Our hearts break over the loss of life and pain caused to so many in the horrible attack in Orlando on Saturday evening. The Torah teaches us that we are all made in God's image and every life is sacred. With one common ancestor, our rabbis teach "to destroy one life is to destroy the entire world."
And yet in every generation there are those who see hate and violence as the means of expressing their power. Torah is a reminder that we as a people chose a different path. Our support throughout June for "Pride Month" is a reminder that our understanding of Judaism embraces all who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. Only when hate within the human heart is replaced with acceptance and love will such violence end.
This deadly attack is being characterized as an act of Islamic terror and a homophobic hate-crime. Both assessments are true - and incomplete. This incident was committed by an individual who was, at the very least, influenced by radical Islam. Yet that is only a partial picture of a man with a history of domestic violence, who terrorized his former wife, as well.
This incident also points to the ongoing concern we as clergy have about the inability in this country to establish reasonable restraints on the use of assault weapons and ammunition, as well as to determine nation-wide minimum standards for those who can be permitted to purchase guns.
We cannot stop the hate in others. But we can make it harder for them to harm others. We have the power to make a change. If you wish to be part of a group at the synagogue involved in discussions about how to respond to gun violence, please contact Rabbi Danny ([email protected]) or Michele Posner, Social Action Chair ([email protected]).
Rabbi Zeplowitz , Rabbi Burkeman, Cantor Franco