Stronger than Hate

November 1, 2018

RabbiWQAidzerheadshot-206x259As the days pass since the murderous desecration of Shabbat, the Jewish community is still in shock and grief. The sinister merger of always-present-anti-Semitism, emboldened by the growth of permissive public hate, with the devastating power of gun violence produced an event unlike any our community had previously experienced. We mourn the tragic loss of 11 Jews engaged in a fundamental Jewish act – prayer. Our hearts are heavy and our nerves are frayed.

Despite this, I have been heartened by the strength and resilience of the Jewish community and by the support and love showed by many in the broader society. I was proud to represent our congregation, along with other members, at the community gathering at the Kaplan JCC earlier this week. The size of the crowd that night testified to our communal unity and strength. And I have seen on social media, and received in person, condolences, well-wishes, and signs of support from non-Jews, allies in a coalition of decency, partners in the sentiment that hatred should have no home in our world today.

We will gather as a Temple Beth El community tomorrow night, Friday, at 7:30pm, for our Guest Artist Shabbat, featuring violinist Yulia Ziskel. (Or come earlier at 6:30pm for an exquisite pre-service concert!) We will do so with fierce resolve that no act of senseless hatred, no attack on our people, will prevent us from celebrating Shabbat, from joining together as a congregation, and from proudly asserting our identity as a Jewish community.

My colleague, Rabbi Neal Katz, points out that, “In moments like these, people often say there are ‘no words.’ But our community does have words: … We have words of comfort, ‘May God console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.’ We have words of resolve, ‘Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness, I fear no harm, for You are with me.’ We have words of peace, “May the One who makes peace in the heavens, make peace for us and all the people of Israel and all the world.’” May the words we speak and the actions we take bring us closer to a world of wholeness and peace. Amen.