Friday, November 21, 2014

Clergy Statement on Jerusalem Killings

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrific slayings in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, and grieve with the families of those killed. We are also heart-broken at every reminder that humans are capable of such atrocities. Is it worse that someone is killed at prayer than while doing something else? There is no "worse" or "better" when it comes to murder, but to attack people in a house of prayer does strike us as particularly depraved. There seems to be a sort of "atrocity inflation" at work - as one group perpetrates acts of unimaginable barbarism, others seem to feel freer to enact hateful cruelties. There is no good outcome to this kind of spiral of vengeance and violence. As Gandhi is often quoted, "An eye for an eye will leave everyone blind."

How then do we respond as people of faith? By wringing our hands and issuing statements that say what goes without saying? The one thing the world has tried too little is to work as hard at spreading love and dignity as the agents of terror work at their evil. Binding up wounds and building up communities can also become contagious, especially where a populace has tired of war and terror.

We cannot make world leaders or terrorists make better choices. But we can support those who work to foster peace and integrity. We can uphold the values of home and security for all people of the world. We can affirm generosity whenever we find it, and refuse to accept intolerance and demonization of our enemies. We can lead with respect and dignity for all, even those who seem least deserving. Like great men and women of history, we can model forgiveness. The alternative has never led to peace.

We can say, despite so much evidence to the contrary, that peacefulness is possible, indeed is desired by God - and only achievable through us. This is true in the Middle East. It is true in Ferguson, MO, and in Stamford, CT. We stand united, hearts broken but spirits strong and willing to wage peace.

On behalf of Dr. Kareem Adeeb, President of the IFC Board, Rabbis Daniel Cohen and Joshua Hammerman, and the Rev. Mark Lingle,  

Kate Heichler
Executive Director, Interfaith Council of SW CT

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