It had been a wonderful Shabbat at our synagogue, Temple Israel in West Palm Seashore, Florida. We started with our service in honor of the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., which we shared with group leaders and members of the Historic Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. On Shabbat morning, we studied Torah collectively, discovering new that means within the haftarah story of Deborah. A younger man celebrated changing into bar mitzvah within the presence of his household and our group, educating us in regards to the Jewish sources of empathy.
Then, got here the information in regards to the hostage scenario at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, by which a gunman took the rabbi and several other congregants as hostages. It was an eleven hour ordeal, which ended with the liberating of the hostages and the killing of the gunman. We utter profound phrases of gratitude to the police and hostage rescue staff, who helped flip what might need been a horror right into a second of redemption.
What phrases stored going via my thoughts and soul throughout these tense hours — glued to CNN and MSNBC, my telephone lighting up with anxious texts from buddies and colleagues?
Exactly the phrases that West Palm Seashore Mayor Keith James had shared with us on the service the earlier night — Dr. King’s phrases from the Birmingham Jail: “We’re caught in an inescapable community of mutuality, tied in a single garment of future. No matter impacts one instantly impacts all not directly.”
”We’re caught in an inescapable community of mutuality.” We Reform Jews felt this acutely, as Congregation Beth Israel is a Reform congregation. Its rabbi, Charlie Citron-Walker, dealt with himself and the scenario with immeasurable grace, readability, and braveness, likely saving his personal life and the lives of his folks. There was no class on this in rabbinical college; none of us ought to ever have wanted to be taught such a talent.
“We’re caught in an inescapable community of mutuality.” The Particular Agent accountable for the FBI Dallas Discipline Workplace, Matthew Desarno, made this assertion:
“We do imagine from our engagement with this topic that he was singularly centered on one concern and it was not particularly associated to the Jewish group, however we’re persevering with to work to search out the motive.”
With all due respect, sir, and with all due respect and profound gratitude to your colleagues who freed the hostages, no.
Take it from me; take it from us; take it from Jewish historical past — even and particularly modern Jewish historical past that’s barely historical past: This was an antisemitic assault. It was an assault in opposition to a synagogue, on Shabbat, throughout providers.
The gunman had demanded the discharge of Aafia Siddiqui, who had been convicted in 2010 of tried homicide of American troopers and officers in Afghanistan. Her nickname is Woman Al Qaeda. Throughout her trial, she made vile antisemitic remarks, demanding that there be no Israelis or Zionists on the jury.
Let there be little doubt: the gunman was aiming at not solely Jews, however on the Jews.
- As Charlottesville was a (verbal) assault on the Jews, so was Colleysville.
- Because the lethal assault on Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh was an assault on the Jews, so was Colleysville.
- Because the lethal assault on Chabad in Poway, was an assault on the Jews, so was Colleysville.
- Because the lethal assault on the kosher grocery store in Jersey Metropolis was an assault on the Jews, so was Colleysville.
- Because the lethal machete assault on the rabbi throughout a Hanukkah occasion in Monsey was an assault on the Jews, so was Colleysville.
Let nobody attempt to gaslight us. Allow us to not gaslight ourselves. We Jews know Jew hatred once we see it, and once we really feel it, and once we expertise it.
“We’re caught in an inescapable community of mutuality.” I felt that community, that sacred internet, in listening to and studying the prayers of my non-Jewish buddies and colleagues — particularly my Muslim buddies and colleagues.
That is what I mentioned to the household on the bar mitzvah service, even earlier than we knew what was taking place in Texas. “At a time when the world appears to be in chaos, know that we are able to cling to our custom, and it’ll all the time be there for us, giving us safety and security.”
We thank God that the hostages are free and protected.
We thank God, as nicely, for the protection and safety and help that we provide one another — in the very best of instances, and within the worst of instances.