It is with a very heavy heart that I compose these words, as news of the terror attack on an Israeli synagogue fills the air waves. On Tuesday morning in Western Jerusalem, two terrorists entered a synagogue with guns and axes and attacked worshipers during their morning prayers. The brutal murders of these four Jewish men during worship and a Druze police officer who died trying to defend them represent an escalating pattern of random violence in the Jerusalem area where relations between Arabs and Jews have been deteriorating for months. Three of those who were killed were also American citizens. We mourn the loss of each of these innocent victims, and our hearts go out to their family and friends.
As American Jews, our responses must be measured, moderate and methodical. We cannot and must not allow these acts of terror to fill us with fear and hatred. We cannot and must not allow these acts of murder to harden our hearts and close our minds. Instead, we must remain steadfast and loyal to our ongoing commitment to peace despite of the violence.
As our congregation joined together with seven different faith communities this past Monday evening, we emphasized the paramount importance of unifying with the moderate voices of faith around the world. We challenged ourselves to rise above the tides of hatred, violence and intolerance which surround us every day and strive to establish broader bases for trust and understanding in the world.
In light of Tuesday morning’s hate driven atrocities during morning prayers, we must redouble our efforts to support our brothers and sisters in the land of Israel, while building coalitions for mutual respect and understanding here at home.
We join Jewish communities around the world in expressing ourdeepest condolences to the families whose loved ones were murdered and mutilated by the hands of hate.
We join our brothers and sisters living in the land of Israel with a growing sense of concern regarding the escalation of violence in and around Jerusalem.
We join all who are pursuers of peace in the shared sense of hope that this senseless act of terror by the hands of a radicalized minority will not override the boundless potential that continues to exist in the hands of a moderate majority.
In the days and months to come, we must continue to bring our hearts and our hands together in the pursuing ways to build bridges of trust between our communities here at home with the hope that our efforts can make a difference in the policies and realities abroad. To that end, I encourage everyone in our congregation to make a concerted effort to participate in all of our upcoming interfaith events.
Please pay attention to upcoming bulletins and emails for information about future interfaith programming that will help us make a difference.