Saturday, June 03, 2023

On Tuesday, the world, and especially those of us who live in the New Jersey/New York environs, was devastated by the horrific terror attack that took place in New York City. We all saw photos and videos of the dead and wounded lying on the streets after having been mowed down by a terrorist who proudly shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he emerged from his truck.

Innocent bike riders, children on buses, pedestrians and bystanders will never forget this vile act of violence. As the news emerged and the act sunk into our brains, people were heard saying, “It should only not be unzere (ours) that were killed.”

We feel this reaction sets the wrong tone. There has to be a point in life when we realize that when such an abhorrent act takes place, it makes no difference who the victims are. A fire in an apartment, a car accident on the highway, a person mowed down by a drunk driver, all seem to always bring one question to mind: Were there Jewish people injured or killed? It is natural to be concerned about our families first, but breathing a sigh of relief when the victims are not Jews just makes no sense to us.

We think it is time for our generation to rise above the feelings and thoughts of our parents. We need to transmit to our children and grandchildren that we are all, every one of us, created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of God. We, as Jews, may be fortunate to have the knowledge that we have a family everywhere in the world that can be relied upon during difficult times. This knowledge, however, should not preclude the fact that mankind as a whole is deserving of our compassion and concern.

In an NCSY video that was filmed many years ago in both Toronto and Moscow, random strangers were interviewed on the street and asked what it meant to be a Jew. In Toronto, the answers were primarily: “Oh, Jews, they are the doctors,” or “They are the bankers.” One individual even said that “Jews are the people who pick up pennies from the ground.” Shortly thereafter, the videographer was seen in Moscow asking the same question to people on the street. We will never forget the response of one woman who said, “Look at me; if I were to leave Russia, I would have nowhere in the world to go and no one to care for me. If I was Jewish, I would know that wherever I went in the world there would always be someone to look out for and show concern toward me.” While this is beautiful that people in Moscow believe we care about one another, perhaps it is time for us to teach our children that our concern for human beings should extend beyond the Jewish people.

A terrorist attack in lower Manhattan is a scourge upon all of us. Those killed, no matter who, are people for whom we should be grieving. Families affected should be shown the same amount of concern as if they were our Jewish neighbors living up the street in our communities.

Please, let us learn to broaden our concern and sympathy for all men and not direct it selectively to the Jewish community.

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

 Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected].



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