2018. We are an entire nation in shock by the senseless death of 17 in Parkland, Florida by a lone gunman with an assault weapon. An increasing number of us don’t want to hear “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” from our elected officials. No, that doesn’t cut it anymore. In Jewish tradition, prayers must be accompanied by action. We are partners with the Divine and we must do OUR part. This year is TimesUp for many issues – gun violence is one of them. No child should ever fear to go to school because they might be shot. Not one child. No parents should be worrying that when they kiss their children goodbye in the morning that this may be the last time they see them. Enough!
It’s time we love our children more than the right for some people to own guns, many of which should simply be illegal, and easy access to those weapons meant for war.
In 2016, I was asked to contribute to the book Not By Might: Channeling the Power of Faith to End Gun Violence by my colleague Rabbi Menachem Creditor. Unfortunately, I had to update it to include some of the mass shootings since then.
Prayers Alone Are Not Enough
Prayers alone didn’t get us out of Egypt.
No, we stood up and walked out of Egypt
We stood up at the Warsaw Ghetto
We stood up to huge countries intent on destroying us.
We prayed with our feet for civil rights.
We rose up against unjust wars.
We stood up for women’s rights.
We stood up for marriage equality.
Standing up is in our bones, our cells, and our very beings
We rise up against injustice –
Even, maybe even more so,
when it is for other people’s wellbeing.
We LIVE “nobody’s free until all of us are free.”
Now is another time that calls us to once again,
Prayers alone will never work.
Change comes when we move, act, rise up, stand up.
Our country must take action against the gun epidemic.
We MUST make it impossible to buy an assault weapon.
It is our inalienable right to be safe in our
High Schools, theaters, dance clubs, summer parties.
Our synagogues and churches.
Newtown, Sandy Hook, Charleston, Aurora, Orlando, San Bernardino, Columbine, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Las Vegas, Parkland…
Too many to name.
So many lives, no –
So many worlds –
Rise up with
our hands, and
June 23, 2016
Updated February 18, 2018
To find out more about Rabbis Against Gun Violence, see here: https://ragvtest.weebly.com/
To purchase Rabbi Creditor’s book, click here: http://amzn.to/2EDvIQY
” No, we stood up and walked out of Egypt”
The jews did not walk out of Egypt…YHVH pulled them out by hearing the ascent to descent prayer….the crossing the red sea was also a divine intervention too…let us not take credit for YHVH work by saying “We walk out of Egypt”, peace
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman says
If you read the text itself, the very first thing that happens is that the Jews cried out. It was then that God responded. We must participate in our own redemption. Further, the Jews slaughtered the Egyptian god (the lamb) and it was only then that they walked out of the land. I’m not minimizing divine intervention, but I am saying (along with a great many rabbis over the centuries) that we are in partnership in redemption.
I am baffled as to the silence from the Jewish community over the senseless killing of Palestinians in the West Bank. The occupation must end. It is damaging our collective Soul. And No, I am not a self hating Jew – and certainly not an antisemite, as those of us brave enough to criticize Israel have heen called. But one who has no words to express the depth of my sadness. What is happening in the occupied territories is not of our Torah.
Ahed Tamimi has something to teach us about humanity…. and history. We were slaves in Egypt….
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman says
We are not silent. It is abhorable. I have rabbi friends that have flown to Israel recently to work on these issues. I agree that the occupation must end and that it is damaging to our collective souls. Thank you for posting