This past Shabbat we witnessed the deadliest anti-Semitic attack against our people in American history. Eleven gentle souls entered their Pittsburgh synagogue, greeted one another with Shabbat Shalom, and settled into their regular seats they have sat in for decades and expected an experience they had repeated for too many Shabbatot to count. Instead, they ended up gunned down – dead.
The shooting occurred at a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased over 50% in the past year. In fact, of all religious groups in the United States, Jews experience more hate crimes that any other religious group.
This Shabbat is “Stand Up for Shabbat,” a Shabbat of solidarity with our family in Pittsburgh, across the country, and around the world. It is a call to fill our congregations during Shabbat. This is our moment to be counted, and to say this cannot happen again in our country. America was always a safe haven for Jews in a world that had often been brutal. While Israel is our home, the U.S. is our country, and, like all religious groups, we have the right to pray freely and to feel safe in our synagogues and temples.
We cannot let hate and anti-Semitism define us. We are a people of hope, and Shabbat is a time of peace and joy. This is our moment to show up at our synagogue or temple this Shabbat. If you are not a member of shul, go anywhere you choose – the doors are open. Here is a list of local congregations.
Let’s fill every single seat in Detroit, and send the message loudly and clearly – we will not be intimidated, and we will not stop practicing and expressing our Judaism openly and freely. We will stand up for our religious freedom as we will stand up for all religious groups in our country. We will go to synagogue to express our unity, and our joy for being Jewish, not because we were attacked. Our message to the world is one of inspiration, hope, love and peace, and profound sorrow for the victims of the massacre in Squirrel Hill.
Throughout history the Jewish people have always triumphed over hate, and we will again. Our participation this Shabbat matters, as it does always, and, living actively and confidently as Jews, and exercising our rights as citizens to vote next Tuesday, also matters.
Show up this Shabbat with your children and explain what is happening and why; all the more if you are not regular shul attendees. Busy this Shabbat (Saturday)? – Show up for a time. Need to leave early? – Show up. Need to come late? – Show up. Don’t usually pray? – Show up! Just show up! We all need to see each other this Shabbat for solidarity, for the statement, and for the healing.
See you at Shul, synagogue, and Temple.