On this night, a night when I go back and forth between finding it hard not to cry to actually crying, I feel motivated to search for ways to make things better, In Pittsburgh, Pa.’s Squirrel neighborhood an evil deranged man walked into a synagogue, shouted “All Jews must die” and proceeded to massacre 11 of my people. Sadly, over the course of my lifetime, many Jews have been massacred, primarily in the State of Israel. Most of the people reading this know what I am saying all too well and share in the feeling of devastation and anger prevalent in our community today. So whatever we do to make it better, it won’t feel like that tonight or likely for quite some time.
But tonight I have a message for my fellow Jews. There is something I feel we not only can do, but must do. We must unite to identify who our enemies truly are so that we can look out for ourselves. That starts with stopping attacks on each other. Whether it is a difference in political views, difference in approach towards Jewish practice, or the lifestyle choices everyone makes, if we spend our time on social media attacking each other make no mistake, we will lose. And I will do my part to prevent that starting today.
For some time I have considered doing this, but in memory of those murdered today in Pittsburgh I will wait no longer. Global Coalition for Israel, which now stands at 4,640 members is a Facebook group I put together after the murder of 3 Jewish young men, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkelin Israel in June of 2014. Over the years there has been disagreement between those holding different political views that has descended into personal attacks on others in the group. As of tonight that changes. As administrator of the group I do not care if you are Conservative or Liberal, Orthodox or Reform, Gay or Straight, black or white, or Democrat or Republican. Anyone using this page is expected to use it for the purpose it was originally created, and that is to provide support for Israel and defense against attacks on the Jewish people. I will be deleting attacks that I see as being personal or irrelevant to what this page is meant to accomplish and I will ban anyone who behaves in an abusive manner towards other members of the group. Anyone who disagrees with this approach will be welcome to message me privately. Just know that I do this in honor of those killed today and for a greater cause.
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I know that what I am putting out there tonight is a drop in the ocean compared to what needs to be done, but if we all put our drops in the ocean maybe we can start a wave of hope and strength. Hope that we can see how most of us want the same positive outcome even when we disagree, and the strength we need to fight those who hate us, be it a Palestinian terrorist, a Neo-Nazi, or an evil and angry anti-Semite like the garbage that murdered the people in Pittsburgh today.
In the days, weeks, months and even years ahead we have work to do. Work that we must do together. If those among us who spend our time focused on how much we despise one of our own for views that are different would stay alert for those who actively want to see us dead, maybe we will do something to help. We can not let something like this happen again and must do everything in our power to see to it that it does not. That does not mean liberal and conservative Jews hating each other, it means drawing the line at ideological disagreement so when it comes time to work together we are ready to mobilize. We must be proactive, even investigatory on social media. We must form groups to protect our institutions, and most of all we must see each and everyone of us as being part of the same family. If we do not we will lose. And my friends, too much is at stake for us to allow that to happen.
A year and a half ago my mother, a beautiful and remarkable woman who survived the horrors of Nazi occupation only to build a new and wonderful life together with my father of blessed memory, passed away at the age of 95. Today was the first day I was happy she was not around, for after what she experienced in Holland between 1940-1945, the pain today’s events would have caused her is something I would never have wanted to see her go through.
I’ll do my part and I will do whatever I can to help others do theirs as well. If what you want is the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people I stand with you, and I invite you to stand with me.
Baruch Dayan Emes- Bless is the True Judge.
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