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In Need of Healing

Like much of America, we were shocked and saddened by the shooting that took place Saturday morning in Arizona. As of late this evening, reports are that the congresswoman remains in critical condition.

Much will be written and discussed in the coming days, weeks and months about the details of the event – who, what, where, when, speculation as to why. For today, much of our responses were emotional, particularly as facts emerged:

The judge who was killed had come from celebrating Mass. The 9 year old girl who was killed was born on September 11, 2001. Rep. Giffords’ Jewish background – she has a Jewish father and is affiliated with a Reform congregation.

We applaud Sheriff Dupnik of Pima, Arizona. Sheriff Dupnik spoke from the heart at Saturday’s press conference about the effects of “vitriolic rhetoric” and the need for soul-searching as a country.  In just the hours since the shooting, so many controversies have already been connected with this event: access to guns, mental illness, impact of the media, drugs, politics, religion, immigration and more.

What stands out for us are the appalling reports of target practice at campaign events (using a photo of Rep. Giffords as the target), maps with crosshairs and congressional names attached, calls to “reload.”  There’s no place in America for thugs. Though the sheriff is already being criticized for “politicizing” this event, we fail to see how the point-blank shooting of an elected member of Congress is anything but political.  How do we heal the spiritual wounds from deteriorating political discourse? How does our nation heal when guns are pointed at our leaders? How can there be healing when political darlings offer condolences but leave the crosshairs map available for “fans” to see?

In other sad news, noted Jewish singer and songwriter Debbie Friedman also remains in critical condition. On Sunday evening (January 9) a Healing Service is scheduled for 8 pm at the JCC in Manhattan (6 pm Mountain time). Oh – yes, we know that’s a bit far. This event will be “livestreamed” on Ustream, a website that will have live video of the event on Sunday. Click here to watch the event while it’s happening. More information about the worldwide prayer effort is in this article from Forward. Sing along – pray along – may our prayers for healing be heard. UPDATE: We learned this morning of Debbie Friedman’s passing early today. May her memory be for a blessing z”’l.

Here are the lyrics to Mi Shebeirach (lyrics by Debbie Friedman and Drorah Setel)*

Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor habracha l’imoteinu

May the source of strength who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing
And let us say: Amen.

Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M’kor habracha l’avoteinu

Bless those in need of healing with refuah sh’leimah
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit
And let us say: Amen.

May both women – and our nation – have a complete healing in the days to come.

*Copyright 1988 Deborah Lynn Friedman Drorah Setel (ASCAP), Sounds Write Productions, Inc. (ASCAP).

About Cheryl Fellows

Cheryl Fellows
I am living happily ever after in Boulder with David, Lauren and Ethan (and Rocky and Cookie), blessed with family and friends and a great community.

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  1. While my family and I have been saying the Misheberach for Debbie and, obviously more recently, the victims of the shooting yesterday, you are only adding to the political fire with this posting. It is hidden from no one that you are blaming the shooting on Sarah Palin and the politically right leaning crowd. Which, if you take a look at the evidence compiled by this blog http://goo.gl/6FaSw, is looking more unlikely as more evidence about the shooter is uncovered. No need to politicize a call for prayer.

  2. Debbie Friedman passed away yesterday. What a gift her music was to the Jewish people!

    After hearing a teacher, classmate and several others speak about the Arizona shooter, no matter where he fell politically he either seemed to be on bad drugs or needing good drugs. A classmate was scared enough of him that she sat near a door to facilitate escape if he became violent.

    Maybe Seth should be concerned about a politician putting another lawmaker in crosshairs. There are plenty of wackadoos out there who don't get metaphors. Comments about 2nd amendment remedies and watering the tree of liberty can be seen as subtle calls to violence. And do we really need folks bringing guns to political rallies? I will also mention Obama's "if they bring knives, we'll bring guns" remark as suspect also.