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RE: Deadly events in Boulder yesterday

03/23/2021 04:03:39 PM

Mar23

Rabbi Jamie Arnold

Dear friends:

Like you, we at Beth Evergreen are horrified by the news out of Boulder today.  Yet another senseless and devastating attack on innocent lives. Last week, a shooting rampage in Atlanta. Yesterday, here in Boulder, Colorado, an act of terror that took a full minyan of 10 lives and left us all reeling. 

We mourn with the families and friends of those who were killed yesterday: Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Rikki Olds, 25; Neven Stanisic, 23; Denny Strong, 20; Eric Talley, 51; and Jody Waters, 65. May their lives be woven into the bonds of life everlasting, and may their memories be a blessing. 

The questions undoubtably raised by such violence so close to home are decidedly not the questions we would choose as we approach the Passover Holiday season. It is also true that the Passover seder urges us to both face the brokenness (as we break the middle matzah), and to ask the hard questions. With the courage to face the fractures of sanity, security, justice, and peace, we can become empowered with empathy and inspired to generosity. And while recognizing that some of our questions may never be adequately answered, the questions themselves can be healing and freeing. 

Confronted with these recent examples of sinat hinam [senseless hatred and violence] on top the still escalating death toll from Covid-19, the natural human inclination is to turn inwards and withdraw. The Jewish tradition that requires an individual’s mourning to be interrupted by communal celebrations like Passover, urges us to fight that impulse. This is a time for rallying together, for renewing our investments in family and community. Together we can honestly engage the brokenness and the hard questions together. Perhaps this is the truth that can both free us and put us all on the paths of healing, justice, and peace.

May the Source of Wholeness grant comfort to those who mourn, and peace to us, to our neighbors in Boulder and Atlanta, and to all who inhabit this precious planet.

Here’s to a safe and healthy Passover.

Rabbi Jamie Arnold

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781