As leaders of Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, we cry out in grief and pain at the senseless deaths of 11 people in Buffalo and Laguna Woods this past weekend. After we express our sorrow and our solidarity, we recommit to bringing to life a reality that counters the hatred and violence espoused by the shooter in Buffalo. We understand that the twisted rationale for this and other terroristic attacks on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), Jews, Muslims and Asians—attacks on our very existence and the existence of people we hold dear—is born out of fear. We will not succumb to violence inspired by those fears by shrinking away. The most powerful response we can offer is to continue working to create a society that maximizes the humanity and interdependence of all people, and teaching and modeling these precepts and practices in compelling ways. We do this by fighting to dismantle systemic racism. We do this by showing up as powerful coalition partners. And more than anything, we do this by deeply embracing Jewish wisdom and practice and demonstrating, in our words and our actions, the core Jewish teaching that all humans are created betzelem Elohim, in the image of the Divine. We remember that we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and we act on the recognition that each person is filled with a holy spark and inextricably interconnected with the whole of creation.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families in Buffalo and in Laguna Woods who lost loved ones, and we are praying for a complete recovery, physically, spiritually and mentally, for those who have suffered from these traumatic ordeals. May the memories of those who died be a blessing and may we all be strengthened to work for a just world.