Tuesday, March 28, 2023

There is no way we can even begin to pretend we can’t feel the collective community pain endured after the hate-induced murders of nine worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, S.C. last week.

It is not a pain that stays in a nice compartment in an area where the Confederate Flag still flies at the state capital.

We know this pain with intense familiarity. Need we remind anyone that it was just last November when four Orthodox men in Har Nof were davening in tefillin during Shacharit only to be gunned down and maimed by two Palestinian murderers.

It won’t take long for us to forget the name Dylan Storm Roof, who murdered nine black people who were together for a Bible study. We must remember that he was actually invited in to join the group study.

What we will remember, however, is the shared unthinkable levels that people of hate will go, and the high price the rest of us pay.

A seemingly beleaguered President Barack Obama said that this was the 14th time he’d had to make a speech after a mass killing during his administration.

Our worry is that the event will get pushed to the side as soon as the next horrific story needs to be reported.

One thing is for sure. Our Jewish community must stand in solidarity with the families of those murdered and the congregation of Emanuel A.M.E., a historic church symbolizing the fight for equal rights post-Civil War in the very state where the first shots of that horrible period in this country’s history were fired.

A synagogue in Har Nof, a church in Charleston.

These should be places of sanctity and the last place where congregations of faith find communal connections to God. The problem is the doors of houses of worship, no matter the congregation are accessible for everyone, those who love God and the spirit of community, and those few who want to kill that spirit.

It is our job as people of faith to keep that faith, that spirit alive be it a synagogue in Har Nof, or church in Charleston.

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