Our greatest fears realized…

Our greatest fears realized.

Our greatest fears
so terrorizing that we never utter them out loud.
What if
during our prayers,
during our simchas (our celebrations),
during our Sabbath morning Torah study

This morning our greatest fears were put into words
not as a  possibility but as a reality.
A shooter in a synagogue
in Pittsburgh
on Shabbat
with three simultaneous services in progress
even a bris, the welcoming of an 8 day child into the covenant.
A bris is so important it can happen even on Shabbat.

When the news was uttered and heard across our media
a wave of nausea entered our bodies.
Tears streamed down our faces.
A cry came forth from our souls
like the wail of a shofar calling to the world:
make this hatred stop!

In sanctuaries across our globe
Jews read this morning of open doors
that Abraham and Sarah had on all four sides of their tent.
Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue had open doors
through which sadly a life-denying
and God-denying White Supremacist walked.

In Abraham and Sarah’s case,
the guests brought blessings.
In Pittsburgh’s case
the hateful attacker brought bullets.

Let us not allow violence to close our doors
Let all of us instead commit to opening doors and take a vow:
to counter supremacy with a commitment to equality for all
to counter hate with random and continuous acts of love
to counter religious extremism with pluralism
to respond to ignorance with wisdom
to counter violence with peace.

The Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte sends our condolences to the community of Pittsburgh, the Jewish community especially, and the Tree of Life Synagogue specifically. We weep for you and with you and will work tirelessly to counter the hate that kills people and threatens democracy.

May the memories of those who died be a blessing.
May we make their memories a blessing through our actions honoring their lives.

[Photo by T. Chick McClure]

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