“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.”
Dear Neighborhood Members and Friends,
Saturday morning during regular Shabbat services, hate desecrated the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in the most violent assault on the Jewish community in recent American history. As I write to you this week, thousands of people are gathering in Temple Rodef Shalom to remember the dead and grieve with the living.
Here in Pasadena, I am sending my love to each of you and to our Jewish neighbors in particular as we face the aftermath of this evil act. It is critical for each of us to reckon with the reality and trauma of this anti-Semitic terrorism. As people of faith, this attack on the sacred space of a house of worship, targeted for its religious practice and progressive social justice commitments, hits especially close to home. We condemn anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and lament the growing list of houses of worship terrorized by hate. With anguish, we mourn the innocent lives stolen by hate. We grieve for the trauma and pain experienced by the Tree of Life congregation and the Jewish community.
As one Rabbi said this week, the tree of life has lost precious branches which cannot be replaced. While the Tree of Life synagogue may be forever changed by this act of hate, its roots are deep and wide, and its spirit resilient. Thousands have attended vigils all over the nation to grieve for the dead and to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and all those who are targeted by hate for their religious practice, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or citizenship.
At Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist church, we refuse to be intimidated by this heinous act. Such violence only affirms and emboldens our courage to show up more boldly for one another, and to visibly demonstrate our commitment to our Jewish and Muslim neighbors, immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and to the LGBTQ community. Now is the time to turn our love, and our grief, into compassionate action.
Here are a few things you can do in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting:
-Come to Sunday services at Neighborhood. Come be together with your Unitarian Universalist community for comfort and strength and to set our hearts upon our common values. The Sunday liturgy will honor the eleven murdered members of the Tree of Life synagogue. Stop by the Pastoral Care table after services to sign cards for the Tree of Life congregation and for our local Synagogues to show we care.
-Talk about what happened, and ask for help if you need it. Learn about what age-appropriate resources are available for talking to children about violence. Reach out to me or our Neighborhood Pastoral Care team if you are struggling in the wake of the shooting. We are here to be a nonjudgmental, listening ear and to provide support and resources for you and your family.
-Reach out to your Jewish friends, family and local community. Send a text, email or Facebook message or make a call to show you care and offer support. Invite a friend out for coffee or to share a meal. Even a small outreach like “How are you doing?” can open a conversation which can be healing in itself.
-Participate in #showupforshabbat The American Jewish Committee has launched a “Show Up for Shabbat” campaign to encourage Jews and people of faith and good will to attend Shabbat services this Friday evening and Saturday morning in an act of interfaith solidarity against anti-Semitism. At Sunday afternoon’s memorial service at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center, Cantor Ruth Berman Harris invited the gathered community of over 500 attendees to offer support during upcoming Shabbat services.
If you are interested in attending, local service times at PJTC are 7:30 pm Friday evening, and 9:30 am Saturday morning. If you are interested in attending a service near you, check your local synagogue’s website for other Shabbat times.
-Donate to a Jewish organization
Anti-Defamation League(ADL)The Mission of the ADL is to protect the Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment to all. Founded in 1913, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is our nation’s premier civil rights/human relations organization. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with supporters and partners throughout the United States and around the world, ADL is rooted in Jewish values. Add your name to their digital vigil to say “Never is Now”
Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society(or HIAS), was first established in 1881 to help protect Jewish refugees and now protects and provides assistance to refugees around the world. The Tree of Life synagogue was targeted for their involvement with the HIAS and their outspoken support for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Bend the Arc For generations, American Jews have been part of our nation’s struggles for justice. Bend the Arc organizes American Jews and Jewish communities to take up the moral tradition and mobilize now for equity and justice for all.
– Vote our Unitarian Universalist values at the polls. Voting is an act of hope, that the future can be better than the past. Educate yourself on the issues and bring your hope to the polls to bring more justice and peace to our world.
With love, hope, and faith, I’ll see you in church.