This week, following recent national events, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan designated JuneteenthDay as an official city holiday. Here’s what intrigues & inspires me about the designation of specifically this day of Juneteenth to commemorate the abolishment of slavery in the USA. This date (June 19, 1865) happened was two & half years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, and even earlier drafts in late 1862). This June 1865 date is significant because it took that long for the impact to be felt all the way out in Galveston Texas, when General Gordon Granger arrived there after the Civil War ended with this message. It celebrates not the policy itself but the actual impact, and the furthest impact!
OK, I’m a Rabbi, so always looking for Jewish/Torah connections. This Galveston vs. DC choice of a date reminds me of the preference for Hillel (practical) over Shammai (theoretical), the Jewish celebration of the 7th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan when the last people got home after the biblical Jerusalem pilgrimage, and Kabbalistically, how the mission & purpose of the Divine Light is where it reachest furthest. Or you could say the Yiddish/Russian expression: where ax strikes the wood, or as they say in English: where the rubber hits the road. Juneteenth celebrates that bottom line effect.