I care deeply about my children. I care deeply about your children. I care deeply about the 563 children who are students in our congregational schools. My love for them and devotion to them keeps me awake nights, last Wednesday night in particular. Did you lie awake thinking about them, wondering how people who care so deeply about children could still fail to keep them safe?
And we are failing to keep them safe. It is February 15, 2018 and there have already been 29 incidents of gun violence since the start of the year.
Ours is an ancient tradition that takes into account modern values. In ancient times selling weapons to anyone who might use them against you was absolutely forbidden. In modern times we Jews must speak out with Torah values that insist that unfettered and under regulated access to firearms is a public safety hazard that violates our most deeply held beliefs.
When will we break the cycle of gun violence? When will our helplessness and hopelessness end? I am loathe to suggest that we pray together. Given this epidemic, praying seems a weak response of the helpless and the hopeless and we are neither. What we will pray for is the wounded and the dead of the most recent attack. But after Shabbat please let us act. Let us advocate. Let us march. Let us protest. Let us cry and speak out publicly. Let us demonstrate our care for our children, our 563 children, and the millions of children who are created in God’s image and should be able to come home from school to those who wait for them.