A Response to Parkland

February 21, 2018

Another senseless shooting at a school, this one the 18th of the year, which sadly averages out to one shooting every other day.  And this one became personal.  One of our congregants has a relative who was shot and passed away this morning.  My sister teaches in a pre-school across the street from the high school and as is standard procedure for a full scale lockdown, had to turn off all the lights and hide the children in closets.  All we have are questions and outrage.  Aren’t our children supposed to be safe in a school?  How do we comfort the parents of the victims?
Political pronouncements become self-serving as our elected leaders don’t lead.  Debates continue unabated about gun control laws and the treatment of the mentally ill.  While I do not know the specifics of this horrific event and what could induce someone to shoot innocent children, I do know that a primary responsibility of our legislators is to promote laws that keep us safe.  Their continued inaction is their failure to serve our needs.  Will this yet be another example of the following timeline: A school shooting followed by moral outrage followed by hand wringing followed by even newer news of the day followed by fading into the past.  If you feel strongly that it is time for our legislators not to talk but to act, I encourage you to let them know.
In times of need, the Jewish community turns to the Psalms for strength.  Today is the first of a two-day Rosh Hodesh(new month), this being the last day of the month of Shevat, tomorrow the first day of Adar.  We read in today’s Psalm these selections(edited):
          Let us sing to God, who is our strength; raise up your voices...
          Sound the shofar on the New Moon...
          I removed the burden they bore on their shoulders...
          In your misery you cried out and I rescued you...

Perhaps the sounding of the shofar is a call to action, as it was in ancient times?  I hear the cry of the shofar pleading with me amid the cries of the victims: How long must this continue?  Haven’t we reached a breaking point?
I pray that God be with the grieving families in their time of need.  I seek God’s strength to persevere through yet another tragedy.  I implore God for wisdom to make the right choices to heal our broken spirits and find solutions toward a better, safer society.  Amen.

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