This past Friday, forty-nine people were senselessly slaughtered in shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand. With multiple injuries still being reported, this is considered to be the worst terror attack against Muslims in the nation. We are sadly reminded, yet again, of the despair and loss caused by the baseless hatred of others.
The Jewish community knows all too well what happens when unrelenting and unforgiving hate goes unchecked. We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and all those impacted by these unspeakable atrocities throughout New Zealand and beyond. We unequivocally condemn these brutal acts and we mourn with the world on this fateful day.
After the gruesome murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue last October, I asked the following question from the Bima at Congregation Beth Israel: If we can’t be Jewish in a synagogue, where can we be Jewish?
Today, that question resonates in a new way, taking on greater meaning. If none of us can practice our faith in a house of worship, where can we practice? Today, our hearts ache for the survivors and those whose lives will never be the same. Today, our Jewish community should say, unambiguously, that these acts of murder cannot be tolerated. Today, we reaffirm our core belief that the hate and bigotry that fuel such acts must be challenged, confronted, and condemned in every corner of our society.
Just as members of the Muslim community stood with us during the Jewish community’s time of need last October, we stand with them today. We mourn with them today. We cry with them today. We are reminded of the words of Ellie Wiesel, “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere."