Dear St. John’s,
The news from the Middle East this past week has been heartrending. Families slaughtered, homes bombed, hostages taken. Between Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory response in Gaza, more than 3,000 people reportedly have been killed. The United Nations reports that ten times that many have been displaced.
The atrocities and ongoing conflict and growing humanitarian crisis spark tears and anger. How should we respond? How can we make a difference?
Today, I called a local rabbi and asked how we could offer support. He spoke of the importance of recognizing each other’s humanity. Of teaching love not hate.
His message was exactly the kind of words that the Rabbi we follow spoke 2,000 years ago, when he told us to love our neighbors.
He also urged us to contact any Jewish friends we have to ask how they are doing and let them know we support them.
I encourage you to follow his advice and to continue to pray for peace to the one who created and loves us all.
I conclude with a prayer from another rabbi that a friend posted on Facebook, along with a beautiful photograph of three young boys representing the three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – standing shoulder to shoulder on a balcony in Jerusalem. May such images of peace soon replace those of war now filling our screens.
Two peoples, one land,
Three faiths, one root,
One earth, one mother,
One sky, one beginning, one future, one destiny,
One broken heart,
We pray to You:
Grant us a vision of unity.
May we see the many in the one and the one in the many.
May you, Life of All the Worlds,
Source of All Amazing Differences
Help us to see clearly.
Guide us gently and firmly toward each other,
Toward peace. Amen.
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA
P.S. -- Don't forget to bring food this Sunday to donate to the local food pantry. This Sunday also is the last day to donate scratch-off lottery tickets for the Oct. 22 tricky tray.
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