The tragic events of last week draws our attention to a number of individual, structural and institutional issues which are becoming an ongoing threat to the harmony of society. Racism and racial profiling, respect for law enforcement and concerns about gun violence are among a number of catastrophic challenges that need to be addressed if we are going to make a shift in our nation’s ever-escalating epidemic of violence. Each issue, in and of itself, is of paramount importance for a healthy future, yet, if we are to
succeed in moving forward, we will need to address each of these matters simultaneously. Unfortunately, our nation in general and our media in particular seem to be unable to address each of these matters with equal weight at the same time.
As Jews, we understand the consequences of allowing this kind of anger and hatred to fester. As a community we need to be dedicated to taking action to repair these broken aspects of our society. We need to find new ways to relate to each other across lines of culture, race and points of view. We need to seek ways to rebuild the bridges of trust are fundamental to effective law enforcement and the communities that they serve. Finally, we need to find a way to have a reasoned national conversation about guns without compromising the rights afforded to us by the Second Amendment. If we have any hope to ending the escalation of violence that continues to plague us as a nation, each of these issues must be addressed simultaneously in serious ways.
As individuals, we must strive to consider these issues with equal weight as well. It is not easy to separate the complexity of these matters without getting political, defensive or judgmental, but this is exactly what we must begin to do. As the aftermath of last week begins to settle, we need to respond with compassion in our hearts and with minds that are open to solutions from all sides.