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Statement on New Zealand Mosque Attacks

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are horrified by and condemn the terrorist attacks carried out this morning against Muslims in New Zealand. Our hearts are broken and we are shaken. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim communities of the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and all who are in shock, grief, and fear everywhere as a result of this devastating news. Reconstructionist synagogues across our movement are already reaching out to their local Muslim communities to express solidarity and to attend Friday community prayers as an act of solidarity. The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh has launched the New Zealand Islamophobic Attack Relief Fund, and we encourage all who are able to consider donating through their online portal at this link.

That this massacre took place during Jumu’ah (Friday prayers) adds to our sense of shock and revulsion. Our sacred times and places are where we build deep connections and power – where we come together in our resilience and our vulnerability. We stand in spiritual and moral unity with our Muslim friends and neighbors who have been attacked in this cruelest of manners, and we have faith that the healing power of community gatherings of prayer and resilience will give strength and courage to the members of the attacked congregations.

White nationalism is a violent and deadly movement based on a spiritual and moral web of lies and an embrace of weaponized brutality. Today another member of its hateful cult has opened fire on people peacefully at worship in a house of God, targeting a group that has been demonized and targeted by this toxic movement and its allies.

May the One who created us all lead us to be better than this. And may all who have died be held in God’s love, and all who mourn be held in God’s infinite compassion and healing light. May all who are wounded be blessed with speedy healing.

Coming so soon after the massacre of Jewish worshippers by another white nationalist in Pittsburgh, which took the life of a member of our Reconstructionist congregation, Dor Hadash, we are determined that today’s act of terrorism impel us to work together to bring an end to violent xenophobia and religious hatred. We call on the leaders of all faiths and governments to take clear and firm action to renounce white nationalism and xenophobia, and to be models of bridge-building and mutual respect among the diverse peoples of our shared societies.

Finally, we offer this prayer from Hila Ratzabi as a possible reading for Jewish communities at Shabbat services tonight. It is called “How to Pray while the World Burns,” and was written in response to the Pittsburgh Massacre. As we move towards Shabbat, may we be moved to be instruments of lovingkindness, justice, and peace in our broken world.

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