Grieving the Pittsburgh news

Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,

As I left the synagogue on Shabbat after morning services and a beautiful celebration of bat mitzvah, I learned the news of the horrific shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Words fail me: I am horrified, and grieving, and angry, and fearful. I suspect that most of you are feeling all of those things, too.  (In case it’s helpful, here’s what I wrote on my own blog: From hope to horror and back again.)

Please know that I want to be here for you, and I want to hear from you if this news is challenging or if you need to talk. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time.

Judaism calls us in every moment to build a world redeemed from hatred and bigotry and violence, a world in which this kind of horrific action would be unthinkable.  As we move into the new week individually and together, may we recommit ourselves to the work of building that world of justice and love, safety and hope.

Where there is darkness, it’s our job to bring light. I encourage all who are so moved to begin the new week by giving tzedakah toward building a better world. You might give to HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society — an organization that the shooter particularly denigrated), or to the Anti-Defamation League, or to the Southern Poverty Law Center, or whomever you believe is working toward building a world of greater justice and love. You might also consider sending a note of condolence to Tree of Life Congregation, 5898 Wilkins Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.

May the friends, families, and community of those who were killed this Shabbat in Pittsburgh be comforted along with all who mourn. And may we all be strengthened in our resolve to build a better world.

Blessings to all —

Rabbi Rachel



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