This Friday evening, November 2nd at 7:30 p.m., Congregation B’nai Harim will hold a service remembering the victims of the violence at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. This devastating event represents the worst anti-Semitic act in American history, taking from this world wonderful and righteous people: Joyce Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, brothers Cecil and David Rosenthal, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax and Irving Younger. They were all preparing for the reading from the Torah that morning about how Abraham and Sarah opened their tent and welcomed strangers, just as the Jewish community has done for millenia since. We will continue to welcome everyone and stand by our faith that everyone represents another aspect of the divine and ought to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion.
As Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Union for Reform Judaism wrote: “This time the Jewish community was targeted, in what may be the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history. Other times it has been African-Americans. Or Sikhs. Or Muslims. Or members of the LGBTQ community. Or too many others. What we know is this: the fabric holding our nation together is fraying. It is our task to ensure that it does not come apart.”
We join together as one community of conscience to declare our hope that connection, compassion and community will prevail. Hate will not replace our love for our fellow human beings, our dedication to the repair of the world, or our ability to be witnesses to the unity of all humankind.
May we all be blessed with peace.
Rabbi David Azen