Columbia, SC — As a lone human brazenly shot at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish assisted-living facility in Kansas, we weep. We weep for the victims and their families.
Such hatred must have no place in this world. It needs to be scourged from the minds of all. And that starts with us.
If we are not moved by such evil to find the places where it is likely to dwell and root it out, we are culpable.
The cry of Abel still resonates in the ears of humanity as his blood seeped into the earth. The Hebrew word for blood there is in the plural form, leading us to understand that when one person is murdered, untold generations never will live. Indeed, society fails when its individual components perpetuate acts of cruelty. We weep for the victims and for us.
It is not enough to feel bad for the victims of violence; we must speak out against it. Every person is called upon to dismantle bigotry, fight hatred and stand against acts of utter evil as now with these violent shootings in Kansas City. Enough.
Especially cruel is the timing as the Jewish community gets ready to observe the Festival of Freedom from slavery, when families gather to recall a time when God intervened to redeem the Israelites from unspeakable hatred. Perhaps that was our lesson too. Perhaps that tale is about how we are to be one anothers guardians.
May our passion for fighting evil be stronger than their passion for being inhuman.
Rabbi Jonathan Case
Beth Shalom Synagogue