Dear Temple Beth Or Community:
We often turn to our Shema prayer for comfort and grounding. As we process the school shooting this week in Uvalde, Texas, I want to share a kavanah (intention) written by our Reform Movement’s teenagers after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida:
When we watch the news after each senseless act of violence, we feel pain as though we ourselves were the victims. Every time someone is murdered, we ourselves are offended; God is offended, for we are all inextricably linked. We are one. We are called upon to raise our voice and turn our actions to collectively affirm this oneness.
While our TBO community is on break this weekend, know that if you need support, I am here as your rabbi if you need to connect. School districts have shared resources with families and I want to emphasize that our children need special care right now. The American Psychological Association suggests: make space for kids to talk, take “news breaks,” monitor adult conversation, check in often, and be sure to care for ourselves too. (Helping Your Child Manage Distress in the Aftermath of a Shooting)
Our Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center is engaged in a campaign to prevent gun violence and TBO will be sure to share out upcoming action opportunities.
Our ancient Sages teach: “One who takes a life, it is though they have destroyed the universe. And one who saves a life, it is as though they have saved the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). As we reflect on the immense loss of life from gun violence in our country, our tradition asks us to grieve and, at the same time, invites us to action.