Showing Solidarity

Wednesday, 31 October, 2018 - 10:13 pm

This past week has been an intense one for the Jewish community and for American community as a whole. Our thoughts have been swirling in all kinds of directions. Certainly, foremost among them is the grief and sorrow for the people who were most directly impacted by the horrific attack in Pittsburgh, resulting in the tragic murder of 11 precious souls and the wounding of six others. There are the thoughts about what the ramifications are of this event on the place of Jews in American society. There are the immediate and long term security considerations. Thoughts about the role of politics and rhetoric in this murderous attack. Thoughts about how a tragedy can pull us together as a Jewish nation. And much more.

There have been some poignant moments. Certainly the solidarity expressed at the vigils and memorial gatherings by so many people from so many backgrounds and faiths. The sincere and meaningful offer from folks like the Cajun Navy to “have our backs” so that we can worship in safety. The random but heartwarming expressions of support from people like the man who stopped me in Walgreens yesterday to tell me the he and his family are praying for my people.

Another angle has been the amazing groundswell of energy to have good deeds overpower the evil that was perpetrated. Campaigns such as #Mitzvah4Pittsburgh have yielded wonderful commitments from people to infuse the world with goodness through the Mitzvahs which they have undertaken. For more on that see

Chabad of Louisiana is launching an initiative – a Pittsburgh Solidarity Shabbat – #ShowupforShabbat that will be held next week, Saturday, November 10 at both Chabad Uptown and Chabad Metairie. The idea is to encourage our fellow Jews to show up in Shul as an expression of solidarity along with the determined declaration that we will not be kept from our Synagogues by threats and fear. We hope to fill the Synagogues with people with the same sense of urgency that is felt on Yom Kippur at Neilah.

May Hashem protect us and shield us under the canopy of peace so that we never again need to deal with anything the likes of this horrific tragedy. May we truly experience the sense of Am Yisrael Chai for all times.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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