June 19, 2015
2 Tammuz 5775
I was horrified on Thursday morning when we awoke to the news that nine people were killed while praying at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. I searched for a Jewish response to this horrific tragedy. Individual rabbis and the Rabbinical Assembly put out devastating and important messages of support and hope for a world without racism and terrorism. As we allow the horrific reality to set in that worshipers were needlessly killed in an act of racial violence, we examine our role in repairing our broken world. We can combat hate and racism with prayer, love and the fight against injustices. We need prayer and action to get us through such difficult times.
As Jews, as individuals and as a nation, we can show our support to this community in South Carolina because this is an intolerable incident that is crying out for our rebellion. Not all rebellions are bad. We learned about a particularly difficult rebellion in Parashat Korach this week when Korach and his followers opposed Moses and Aaron. In the Torah reading this rebellion was unwelcome and met with a strong consequence from God. While the rebellion in Korach is catastrophic, it highlights the power of standing up for our beliefs. The reality is that if we do not rebel against hate and violence, there will be more innocent lives lost.
Please join me in sending prayers of healing and support here. There will be a prayer vigil for the families of the victims of the church shooting in Charleston at the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley at 6 pm on Sunday. If you are available, I encourage you to attend. As we enter into Shabbat this week, let's pray for the congregation of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and let’s pray for peace.