At 7 a.m. I was snuggled under the covers, playing a cozy game of monster with my sweet two-year-old son. My only worry was that he not wake his sister. We were luxuriating in the peacefulness of Shabbat. At that same moment, a gunman with hate in his heart entered Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh and opened fire, killing at least 11, injuring more, and fracturing a sacred space.
At 10 a.m. my own synagogue began reading from Parshat Vayera, the text which begins with Abraham in his wide open tent, a symbol of welcoming for our people, a proof text for why synagogues keep their doors open to all who want to come in on Shabbat. At the same time, the president of the United States remarked that the synagogue was at fault for having not locked down their campus.
At 12 p.m. we sang Adon Olam, ending with the line, “Adonai li v’lo irah.” God is for me, I shall not fear. The families at Tree of Life didn’t get to sing that affirmation of faith today. These words were hard today. My shul is called Neveh Shalom, “oasis of peace,” and it is this sacred space for my children. How can I have no fear if the very essence of my community feels threatened?
At 1 p.m. I sang my daughter her naptime song, “Lo Yisa Goy.” Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. That is when I cried.
May we see a day in our future when the desire to welcome one and all like Abraham outweighs the urge to cause harm. May the day be near when we can affirm our faith in God who protects while actually feeling protection in all our houses of worship, no matter the faith. May we see the day speedily in our lifetime when we all pursue peace.