Saturday’s massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh has shaken our community and communities across the nation and around the world. This heinous crime follows an alarming rise of statements and acts of antisemitism in communities throughout the country.
We have leaders who fan the flames of intolerance and fear, and as a people we have yet to stand in unity to say “No more.”
Unity is an all too rare commodity that sadly is restored briefly in the wake of tragedy. I hope we can take this moment of unity in grief to find the collective moral courage to reassert the values we have claimed as a nation: to be a nation committed to justice, inclusion, and safety.
We need to reclaim the values that George Washington articulated in his Letter to the Hebrew Congregations of Rhode Island:
“For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
All forms of hatred and bigotry are insidious, but prejudice toward others for embracing a religion built on respect, love, and justice is nothing short of madness. We must work to heal ourselves and to bring healing to those who find themselves clouded by ignorance and hatred so we can elevate our communities and our nation to the model promised by President Washington.