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We and our families are often most vulnerable in life when we are lulled into a false sense of security.

on Friday, November 11 2011. Posted by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
There was a robbery on the circle this week. A member of our BRS family was violated when thieves broke into their home and took their property. I share this with you not to cause alarm or panic, but rather to serve as a harsh reminder of the importance of our remaining vigilant and aware.

You see, too many of us like to believe that by living on Montoya Circle we are safe and secure, immune and protected from the threats and dangers that loom in society at large. While there is no doubt that we are blessed to live in a wonderful, close knit neighborhood, it is a mistake to think that the circle is a protective cocoon or bubble. Please remember to lock your doors and windows regularly and take nothing for granted.

Undoubtedly, you have been following the scandal this week at the Penn State University in which a former football coach, Jerry Sandusky has been implicated by a grand jury for abusing young boys whom he had lured to the campus as part of a non-profit program he began. His boss was the revered football coaching legend Joe Paterno who has been at the school for more than six decades. When a witness saw an abusive act taking place and Paterno became aware, he reported it to the Athletic Director but absolutely nothing further was done. Nothing was reported to the authorities and many more children suffered horribly as a result. Paterno and the University President have been let go, but the damage has been done.

As great a football coach as Paterno was, tragically he will likely be remembered more for allowing a dangerous threat to remain in his program, more than for anything he accomplished on the field. The truth is, some of the greatest threats exist where and from whom we least expect them and that is why we must remain vigilant. Indeed, we and our families are often most vulnerable in life when we are lulled into a false sense of security and let down our guard.

Vigilance, caution and awareness are not only true to prevent theft and abuse, they are critically important in protecting our families from the spiritual threats that loom as well. As committed as we are towards Outreach and to the value of diversity, our children need us to be more discerning and judicious in the spiritual influences, places and people we bring into their lives.

In this week’s parsha, our great matriarch Sarah, the same woman who so selflessly awarded Avraham a concubine so that he could father a child, asked Avraham to have that child removed from the home when she perceived him as a spiritual threat to her precious Yitzchak. I am not suggesting we exile our own children, but I am encouraging being more discriminatory in what we let our kids watch, listen to, attend, and participate in.

Let us remain watchful and cautious when it comes to the physical and spiritual wellbeing of our families and with God’s help merit to live with peace, security and great spiritual growth.

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