On Monday morning, we awoke to the deadliest mass-shooting in US history. All week long, we have received responses (much like the one I am crafting now), all of which express anger, horror and sadness. Now, it is Wednesday, and time has offered us a clearer understanding of how the nation is responding to this tragic, murderous rampage.
Rallies are assembling throughout the country and around the world (Houston gatherings are listed below) as expressions of support for the LGBTQ community. These gatherings remind us that we are all vulnerable to crimes like this as long as there is a festering hatred simmering beneath the surface of society. This hatred, combined with access to munitions that should only be available to the military and law enforcement, is a combination that only leads to repeated disasters on a grand scale.
What can we do?
We need to counter this hatred with love. We need to stand in solidarity with all communities of faith as we express support for the LGBT community. We need to be diligent in our efforts to counter forces of hated and prejudice wherever and however we can. We need to resist the temptation to point to this horrific act of an evil soul as a reflection of the values of Islam. And finally, we need to begin to have a reasoned national conversation on how we can maximize the protections afforded to us by The Second Amendment while seeking ways to minimize access to military munitions of this kind.
This is yet another wake up call for our communities to consider ways to address an ever changing landscape of escalating hatreds and very real concerns regarding our daily safety. Regardless of our political leanings, there are two things that need to take place in order for real change to begin. We need to begin listening to each other and we need to stand up for each other.
A list of community-wide events to show support of the LGBT community can be found below. Additionally, on Friday night at our Shabbat Services we will include special blessings and meditations which promote the sanctity of life, the value of human diversity and the importance to stand up for dignity of all people regardless of sexual orientation, faith or family of origin.
Houston Candlelight Vigil: Wednesday, June 15, 7:30pm
Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston, TX 77002
Join Mayor Turner, city officials, and religious leaders, including Rabbi Samuel Karff, Rabbi David Rosen, and Cantor Daniel Mutlu at a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the victims of the Orlando attack.
HCRJ Solidarity Shabbat: Friday, June 17, 7:15pm
Friday night at our Shabbat Services we will include special blessings and meditations which promote the sanctity of life, the value of human diversity and the importance to stand up for dignity of all people regardless of sexual orientation, faith or family of origin.
Keshet Pride Shabbat: Friday, June 24, 6:00pm
Welcome Shabbat at Congregation Beth Yeshurun and join us for our first annual Pride Shabbat Dinner afterward (7:45pm). RSVP required for dinner: $20 per adult & $10 per child or fulltime student. RSVP to www.keshethouston.org
Houston Pride Parade: Saturday, June 25, 8:00pm
Come downtown and march with us in the Houston Pride Parade. Come show your solidarity with the LGBT community. We’ll be marching with klezmer musicians from the Lanier Middle School Klezmer Band and the Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour of Austin. We will make Havdallah before marching. Go to www.keshethouston.org for all the details.