Today is Shavuot and ordinarily I would not even be turning on my computer on a Jewish holiday. Given yesterday’s horrific mass shooting yesterday in Orlando, Florida, in which 50 people were murdered and at least as many hospitalized, I felt it was my obligation to reach out to you.
To date, this is the worst mass shooting our country has ever seen. This act of terrorism and hatred is made all the more devastating by the fact that it took place in a night club catering to the LGBT community in June, Pride Month, a month of celebration and solidarity for diversity and for honoring the culture of the LGBT community. This attack must be seen as a clarion call, a crying out of too many voices in pain, and too many voices forever silenced, that our culture of gun violence must end now. Military-style assault weapons have no place in our homes or in our streets. And homophobia and discrimination of all kinds must be drowned out by those who honor and uphold the teaching that we are all created B’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image.
On Shavuot, we remember that ancient time when our ancestors stood together at the foot of Mount Sinai, trembling as they received a collective vision of justice, mercy, and peace. May we stand together again now and in the days that lie ahead to change forever the culture of violence and discrimination that sadly continue to grip our nation.
In the meantime, we mourn for the victims and their families. We pray for those who have been injured, for their full recovery, for the peace of mind of their loved ones, and for all those in Orlando and beyond traumatized by this terrible event. Indeed, we pray for ourselves. We pray for our country.
B’Shalom uvracha/In peace and blessing,