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Toulouse: The call of a strong woman

Friday, 23 March, 2012 - 12:34 am

Dear Friends,

The Jewish world is still stunned by the events in Toulouse this week. Once again there is a fresh widow and orphan and parents mourning over the murder of their children. What kind of individual with a human heart in his body could do something like this? Which twisted mind could possibly find a way to rationalize and justify this barbarism? Yet this is reoccurring chillingly often. In a sad and ironic twist, little three year old Gavriel Sandler was born after the Mumbai terror attack and he was named for Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg (the Chabad Rabbi in Mumbai).

Though we live in a time when Jews have never been freer to openly live and worship as Jews, it seems that every-time we look up another Jew was murdered in cold blood. From where do we draw the strength and how can we attempt to comfort those whose loved ones were lost? As we struggle to come to grips with yet another incident, a small voice is heard with a powerful message for all of us. This is the voice of Mrs. Eva Sandler, whose husband and sons were among the victims. She has released a statement calling for an increase of light to combat this dark storm. Her words can be read at 

Such strength comes from the depths of our souls and the mighty roots from which we grow. Jews in the most terrible circumstances forged ahead supported by the truth of Torah and Mitzvot and our connection with Hashem. When the darkness seems to be overpowering the world around us we must combat it with the light of that truth.

Now as we prepare for the festival of freedom – Passover, let us hope that the world will finally be free of this craziness because it will be flooded with the truth – that Hashem is one and His name is one – with the complete and final redemption. On that day Hashem will wipe the tears of mourning and pain from all faces. Amen.

Dr. Charles Wasserman was one of my earliest pediatricians in New Orleans, as a member of the Rothschild Pediatric Group. His son Michael later joined the group and is now my children’s physician. We are privileged to have Dr. Mike Wasserman as a real Rofeh Yedid – a doctor who truly cares about our children. This week Dr. Charles Wasserman passed away. I am joined by my family in extending our condolences to Mike and the whole family upon their loss.

Mazel Tov to my parents, Rabbi Zelig and Bluma Rivkin, upon their 40th wedding anniversary; many more happy and healthy years together.

Mazel Tov to Lou and Nanette Furman upon the birth of a grandson, Solomon Furman.

Mazel Tov to Johnny Lake upon being honored by the Jewish Federation for his important work in the community.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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