Friday, September 1, 2023

Lethal Hate

The lethal mix of unadulterated hate and unrestricted access for virtually anyone to obtain assault rifles reached our backyard. It was with great sadness that we learned of an individual who killed three people in a racially motivated attack. The murder weapon had insignias of swastikas etched on it. Let that sink in slowly. In 2023, someone from Clay County is so committed to Nazi ideology that he can murder three innocent African American members in broad daylight while they are shopping for groceries. It's essential to stand in solidarity with the local African-American community as they are reeling and hurting from this awful tragedy. As a Jewish community, unfortunately, we have too often been at the other end of similar tragedies, and we have also been forced to bury members of our community because of this unadulterated hate. In 1996, there was a wave of suicide bombings in Jerusalem on the busy Jaffa Street. Particularly, there were coordinated bombings on the number 18 bus line. I recall hearing from someone in Jerusalem at the time they were not concerned for their safety as they did not travel on the number 18 bus! Obviously, that is a sad perspective that reflects one that does not grasp the severity of the situation. Similarly, it's important to understand that haters who target one minority group express hostility to our community. Burying our heads in the sand may provide temporary comfort, but it's an unwise method to address reality. Hateful ideology continued to kill Jews in Israel this month, as five Jews were murdered in terror attacks in the month of August alone. My intent here is not to cause worry or depression but rather to open our eyes to debunk any illusion that we are immune from hate that can cause harm. As our patriarch Yaakov taught, in the face of threats, one must adopt a three-tiered approach of focusing on prayer, diplomacy, and self-defense. Let us double down on embracing this formula as we continue to walk between the raindrops. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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