The news from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh has left us broken hearted, and we are justified in feeling frightened, as the attack and murder there conjures up terrible memories both recent and further in the past. But there is one thought that can help us to find the strength necessary for the healing that must come in the weeks and months ahead.
In the hours since the attack on Shabbat, we have heard from friends outside the Jewish community offering their support in response. Government leaders, Christian ministers and lay people, and also members of the local Muslim community have reached out to us. Unlike so many times in our history, we are not alone. Over the next weeks and months let us be ever aware that we have friends, good friends. This is still very much our country, and the power of the decency that is central to the American character far outweighs that of a tiny minority of haters that would do us harm.
As we have reached out to others who in the past have been under attack, so now others have reached out to us. And more important, as we heal, we will be there for each other.
This afternoon Sue and I spent the afternoon walking through the Marais with dear Jewish friends in Paris. In a city that has known anti-Semitic violence, crowds stood in lines waiting to dine on falafel in the kosher restaurants in what was the old Jewish neighborhood here. Men wearing kippot were walking through the streets in defiance of those who would intimidate them and drive them into hiding, as if to say, this is our country and you will not drive us away. That should be our response as well.
I look forward to celebrating Shabbat with you this weekend, as Jews have done for millennia, under all circumstances both good and bad.
A good week to all,