community, spiritual life

Standing with Tree of Life

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1

Our city is close enough to Pittsburgh that few people here are more than two degrees of separation away from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood that experienced a mass killing at a synagogue this weekend. One neighbor’s sister lives near to where 11 peoplCIMG5747_edited-1.JPGe died on Saturday. A dear friend has lived and worked in the neighborhood. Another friend still works there.

So, perhaps it was no surprise that when our own city’s synagogue opened its doors to the community on Sunday, people showed up in force to grieve, to hope and to stand for “common decency.” A crowd of several hundred filled the sanctuary and spilled out into a fellowship area, the lobby, a small stage and into the lawn outside at least two doors that were thickly flanked by police.

“We are not alone,” said local Rabbi Joshua Lief. And, that was evident.

Here, this weekend, people came together in community even if they lack unity in many aspects of their lives. That is why Jews and Christians, Hare Krishnas and the occasional athiest could stand side by side. That is why people of every skin and hair color — even purple — could cry together. That is why tiny babies and old men with canes and kippahs could fellowship. Even Democrats and Republicans laid down their ideological arms on this occasion.

It wasn’t perfect. Theological and cultural divisions still abound. But, it reminded me of the sense of community and common decency that has held America together for so long. If we agree on nothing else, surely we can unite in doing better than pipe bombs and shootings, than rantings and postings filled with hate.

We can and we must if we are to survive as a nation. May God help us all!


5 thoughts on “Standing with Tree of Life”

  1. We need to remember what brings us together and celebrate our diversity, always remembering peace and love are what most of us aspire for.

    Last week while held captive to one station, they had an author on who had written a book that rather then worry about politics and divisiveness it is time to find commonality with your neighbors and remember what truly unites all of us.

    It is sad when one teaches their children to see difference rather then all of the good things we share, fostering hate.

    I was raised to be color blind and accepting of all, what a wonderful gift and legacy my parents gave us.

    Have shed many tears about where we have gone and where we are headed without some serious intervention of common sense, we have had our reality check.

    All of us want the best for our families to be able to gather together without fear of persecution for religious beliefs, skin colors etc.

    We should be on a journey to celebrate each day with each other. we should stand together for that and not to grieve together.

    Peace, love and blessings for all


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s