Yet another tragic display of gun violence. This time at a church in Sutherland Springs, TX. At least 26 people dead of all ages; many are injured. I am devastated by these ever-mounting losses. I am thankful for first responders and citizens who made a difference. It seems like every month there’s a mass shooting. And the horrible fact of life is churches and other houses of prayer must rethink how to keep themselves safer. I think about our own sacred space; how much time we spend here making meaning. And, I appreciate how we strike a balance between welcome and security. I am grateful for our off-duty police officers, who do their best to sustain our space as a sukkat shalom, a shelter of peace, and prevent it from becoming a tent of terror.
Our siddur calls us to pray as though all depends on God, but it summons us to act as though all depends on us. This means praying in response to these murderous massacres is not nearly enough. We need to do something more. This Shabbat, while we’ll offer a prayer or two for comfort, focus and remembering, we will also initiate a letter-writing campaign to local and federal leadership. Specifically, I believe we must concern ourselves that this gunman passed background checks, even though he was court-martialed from the Air Force for domestic abuse. Moreover, even though the gunman’s bad conduct in the military didn’t ultimately prevent him from possessing his guns, his misbehavior on active duty did disqualify him, once discharged, from procuring essential mental health support from the VA. This is tragic and reproachable because, in the end, too many innocent people paid an incomprehensible price. We cannot stand idly by, for surely more blood will spill.
On a much brighter note, I am pleased to officially announce our Spring 2018 trip to Israel. The time frame is May 21-June 1. And the focus is adult travelers who have never been before or would like to go again. (We are planning a family/Bar/Bat Mitzvah trip for adults and children for early Summer 2019. Details are in the works.) Please click on the following links for details:
INFO – What you need to know.
PROPOSAL – What you’re going to get.
PROGRAM – What you’re going to do.
If you are interested, curious, and/or have questions, please email or call me: email@example.com or (773) 561-5173. I look forward to journeying with you to Eretz Yisrael. What a glorious time we will have!
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good.