Rabbi Mel Gottlieb’s Message to the Community

We are all deeply saddened by the day of horror and terror that took place at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, yesterday on the Holy Shabbat. A sense of relief came over us as this horrible event was resolved without physical injury to any of the hostages. We are grateful for the amazing work of law enforcement and paramedics on the scene, as well as the multi-faith group of chaplains who bestowed spiritual comfort. Thank G-d that this horrific event came to a peaceful end. We have learned of the courageous, generous presence of Rabbi Cytron-Walker and three congregants and are truly grateful for the Rabbi’s relational, calm and dignified leadership. We bless the Holy One for this successful rescue and continue to pray for the emotional health of those held hostage, and for their families and loved ones.

In the last several years, our Jewish community has endured increasing cases of targeted violence, vandalism, hate motivated crime, and property damage. The need for greater security resources for our houses of worship and communal gatherings has been recognized as essential to maintain our freedom to worship with peace of mind. The Federal Government and local security institutions have worked with us to educate and increase appropriate security measures.

At a time like this we are reminded of the continued threat of antisemitism, our need to address the sources of this rising hatred, our commitment to educate our communities to the ways in which we must to obviate this scourge, and work together with our brothers and sisters to remain faithful to our commitment to build a more humane, loving world. I was truly heartened by the prayers of our Jewish community, by our solidarity with each other as family, and equally uplifted by the prayers of people of all faiths who prayed with our community, supported the families held hostage, and checked in with their collegial Jewish clergy leaders. If we remain together as strong interfaith partners, we will move from this crisis to an opportunity to show that love can transcend hatred. Our strong faith and goodness and our faith in G-d will overcome this bigotry and rampant terrorism that plagues our society and we will build a more humane, just, peaceful world together. And may it be so!

In Love and Friendship,
Rabbi Mel

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