable and broken it. She held it.
Ever lead a discussion, asked a q, & had silence? & as facilitator, been tempted to ask a follow-up question to get people talking rather than just letting people have their time to process and eventually respond? It's tempting to do that. (They always respond eventually)
It's even harder to hold that silence in the #MarchForOurLives kind of forum--it was ritual space, holy space, and @Emma4Change took people on a journey through their discomfort over to someplace else that they needed to be.
That's what leaders do. Well, a lot of leaders don't do that. But that's the work, right there. I'm grateful for all her work towards making this country safe, and (on a less urgent note) I also think that this speech should be taught in seminaries. Respect.
Also, NB: "Holding space" and "making people be quiet" are not synonymous. It's not that. It's about having a place you want to take people, or an experience you want them to have, and holding that tightly even through their discomfort with or resistance to it.
It could be ritual. It could be silence. Text study. Developing a plan for or engaging in activism. Holding the sanctuary open while people cry or scream or speak. Pastoral 1:1 space. My reference points are as clergy but there are lots of other ones as well.
She held space in silence. There are lots of other ways you can do that. The thing is that she opened the space, drew the boundary, and held it firmly through the experience. That was the work of holy leadership.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @TheRaDR

Oct 7, 2018
Ok, here’s a short thread on this.

1/x Do some reading and learning to learn more about the structure. Eg this is a good overview: jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-daily-serv…, @heyBimBam has some great explainers, bimbam.com/judaism-101/pr…, lots up at @jewlearn, etc.
Prayers only said with a minyan: Kaddish (all of them), Barechu, Torah reading stuff, and reader’s repetition of the Amidah (incl notably Kedusha). Everything else pretty much you say at home even wo minyan.
If you want to develop a daily prayer practice at home, a few tips: 1) start slow and add.
Read 11 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Three self-care tips to make it through today.


1) embrace holy anger.

Ibn Gabirol says that “anger is a reprehensible quality, but when employed to correct or to reprove, or because of indignation at the performance of transgressions, it becomes laudable.”
Or Audre Lorde: “Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
The only question is, how will you choose to focus it? Your time—your energy—your talents—your money. Plenty of places to put it.
Read 13 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
Alas! Lonely sits the city Once great with people! She that was great among nations Is become like a widow...

Bitterly she weeps in the night, Her cheek wet with tears. There is none to comfort her Of all her friends. All her allies have betrayed her; They have become her foes.
All the precious things she had In the days of old Jerusalem recalled In her days of woe and sorrow, When her people fell by enemy hands With none to help her; When enemies looked on and gloated Over her downfall.
The foe has laid hands On everything dear to her. She has seen her Sanctuary Invaded by nations Which You have denied admission Into Your community.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
Ok. But I’m gonna have to talk about Esther too.

Another Biblical #metoo

We’re in the Book of Esther. Ahasverus is the Persian king of “127 provinces from India to Ethiopia.” The book opens with a massive party, and a party-within-a-party to boot.
It was kind of like a rager at Georgetown Prep:

”And the rule for the drinking was, “No restrictions!” For the king had given orders to every palace steward to comply with each man’s wishes.”
Read 23 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
Sure. Genesis 39 is what we’re talking about.


This is a story about a person with power abusing that power to exploit someone with less power sexually, and retaliating when refused.
So Joseph has been sold into slavery by his brothers (v loving move there, guys) and works for Potiphar. Potiphar was a rich Egyptian, Joseph was a foreigner who was literally his property. Yes Joseph wound up with a lot of responsibility, but in context as an enslaved foreigner.
Potiphar’s wife decided she wanted him sexually, approached him repeatedly, was rebuffed. One day he fled an advance and she was left holding his garment, lied that he tried to assault her, got him thrown in jail.
Read 11 tweets
Sep 27, 2018
The commandment to rejoice isn't about having a feeling.
It'a about doing an action.
Towards justice.

And you shall rejoice in your festival, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the orphan, and the widow, who are inside your gates. -- Deuteronomy 16
It's about rejoicing, not having joy. What are the things to do? You bring people together. You have a gathering. You are not alone.
Read 8 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!