To My Dear Community:
I write to you again with few words of comfort. But we need to connect today….
This morning at Torah study, we were studying the Torah portion and focusing on the themes of living with our eyes wide open so that we can live fully. It was a meaningful conversation filled with sharing and laughter. Little did we know that another shooting was taking place, this time at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.
Shabbat is supposed to be a “taste of the World to Come.” We hope to experience such joy, love, community, and comfort on Shabbat that we will then be inspired to help bring that to our world every day and build peace. But this Shabbat was desecrated by a man filled with hate, carrying weapons of murder into a sacred space.
We mourn the loss of 11 innocent lives and the trauma inflicted upon the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. Our hearts ache at this act of violence and how the scourge of antisemitism continues to fuel hate. We praise the police and first responders who ran into harm’s way. And we stand in solidarity with Jewish communities and people of faith all over the world who strive to live out principles of friendship and fellowship, of justice and mercy, and who fight against hate each and every day.
Locally, we began talking with the Boulder Police Department this morning. They do not see an increased threat in our community. They have added Boulder’s Jewish institutions to their patrol list We had already scheduled a conversation about security priorities for next week, and we have received a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to make our buildings more secure. As our plans and priorities develop, we will update you.
Religious School will meet tomorrow morning. Parents will have an opportunity to meet with Rabbi Greene. We will not discuss the incident publicly with our students below middle school. If our middle school students need to talk about this, we will respond to them where they are and support them.
We are convening our Boulder Jewish community Sunday at 4:30pm at Congregation Har HaShem. All are welcome to attend.
I also share a statement from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, the umbrella organization of congregations affiliated with Reform Judaism.
And a prayer:
Be with us, God, in this time of sorrow and fear.
Help us, God, to offer comfort to those whose hearts are shattered.
Rekindle hope and trust and courage within us and them.
Help us, God, to sustain our belief in the promise that even in the darkest times —
even when we feel most discouraged —
there is reason to trust that love is never extinguished and that
light and spirit will prevail.
(abridged; by Rabbi Edythe Mencher)
May God console the broken-hearted and bring peace to all,
Rabbi Fred Greene