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10/30/2018 04:17:46 PM


Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham, CDR, CHC, USN (ret)

Last Sunday night following the horrific tragedy that occurred during Shabbat services being held at  Eitz Chayim-Ohr L'Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, there was many gatherings of interfaith communities across America both to mourn the senseless loss of life and to express solidarity in the wake of this hate crime committed against Jews, specifically American Jews.  Congregations of Shaare Shamayim was invited to attend and participate with The Old York Road Kehillah and The Cheltenham Multi Faith Council in the service held at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park.  At that service a special reading authored by Rabbi Paul Kipnes was read by myself and Rabbi Robert Leib of Old York Road Temple-Beth Am.  As victims are being buried and mourned by their families, friends, and community, I offer for your consideration the words of this prayer entitled "A Kaddish After Gun Violence, for When Humanity Fails Itself":

Yitgadal v'yitkadash sh'may rabba...Exalted and holy be Your great name....  Yet little feels holy today.  Another mass shooting, an incomprehensible horror, too many dead and too many wounded.  And we are left to mourn the dead, to heal the wounded, to wonder "why?"  B'alma di v'ra the world which You God created, according to plan....  But is this part of Your plan: that death and destruction emerges from the free will You entrusted to us, that automatic gunfire rains down unceasingly, that people kill people using weapons we designed and created with the hands you accorded us?  V'yamlich malchutei, bayeichon uv'yomeichom...may Your majestic love be revealed in the days of our lifetime....  In Your Torah we are taught that when Moses and the Israelites stood praying at the shores of the Red Sea while the Egyptian army was bearing down on them, You called out to us saying: "Why are you crying out to Me?  Tell the Israelites to move on!"  (Exodus 14:15)  So help us to move on, not by forgetting this terror, not by explaining it away, not by blaming easy targets.  But by having the courage to mourn the dead, to heal the victims, to bless the first responders, to lead with love, to change the laws, and to save lives.  Y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya, v'chayim aleinu...may there (soon) be abundant peace from heaven, and life for us....Peace that comes because we did not become inured to the continual violence in our houses of worship, in our concert venues, in our schools, in our malls, and in our neighborhoods.  And because we did not allow the calls for prayers to turn us away from the actions we must take to end mass shootings.  But because we did have the courage to stand up, to speak up, and to act out.  Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu...May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us....v'al kol Yisrael, v'al kol yoshvei all Israel and all the world....  So that one day Your world, free from this violence, will finally reflect Your exaltedness and holiness.  V'imru...And we all say...Amen!

Wed, August 21 2019 20 Av 5779