Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism, this blog contains random musings of a journalist, father, husband, son, friend, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and occasionally-ranting rabbi, taken from Shabbat-O-Grams, columns, speeches, letters, sermons and thin air. "On One Foot," the column, appears regularly in the New York Jewish Week, as well as a blog for the "Times of Israel."
We condemn in the strongest possible
terms the horrific slayings in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, and grieve
with the families of those killed. We are also heart-broken at every reminder
that humans are capable of such atrocities. Is it worse that someone is killed
at prayer than while doing something else? There is no "worse" or
"better" when it comes to murder, but to attack people in a house of
prayer does strike us as particularly depraved. There seems to be a sort of
"atrocity inflation" at work - as one group perpetrates acts of
unimaginable barbarism, others seem to feel freer to enact hateful cruelties.
There is no good outcome to this kind of spiral of vengeance and violence. As
Gandhi is often quoted, "An eye for an eye will leave everyone
How then do we respond as people
of faith? By wringing our hands and issuing statements that say what goes
without saying? The one thing the world has tried too little is to work as hard
at spreading love and dignity as the agents of terror work at their evil.
Binding up wounds and building up communities can also become contagious,
especially where a populace has tired of war and terror.
We cannot make world leaders or
terrorists make better choices. But we can support those who work to foster
peace and integrity. We can uphold the values of home and security for all
people of the world. We can affirm generosity whenever we find it, and refuse
to accept intolerance and demonization of our enemies. We can lead with respect
and dignity for all, even those who seem least deserving. Like great men and
women of history, we can model forgiveness. The alternative has never led to
We can say, despite so much
evidence to the contrary, that peacefulness is possible, indeed is desired by
God - and only achievable through us. This is true in the Middle East. It is
true in Ferguson, MO, and in Stamford, CT. We stand united, hearts broken but
spirits strong and willing to wage peace.
On behalf of Dr. Kareem Adeeb,
President of the IFC Board, Rabbis Daniel Cohen and Joshua Hammerman, and the
Rev. Mark Lingle,
Executive Director, Interfaith Council of SW CT