Our Dear Friends,
Shabbat is supposed to be our refuge. Our break from the mundane of the every day, and ascension into the holy. Sadly, today that refuge was broken in an instant. Today we are all a community of mourners as our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh pick up the pieces of their torn lives and hearts. When evil, the likes of which we saw today happens, it takes our breath away in the worst possible moment. Now is a time to hold our loved ones and our community as close together as possible.
We want to share with you two communal opportunities to come together. Tomorrow, October 28, there will be a community wide vigil at 9:30 am at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. In addition, on Monday October 29, at 6:45 pm, following services in the Hoffberger Chapel, please join with us as we offer prayers together in support of our fellow Jews and first responders in Pittsburgh.
Please know that we are here for you whenever you need, whether you need to talk, pray, cry, or just a simple hug. Evil like this should shock us to our very core whether the victims are Jewish or not, but this time it hits very close to home, because it happened in a synagogue.
Many of you have asked us what you can do. You can start by making a donation to the organization HIAS. The attacker, in social media posts before the attack, disgustingly decried and impugned HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), an organization with whom our Gemilut Hasadim volunteers partner. In addition, you each have a voice and can speak out against bigotry of any kind whenever and wherever it is found. Most of all, we can together hold one another close and reaffirm the values and morals that will not stand for this kind of evil.
In closing let us quote our daily Tefillah which says Shomer Yisrae’l. Shomer Am Kadosh. Shomer Olam Echad. Master of the World, guard us, protect us, empower us — for each other and for all of Your creations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole Jewish community of Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Joshua Gruenberg & Rabbi Debi Wechsler