For years, the Jewish Federation of San Diego has proudly led the community’s effort to commemorate the Holocaust. But five months ago, when we began planning for this day, we never could have imagined just how meaningful it would become. The coincidence of timing is not lost on any of us as we struggle with our fears and resilience—as a community here in San Diego and as a Jewish People throughout the world.
For Jews the question of coincidence is also a question of faith. As 6 million Jews were marched to their death during one of the darkest moments in Jewish history that faith was tested. And in these days of rising attacks against religious and racial minorities we are being tested again.
Yesterday’s murder and assault on the Chabad community in Poway, was an attack on all Jews. And it was also an attack on all freedom loving people—everywhere.
What can we do in such a moment? When “thoughts and prayers” seem less than adequate, can’t we just be angry? Can’t we just crumble and cry in our loved one’s arms? No.
Our response must be CLEAR AND UNWAVERING. We will not be stopped by fear. Or despair. Or hatred. In honor of Lori Kaye WE WILL not stop. In honor of the victims injured and affected by yesterday’s act of hate and anti-Semitism. WE WILL NEVER STOP.
Exactly six months ago, the world was shocked by the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Since then, incidents against other worshipers from Sri Lanka to Christchurch, New Zealand, paint a picture of a world on fire.
Last week we might have said: San Diego is the last place that such hatred exists and yet today we know: none of us are immune or sheltered from hate.
As we struggle with our fear and our resilience I commit to you we will not lose heart.
I share with all of you today as a leader in our Jewish community, but also as a man, a father, a husband and a son who is hurting. I know many of us are hurting and I want you to know we are not alone. Literally hundreds of colleagues and leaders from around the world have sent condolences throughout the last 24 hours. I am overwhelmed by the compassion and love we have felt from friends everywhere. We are inspired by the fortitude and strength of our partners who no doubt will come together in the coming days, weeks and months to care for our community.
We are proud that in our community, the Anti-Defamation League is here to work closely with local law enforcement and to provide support. We are proud that our own JFS is already on the ground providing trauma based services to those in need. I know many congregations and clergy are available to support those who are afraid. Those who are struggling. And I’m proud that Federation will do its part to help bring the community together to heal.