It is Shabbat afternoon and my heart is simultaneously full and broken. This morning I had the privilege of helping a young man become a Bar Mitzvah at Temple Jeremiah. It was a celebration filled with joy, love and hope. This afternoon I had the great honor of naming two boys brought into this world by two couples I married. The husbands are brothers whom I have known for 20 years and their parents are dear friends of Cathy’s and mine. The ceremony was filled with joy, love and hope. My heart is filled to overflowing with the blessings of this day.
And, my heart is broken…
This morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA as the congregation was beginning its own Shabbat morning worship that included a bris, a man armed with an assault rifle screaming that “All Jew must die” murdered (at present count) 11 people and injured many others. My heart is broken, and I pray that the families of the victims are granted the strength that they need to find solace and healing.
I am grief stricken, horrified and angry. How many people will we see murdered and maimed by individuals armed with assault rifles before we get sensible gun law reform? How high must the rhetoric of hatred soar before we as a country realize that these words lead to horrific acts of violence? I am grief stricken, horrified and angry.
Please know that we are in conversations with law enforcement and security professionals to make sure that appropriate security measures are in place for Religious School tomorrow, as well as for the coming days. As new information becomes available, we will respond.
For now, I know that you join me in sending prayers for strength, comfort and healing to our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. I share with you, too, that I have received messages from our Muslim and Christian Interfaith partners expressing their love, concern and support for us and our community.
Rabbi Paul F. Cohen, D.Min, D.D.
- Shabbat Balak - July 10, 2019
- Shabbat Naso - June 6, 2019
- Shabbat Kedoshim - May 1, 2019
- Shabbat Sh’mini - March 27, 2019
- Shabbat Ki Tisa - February 20, 2019
- Shabbat B’shalach - January 16, 2019
- Shabbat Vayigash - December 11, 2018
- Shabbat Toldot - November 7, 2018
- Temple Jeremiah Community Update – Oct. 31, 2018 - November 1, 2018
- A Letter to Our Congregation Following the Tragedy in Pittsburg - October 31, 2018