Joy and Sorrow, Gratitude and Anger

It’s been almost a week since the Fall Shabbaton. It’s been almost a week since the horrific attack on Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

At the Center for Small Town Jewish Life, we’ve spent the week reflecting on the beauty and success of this past weekend of community, song and learning, as well as mourning the loss of our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh. Joy and sorrow, gratitude and anger, being surrounded by community, and afraid that ours could be targeted…a week it has been.

Joy and Sorrow

We are buoyed by the overwhelming response of our Jewish community here in Maine.

There have already been a number of vigils and community gatherings since the shooting last week. From Bangor to Portland, and at synagogues in between, our communities and our friends have shown up to denounce the act of hatred that shook our community last week. We are held by these gatherings, by our friends and interfaith neighbors turning out to support us.

Opportunities to stand in solidarity with our Pittsburgh community continue this Shabbat. Whether you are a regular at Shabbat services, or if synagogue is not part of your religious practice, we encourage you to go to shul this evening and tomorrow morning. You will be joining the national Jewish community in denouncing these acts of hatred.

Avi Mayer, assistant executive director of the American Jewish Committee, shares these words: “Our response to those trying to disrupt Jewish life in America or anywhere else is to demonstrate that Jews will continue to celebrate their Jewishness openly and proudly. When they go low, we go to shul.” This Shabbat, we will gather as one community to affirm our faith and heritage, and we hope you will join us in your respective cities and towns.

Shabbat Shalom to our community across Maine, across the country, across the globe. May this Shabbat be a sacred and peaceful time when we gather: gather to honor the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting, and gather our strength so that next week we can continue our work building vibrant Jewish life here in Maine and around the world.

-Sarah Rockford

Program Coordinator