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Message to Parents about Chabad Poway Shooting

04/30/2019 07:13:37 AM

Apr30

Rabbi Amy Sapowith and Rachel Strasburg, VP Education

In the wake of the tragic shooting at the Chabad of Poway, CA, we convened the 5th through 7th graders for an assembly at the beginning of our school day yesterday. There, with Mr. Phil, we led a brief service combining songs, prayers, and words of strength and hope. By standing together as a community in this way, we strengthen our faith and our Jewish pride. Some classes later wrote notes of condolence that will be sent to the Chabad in Poway. 

Coming on the heels of our Passover celebration where we relived our rescue from an ancient form of oppression, this most recent anti-Semitic attack represents one of the oldest forms of bullying yet one which we have overcome time and again.  

In the face of anti-Semitism, we must insist that our leaders: clergy, teachers, parents, and elected officials, speak out and take action against ideologies of hate and against people who would bring them into action.

Our kids themselves must speak up: at school, at sports practices, at rehearsals, whenever and wherever they experience someone bullying someone because of their religion, nationality, race, gender, sexuality or for any reason whatsoever.

We at the synagogue are also taking appropriate security measures.  For those with questions in this regard, please contact the chair of our security committee, Doug Steil. He can be reached at doug@steil.net.  You are also welcome to join this committee.

I want to thank the community members who reached out to us to comfort and in solidarity: the All Dulles Area Muslim Society and Christian Fellowship Church as well as individual community members who emailed their horror and support. We are unified in our commitment to foil hateful people’s violent intentions even as we work to prevent anti-Semitism and other hatreds from taking root in peoples’ souls.  

Because strong interfaith relationships are part of the solution to baseless hatred, for those of you who are available, I encourage you to attend an interfaith gathering this Thursday from 10-11:15 am.  It is called the Loudoun Interfaith Day of Prayer: Love One Another. Its purpose is to strengthen the connections that already exist among Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, elected officials, law enforcement, and the Loudoun County Public School in our community. It is taking place at the County Administration Building in Leesburg, 1 Harrison St. 

Also, please put on your calendar: Friday, June 7th at 7 pm (the last day of public school).  That evening two LCPS officials will be joining our Friday evening Shavuot/confirmation service and we will be having a congregation-wide conversation on being Jewish in the Loudoun schools.  Assistant Superintendents, Dr. Ashley Ellis and Asia Jones, who will be with us, are eager to hear from you. Please plan to attend and add your voice.  

Finally, it is our prayer and our task to see that one day we will not need to respond to news of terrorist acts, for there shall be none.  

Keyn y’hi ratzon. May this be God’s will and may we do our part to live up to this challenge. 

Thu, July 18 2019 15 Tammuz 5779