As I’m many of you have heard, yesterday in Pittsburgh, PA at the Tree of Life Synagogue, 11 people senselessly lost their lives,and three brave Pittsburg PD officers were injured in the line of duty, protecting and serving. As a proud and active Canadian-American Jew, in what is being deemed the worst act of anti-Semitism in US history, shakes me to my core. It makes me feel sick, rattled, violated, and unsafe. This, my friends, presents the ultimate challenge in being mindful. How do we do such a thing after an such an egregious act of hate? I won’t pretend to know the answer, for there isn’t one magical answer that will cure all. In a time where anti-Semitism runs rampant throughout parts of the US and much of Europe, all Jews and those that love and support them need to stand together as one. We need to acknowledge how we and others feel, sitting with the disgust and violation, welcoming it, using it to propel change. We as one species must act to ensure that acts of anti-Semisitm that laid the basis for the slaughter of 6 million Jews and many others in the Holocaust never happens again. Together, hand-in-hand, we stand strong protecting those that need us so they may protect us when we need them.
In closing, I leave you all with my favourite poem entitled “First they came…” written by “German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_…):
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.