“The love and support has to continue for all of us. When it comes to hatred and violence, we all must stand together.”
— Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel, who was held hostage yesterday, writing after the shooting at the Tree of Life - Or L’Simcha building three years ago
Today we are relieved.
We are grateful that all four people held hostage at Congregation Beth Israel are safe. We send our prayers for peace and healing to them, their families, their congregation, and their community.
Yesterday was a difficult day to be Jewish in this country. We felt the all too familiar grief, outrage, and horror of witnessing yet another attack on a synagogue on Shabbat. We are scared and tired by the repeated news of antisemitic violence in our neighborhoods and in our holy places. But we are not alone.
During the long day and night of waiting, it was solidarity that kept us hopeful. Our neighbors of all faiths were united in condemning this attack and antisemitism in all forms. Here’s a glimpse of the outpouring of support we witnessed:
Whether we are walking down the streets of our neighborhoods or through the doors of our holy spaces, none of us should experience fear or be targeted for our faith. We are called to build a country that fulfills that promise for all of us.
Our response when our community is attacked is a measure of our values. We know there will be some people who attempt to use our community’s pain and trauma to fuel division or incite violence against Muslim communities. We will reject any attempt to hold an entire community responsible for the actions of one individual.
We also know that we need ways to approach community safety that include every member of our community. Some synagogues and other Jewish institutions will increase policing in response to what happened yesterday. This will make some Jews feel safer, but will make many Black Jews and Jews of color feel less safe and unwelcome in our community’s holy spaces. When we pray for the shelter of peace to cover us, we must include everyone.
Today we are sending our love to our Jewish communities in Colleyville and across the country — to you, to us. Remember to make room to heal and rest today in whatever ways you need. Be gentle with yourself, and hold your family and friends close.
With love and strength,
Bend the Arc