It is with deep dismay that I’m writing once again following a murderous, racist attack on a synagogue during Shabbat services. Our hearts go out to the family of the woman who was killed, and our prayers are for the wounded, who include a child.
The age-old stereotypes of anti-Jewish hatred have once again expressed themselves in murder and outrage.
We stand in solidarity with the rabbi of the Chabad community in Poway, who called for peace and unity even after he himself was injured, and with all the congregation.
In recent weeks Muslims, Christians and Jews have all been targeted and murdered while at prayer.
Whatever our faith or philosophy, we must together declare our shared abhorrence at these vicious crimes against the sanctity of life, and at the brutal desecration of places dedicated to worship, humility and peace.
Those responsible for such abominations must be brought to justice.
Though they alone are fully answerable for what they have done, their actions cannot be taken in isolation from the rising rhetoric of racism in all its manifestations. All those who promulgate hatred of others, individually, collectively and on social media, whether their targets are Jews, Muslims, Christians, blacks, whites or ‘those foreigners’, must constantly be called to account.
In these cruel and frightening times we must not merely talk solidarity but live it in our actions, by deepening our relations with people of other faiths, people whose culture may be different from ours, people who, like us all, are left feeling vulnerable and afraid by the deeds we are once again seeing perpetrated against life itself.
On the very date the attack in San Diego took place, we read in Isaiah of the day when ‘they shall not hurt nor destroy in all God’s mountain, because the earth shall be full of the awareness of God, as the waters cover the sea’.
However far we may be from such a time, we must not desist from working towards it with courage and determination.