Deaths in Jerusalem.
In a Synagogue.
In a Synagogue two roads away from my brother and his family – they are safe, thankfully.
In a Synagogue where I have prayed.
And then comes the aftermath; accusations, counter-accusations, finger pointing and more and more hatred. The murder of these five Israelis, four Rabbis and a Druze first-responder, hurts. The loss of the children, both Arab and Jew, who now have no father, hurts. But the notion that the holiest city in the world is descending into yet more violence hurts almost as much.
I found something special in a note written by Amichai Lau-Lavie – who was at New London earlier this year. Amichai has written of wanting to ‘take back’ the possibility and the holiness of being able to stand together, in silence, in communion with the animating mystery of our lives. In the face of this awful invasion of prayer we need to reclaim the value of human beings coming together to sing, to stand with one another in companionship. You are all most welcome at services at New London this Shabbat where we will honour the lives lost. I’m delighted that my predecessor Rabbi Reuven Hammer will be joining us from Israel and we may well make opportunities available for a conversation with Rabbi Hammer after the Kiddush.
My brother has suggested that those looking for a more concrete way to show their consolation for those bereaved can do that at http://harnofchesed.wix.com/give.
It’s Parashat Toledot – a moment in our narrative I dread every year. My ancestor Jacob takes the birthright and blessing that Esau saw as his. The implications of this ancient antipathy are still being felt.