Shalom Aleichem- Assalamu Aleikum- Peace Be with You- by Rabbi Judy Schindler

A message from Rabbi Judy Schindler, Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth El to be shared at Charlotte’s Interfaith Vigil to Mourn the Shooting in San Bernardino and Stand Against Violence

While we wish we could stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters who have planned this vigil to both mourn the shooting in San Bernardino and stand against violence and we wish we could stand with our interfaith brothers and sisters of so many faiths who have signed on, our observance of Shabbat and festivities celebrating Chanukah require that we stand with you spiritually rather than physically.

At this moment, as we celebrate Shabbat in our sanctuaries, we pray for Shalom – a peace that acknowledges the holiness of every soul and seeks to raise up inclusion that shatters exclusion, love that breaks hate, and elevate a unity that recognizes diversity and the Divine spark that dwells in every soul.

As we kindle our Chanukah menorahs and place them proudly in our windows to proclaim the miracle of our Jewish survival and the victory of attaining religious freedom over those who sought to destroy our faith, we join you in our community’s and country’s fight for religious freedom.

We, as Jews, who have known the plight and pain and persecution of anti-Semitism denounce Islamophobia that seeks to taint the image of Islam by painting extremists and true followers of the Muslim faith as one.

We, as Jews, who have known xenophobia that caused hearts and doors and borders to be closed as we were turned away and our bodies were consumed by the fires of the Holocaust, call upon all of us to support those who teach, live, and seek peace in their quest to live in safety and sanctuary.

We, as Jews, who have been victims of terrorism at the hands of radical religious extremists too many times to possibly count, weep with the victims in San Bernardino. May we honor the memories of those who have died and help to bring healing to those who are wounded and bereft through our actions of repair (in what we call in Hebrew ‘tikkun’) by every means possible.

In closing, I share with you Wednesday’s statement by the Rabbinic association to which Rabbi Jonathan Freirich and I belong. The Central Conference of American Rabbis is the largest and oldest rabbinic association in North America. It reads:

“The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns anti-Muslim bigotry worldwide, in America, and in the campaign for President of the United States. Specifically, we are horrified by Donald J. Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be barred even from visiting the United States, let alone immigrating, especially as refugees are escaping persecution by the very forces that threaten the western world.
Discrimination on the basis of religion is un-American, unconstitutional, and dangerous. Jewish history has taught us that those who will discriminate on the basis of religion threaten the lives and well-being of countless human beings. As Jews, we know the heart of the stranger, and we will not stand idly by when members of another religious group are singled out as strangers.”

Mr. Trump’s statements run contrary not only to human dignity but to the very laws that underpin this country.

My interfaith brothers and sisters of Charlotte, may we pray for peace, may we pursue peace, and may we be partners in protecting peace for all.

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