On Tuesday night, as we gathered together to mourn the eleven people who were killed this past Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and to pray for the injured, something truly inspiring happened to me. I found hope.
Tragedy can be a very powerful thing. It can break you. It can envelop you in an impenetrable darkness. But Tuesday night reminded me of a different type of power tragedy can possess. It can unite people. It can create an insurmountable amount of hope and determination. It can summon strength within us we didn’t know we had.
I walked into Temple Israel Tuesday night with an incredibly heavy heart. I could feel the sorrow around me as the Social Hall, Sanctuary and Chapel began to fill with community members from all over our Dayton region. It was surreal to see so many people arriving to stand in solidarity with our worldwide Jewish community.
The solemn prayers, poignant music, emotional candle lighting ceremony, and touching words from speakers Marshall Weiss and Judge Walter Rice were so comforting and moving. Toward the end of the evening, I could sense a flicker of light within myself.
Here I sat, in a room overflowing with people from a community which I adore, surrounded by an abundance of love and support. For that one hour, we were united. People of all races, religions, and walks of life sat with each other, paying their respects for the victims of Saturday’s tragic attack, and standing against intolerance, injustice and hate in our world.
The coming days, weeks, and months will not be easy for the Jewish community. There are many questions to be answered. How could someone be so filled with hate? How do we prevent something like this from happening again?
However, if we continue to stand together, we can serve as a reminder to others that tolerance, love and respect are the cornerstones of humanity, and there is zero room for hate in our world.
Members of the Jewish and non-Jewish community are encouraged to attend Shabbat services this weekend at one of our local synagogues to stand in solidarity with one another. Click on the links below for more information:
I would like to thank Temple Israel, our community’s Rabbis, Cantors, the Dayton Jewish Chorale, Marshall Weiss, Judge Walter Rice, Federation President Bruce Feldman, and our very special candle lighters for helping to make Tuesday night an unbelievably uplifting and inspiring evening. I was moved beyond words, and am forever grateful to have such amazing partners in our community.
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