In response to the shooting at the JCC and Village Shalom in Overland Park, KS, Rabbi Gerry Skolnik, President and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, issued the following statement:
Jews around the world join hearts and minds tonight as we mourn the tragic deaths of three innocent victims in Overland Park, Kansas on the eve of the festive Passover holiday. Passover is a time when the Jewish People around the world will gather together in joy and song to tell the sacred story of our people’s journey from slavery to freedom by God’s own outstretched arm. Two rituals performed at every seder around the world will be excruciatingly poignant tomorrow night. We will do as our tradition requires, and as our people have done for centuries. Every seder participant will dip a new spring vegetable in salt water to remember the tears of slavery and will remove ten drops of wine from our their cups in commemoration of the suffering of the Egyptians through the ten plagues. Our tradition teaches infinite compassion for every human being and the infinite value of every life. This year, we fill our bowls with our own tears and pour out our wine cups in mourning the senseless murders of the innocent. But we wll do it together as one worldwide Jewish people, steadfast in our resolve. Though our joy may be marred this year with sadness, we are resolute in our commitment to carry forth God’s covenant with the Jewish people to bring justice and goodness into the world and to honor the infinite value of every human being many times each day through our actions.
May we strengthen our commitment to eliminating the scourges of gun violence and hatred in our society so that no holy day in any faith or any day in the life of any person, shall ever be marred by this sorrow again. May we earn the merit to honor the memory of the dead by keeping alive the highest values that the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom embody. May God comfort the families of the victims with the all mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
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