Rabbi of B’nai Vail Congregation responds to anti-Semitic shooting in Pittsburgh (letter) | VailDaily.com

Rabbi of B’nai Vail Congregation responds to anti-Semitic shooting in Pittsburgh (letter)

Each week, as a part of our Sabbath service at the Vail Interfaith Chapel, I offer a prayer for yet another tragic event that has occurred around the world. Fires, hurricanes, flooding and shootings are occurrences that, sadly, are far too regular in our lives.

The anti-Semitic shooting at The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh strikes at the very heart of the Jewish community in Vail. When tragedy impacts any community, we mourn their loss, but when a Jewish community experiences a mass killing in our House of Worship on our Sabbath, we respond with anger and with sadness. We are angry because, once again, Jews are victims of anti-Semitic hatred, and we are sad because of the senseless loss of life.

B'nai Vail Congregation has lived peacefully, side by side with other faiths, in one of the few truly interfaith chapels in America for 40 years. In our valley, we are not immune to what is happening around us, but together with a wonderful relationship with the Vail Police and Eagle County Sheriff's Department, we have made every effort possible to make our place of worship a sanctuary of safety. In light of this latest shooting, we will continue to work with law enforcement to keep our community safe.

When hateful words are spoken within our community, we must be the first to speak up and say "enough." As Americans, this is not who we are. As people of faith, this is not what we believe. As men and women of this valley, we will not tolerate this evil.

When tragedy strikes the Jewish community in Israel, America or Vail, we exclaim the Hebrew phrase: "Am Yisrael chai," the community of Israel lives.

In Isaiah, Chapter 40, verses 6-8, we are consoled with the Prophet's words:

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A voice says, "Cry out."

And I said, "What shall I cry?"

"All people are like grass,

"And all its beauty is like the flowers of the field.

"The grass withers and the flowers fade,

"When the wind of the Lord blows on them.

"Surely the people are grass.

"The grass withers and the flowers fade,

"But the word of our God endures forever."

Rabbi Joel D. Newman

B'nai Vail Congregation