Like many of you, I have been thinking of Lori Gilbert Kaye, of blessed memory, over and over for the past few days. Lori was gunned down last Saturday in Poway, California and according to some reports, ran towards the gunman to block him from shooting her Rabbi. Not because I knew her personally, unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting her, but because she embodies so many people I truly love.
There are some people who come to Chabad, or any place of worship for that matter, enjoy the services and go back to their lives. Some people, however, come once, come again, and then decide to become not just a regular, but a lifelong supporter. These are the people who are there no matter what happens, who take ownership of the responsibilities of the Chabad center, and who build and sustain a committed community.
To me, Lori personified that.
Not only did this horrific attack shake me to the core, but an additional thing that has been troubling me is the fact that Lori was killed IN a Synagogue! How could it be that G-d would allow anyone to be murdered in cold blood in a house of worship?
Although I don’t have an answer to this question, I find some comfort in the fact that Laurie died in a place that she loved and was part of her life mission.
I would like to share with you a few words about Lori, adapted from an interview with her close friend, Teresa Lampert:
Lori Kaye loved greeting cards; she had one for nearly any occasion. Whether a birthday, anniversary, or condolence, someone leaving on a trip or returning from one, Kaye pulled one out from her vast collection, wrote a message, and delivered the card.
She knew what everyone was up to, what was happening in their lives, and she cared to make them feel special. She was an incredible person.
Shabbat at the Kaye home was a thing to behold, with the table always set for a large number of guests. Her freshly baked challah was famous in Poway, as were her matzah-ball soup and chicken.
And somehow, even when she had all these guests if she heard that someone wasn’t feeling well or for any other reason, she found time to deliver challah or a bouquet of flowers to several homes each week.
Lori’s generosity extended well beyond her own community. She was active with the Hadassah Foundation, Chai Lifeline, and other organizations. And, like the little details she always remembered, she was always on the lookout for ways to give more.
A proud Jewish woman, who will be remembered for her kindness, sensitivity, enthusiasm, and generosity, Lori spent her last minutes on earth in the lobby of the synagogue and community center she loved.
Therefore… I challenge you to take yourself out of your comfort zone and do something for Lori this Shabbat. Light the candles Friday night, create a Shabbat dinner and join us at Boulder Center for Judaism (Chabad of Boulder County) for Shabbat Services much like the services Lori so enjoyed. Services begin at 10:00 am followed by a Kiddush at 12:00 pm. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-494-1638.
May her memory be a blessing!