Sending Blessings of Light and Love (A Message from Rabbi Abby, October 30, 2018)
“Eitz Chayim Hi…It is a Tree Of Life to those who grasp her, and whoever holds on to her is happy (Proverbs 3:18)”
Dear friends and members of Temple Beth El,
As we try to rap our heads around the recent mass shooting in Pittsburgh, that which followed a week long assault of violence on our country from within, many of us search for words and feelings that are nearly impossible to find. While our world reels from this latest assault, this time against the Jewish community, we send love and light and prayers to all who are suffering.
Our hearts grieve for the 11 beautiful souls murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue as well as Maurice E. Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones, murdered in Kroger on October 24th.when the killer could not get into a nearby church. May their memories always be for a blessing. We pray for the healing and recovery for all those injured and who lives will never be the same. We send out healing energy to the mourners and pray they will find comfort among all those who mourn.
With the safety and peace of Shabbat temporarily shattered, we search for ways to cope and to integrate these horrific events into our lives. It is important that we not let hate and fear, stoked by violence and virilent words, turn us away from the light and love that is in this world and the hope and possibility of change. We must stand together with all those committed to building a more compassionate and loving society and find our way through the challenges together. Since the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue, we have witnessed communities coming together, filling sanctuaries to capacity and we can gain strength and inspiration from this support. We will grieve for all that has been lost and then we must turn our anger and pain into action.
What can we do to heal and to build a safer, healthier world? We can sing and pray and love each other as we struggle and be sure to reach out with a supportive hand or ear. We can encourage and inspire eachother to move forward towards change, while holding fast to our values as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists and others, all sojourners on this beautiful planet. We can give Tzedakah to worthy causes that fight for justice and freedom (consider a donation to HIAS), in memory of those no longer physically with us, but always with us in spirit. We can vote for individuals that represent our highest ideals and stay committed to a world that is grounded in love and compassion for all beings with no exceptions.
We can also create circles of healing and support and I invite you to the upcoming gatherings that I will be participating in/or leading, building communities of mutual respect and friendship.
Tuesday, 10/30 – Marlton Interfaith Service of Solidarity at Congregation Beth Tikvah in Marlton. beginning at 7:30 pm.
Thursday, 11/01 – Torah study at TBE where we will explore the Life (and death) of our matriarch Sarah, beginning at 6:30 pm.
Friday, 11/2 – Interfaith Shabbat Service at Congregation Beth Tikvah-Beth Israel in Sewell, beginning at 7:00 pm.
Saturday 11/3 – Temple Beth El in Hammonton. We will be welcoming members from the larger Hammonton community in friendship and solidarity to our sanctuary, beginning at 10:30m , following by a light lunch.
Thursday, 11/15 – Healing Circle at RAPHA – The Center for Healing and Spirituality, Cherry Hill beginning at 7:30 pm.
Tuesday, 11/20 – Interfaith service of Gratitude – United Methodist Church, Hammonton, beginning at 7:30 pm.
As we journey forward, please remember that you are not alone and I am here to provide support if needed. I offer the two attached melodies in the hope that they will bring you some comfort during these difficult days and you will come sing them with me on Shabbat morning this coming Saturday.
May we work together in building a world from love, Olam Chesed Yebaneh and may Eitz Chayim Hi, The Tree of Life, bring us peace and healing.
B’Ahava (in love)
(Hear Rabbi Abby’s beautiful chants below. (When you click below the files will be downloaded; then click on the download to hear the audio.)