Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Kol Yisrael Arevim ze la-zeh – All of Israel are responsible for each other. How many times as a Jewish communal professional for the past 32 years have I invoked this phrase? It has to be hundreds of times. Yet, after the tragic events that took place in Pittsburgh, these words have taken on new meaning for me. It is as if I can see them so much more clearly, like going to the eye doctor and seeing through new lenses for the first time. Everything is much sharper and in focus.
Words cannot express our sadness and solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones. We also pray for the injured, including the heroic police officers injured while protecting the congregants and the Jewish community. May they all have a refuah shelema, a speedy recovery.
This week’s Torah portion is Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah) in Genesis. It is interesting that it actually begins with the telling of her death at age 127. We know Sarah as the mother of the Jewish people and that her life was filled with many challenges, yet she had faith. It is for this that she is remembered.
This week, we mourn the horrific murder of 11 members of the Jewish community who were praying, celebrating Shabbat and a bris in what should be the safest of places. They too will be remembered. Their tragic end draws us together and reminds us that we must choose to shine light on the darkness of hate by being a little more loving to each other. I have seen evidence of this as the Valley’s Jewish and the non-Jewish communities gathered in solidarity to express love and to demonstrate its strength over hate these past few days. It gives me much hope for a better and more unified future, one with the shared light of love and acceptance.
I close by asking you to be a light, to shine on in the darkness and to be responsible for each other.
Chief Executive Officer
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