Rabbi's Update 4/14/2023
I mentioned in my Drasha yesterday that two recent tragedies brought home to me once again how interconnected we really are.
On Monday morning, as you know, a gunman murdered five people at the Old National Bank in downtown Louisville, KY. Our daughter Berkeleigh was nearby at a doctor’s appointment when the murders occurred. We subsequently found out that one of those murdered was a close friend of one of Keleigh’s best friends from high school. This friend is someone with whom Keleigh is still in regular contact and who visited with us on a trip to Washington, DC. In other words, one of the victims and Keleigh share a close mutual friend.
Friday April 7, a week ago today, was the first day of Chol HaMoed Pesach in Israel. Many Israelis use this as an opportunity to travel within the country and a terrorist shot up a car traveled in by the Dee family who immigrated from England to Israel in 2014. Two of the daughters of the family, Maia and Rina, were killed on the spot and their mother Lucy was severely injured. She ultimately died of her injuries, never having regained consciousness, shortly after her two daughters were buried.
Maia and Rina’s father and Lucy’s husband is Rabbi Leo Dee. While I don’t know him, we have several friends in common. Rabbi Dee worked at the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, which encourages companies to take the future of our planet into consideration as they make their business decisions. A number of my friends are involved with this worthy organization. One of the Dee daughters attended a summer camp run by one of my good friends, a camp with the purpose of bringing Israeli and Palestinian teens together to learn from each other and appreciate the humanity of the “other side.”
The murdered bank employees in Louisville and the Dee family lost their lives to crises that are much bigger than them. Even should the several recent mass shootings lead to sensible gun control legislation -- something which I think is actually unlikely -- there are already more guns than people in the United States. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict likewise seems to be beyond resolution -- as the leadership on both sides takes actions which make any agreement more and more remote. But as we learn in Pirkei Avot: “you are not required to complete the task, but neither are you free to refrain from it.” As a human race, we have a lot of work to do. May the memories of those killed inspire us to do more than just thoughts and prayers.
As a reminder, I am having drop-in hours on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4 at the shul. You do not need to make an appointment -- that would negate the whole point of drop-in hours -- but I’d urge you to check and make sure I am there regardless as sometimes there are unavoidable pastoral or other emergencies which might take me away from the building.
As always, if I can do anything for you or you need to talk, please contact me at email@example.com or 301-977-0768 rather than through the synagogue office. I am happy to meet you at the synagogue by appointment. I have been spending more time in the synagogue recently but if you want to speak with me it’s best to make an appointment rather than assuming I will be there when you stop by.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Rabbi Charles L. Arian