On Friday, January 14, we gathered (on Zoom) to sing songs of hope and freedom, recognizing that the world is imperfect and we are obligated to work for its repair, and sharing optimism that such repair is possible. The next day, in Colleyville, TX, the peace of Shabbat was desecrated when a terrorist took hostages during a service. For many of us, that day was a day of anxiety and alarm as we offered prayers, privately and communally, and hoped for a safe outcome for our brethren.
Today, we give thanks to the Source of Blessing and to law enforcement agencies that, shortly after Shabbat ended and a new week began, all of the hostages were freed, safe and unharmed. I give thanks, too, for my colleagues and friends who provided support and strength that and have offered kindnesses since. I am grateful that our relationship with the Lowell Police Department has been consistently fruitful, and that we have been made to feel protected and relatively safe in our community. Please be reassured that TEMV’s leadership vigilantly places the highest priority on our congregation’s safety, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure safe gatherings going forward (when it is deemed safe to gather again in person due to COVID).
Yet we know that the threats and dangers of antisemitism are real and ever-present. Let us continue to rely upon one another and to build relationships with those in the broader community as we strive to create a world free of bias and hatred.
May the affected families and congregation find peace and healing, and may we turn to our Jewish tradition and faith to encourage us to love rather than hate, to deeds of goodness, mercy and thanksgiving.
Please know that I am available to you for pastoral support around this incident or for any purpose; I am easily reached at email@example.com.
With prayers for healing of our broken world and love and connection between all human beings,
Rabbi Robin Sparr (she/her)