A Note From the Rabbi's Study
December 11, 2019 / 13 Kislev 5780
Dear Temple Emanu-El Family,
At my Installation Shabbat service this past Friday night, I shared that my deep gratitude for the opportunity to become your newest rabbi. The ruach, curiosity and sense of community that animates our synagogue are truly an inspiration. I thank you all for being part of such a special evening, and for making me feel over these past five months that my family and I have come home.
It is all the more painful on this otherwise ordinary Wednesday evening to address a tragedy that took place so close to home.
By now we are all aware of the yesterday’s shooting in a Jersey City cemetery and a kosher market that claimed the lives of 3 victims and one veteran police officer. Gun violence is happening in our country with such tragic regularity that at times we have to remind ourselves not to become non-reactive or to accept it as simply one more dark facet of this difficult world. At other times, those reminders find us. This is one of those times.
As Jews, and as residents of New Jersey, this terrible, senseless act is especially frightening. By all accounts, the Jewish community was singled out this time. Even as we mourn, and feel freshly vulnerable, and hold our loved ones extra tightly, let us also remember that hatred must be confronted wherever it grows. In this time of sorrow, we pray for the strength within ourselves to promote human dignity and justice. Bigotry and anti-Semitism are not an acceptable new normal. As Chanukah approaches, may we do our part together to be the beacons of light we so need.
Know that your Temple clergy, board and staff are always here to discuss any concerns with you around safety and security. We are, as always, committed to our core values of openness and hospitality. At the same time, we maintain regular contact with the local resources that will help us to gather in protection and peace.
I hope to see you at our pre-Chanukah dinner and Shabbat service on Friday night December 13. Our Kindergarten-2nd Grade students will be participating, and there is no greater tribute to joy and hope than that.
~ Rabbi Rebecca Gutterman