Vigil for Tree of Life Synagogue
Nov. 2, 2018
We have gathered tonight once again as a community, to be here for one another, for the families and the victims of the senseless act of violence in Pittsburgh and for many here with ties to the Squirrel Hill area and the Tree of Life Synagogue. We have been through this before, too many times; we have stood together in the midst of tragedy, with broken hearts, tears and utter disbelief in the violence we have witnessed.
This attack on a sacred house of worship occurred during a traditional Jewish naming ceremony and took the lives of 11 innocent people. This incident has been reported as the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States. Why, after all we have learned of the tragic events of the Holocaust, do we still live in a world where antisemitism exists and deadly attacks on Jews take place?
We are experiencing a time in our country where we have never seen the kind of disturbing discourse that is occurring; attacks against women, minorities, immigrants, persons with disabilities, Jews and so many more. People seem to have been given permission to show their rage, anger and hate.
James Thurber wrote, “Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.” We all must work together to reverse this trend.
We must also continue to press for sensible gun control and better mental health care and prevention of dangerous people from obtaining weapons. I, as many of you, are so discouraged by the inaction of Congress- how can a member of Congress listen to the pleas of the parents of children brutally murdered at Sandy Hook or the brave students and survivors of Parkland and still not act?! Massachusetts has one of the strictest gun laws in the US but to truly impact the violence ravaging our country, we need federal intervention. Despite it all, I continue to remain hopeful, and ask that you do too, we must continue the fight. I look forward to the day when our children, those of color and all faiths are no longer targets and illegal guns are off our streets.
We are a resilient people that will never be squelched by tragedy or cynicism or hopelessness. Yet as another shadow falls across our country, a shadow of another senseless act violence, it is easy to become numb to the news, but we must remain ever vigilant and united. Please pray with me-
O God, we are grateful for your presence among us
As another tragedy has struck and took the lives of 11 Jewish members of the Tree of Life…….
As we can barely understand how this could happen in a place of worship….
As we try to console our friends, neighbors and total strangers who have been touched by this brutal event…..
As we embrace our children and try to find the words to explain these atrocious events……
We ask for your help to carry us and to give us strength when there seems no strength left in us to continue the mourning for more loss of life…
We gather as citizens, who love our country, our state and our community;
who cherish our freedoms and who lament for those we have lost…..
We come with a range of emotions- with anger, with sorrow, with confusion and concern…..
Help us to renew our strength, to open our hearts, open our hands as we once again commit ourselves to prevent further bloodshed and tragic loss of lives. Amen