This week marked the 2nd anniversary of the massacre that took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two years ago, a gunman walked into the synagogue on a Shabbat morning and murdered eleven people, simply because they were Jews, who wanted to pray.
As horrific and tragic as that moment was for all of us, one of the things that I remember most from that experience was the outpouring of love and support in the aftermath of the attack. That next Shabbat, we had more people in synagogues than we had had any other week that year, as members, non-members, Jews, and non-Jews came together as a statement of solidarity and support for the Jewish community letting us know that we were not alone in the wake of rising antisemitism and the worst attack on the Jewish community in American history.
When we begin this week’s Torah portion Lech Lecha, we find Abraham and Sarah beginning their journey to build a great nation. Their journey was a long and difficult one, as they struggled for their ideas and values to be accepted, respected, and embraced. Their journey is far from over. It is the same journey that we find ourselves on today.
I wish that I could be writing to you today that the moment in PIttsburgh changed everything, and that antisemitism was a thing of the past. But we are still on that difficult journey. We live in a world where antisemitism is on the rise, and where we as Jews still find ourselves in search for friends, for allies, and for support.
This week, we find ourselves on a critical point in our journey, as Jews and as a country. In any election, we have the power to express how we feel about the direction we are headed in, and about the way in which our leaders and advisors are a reflection of our values and our concerns.
Please, take advantage of this opportunity and vote.
May the memories of Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil and David Rosenthal, Bernice and Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger be for a blessing.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Josh Dorsch