Grief and anger embrace...

This  morning I awoke to the news of yet another act of terrorism has taken place against African Americans in my land. I first read of this in a posting from a man who was my dorm counselor during my freshman year of college. He wrote: "Commentators are calling this act of violence an isolated incident. Isolated from what? History...?!?" Another colleague put it like this: It is a sad, sad day in America. A massacre, a hate crime, domestic terrorism, AND political assassination (two state senators were murdered.) 

My friends at Americans for Peace Now note the horrific connection between this hate crime and the vandalization of a church in Israel (likely by Jewish ultraconservatives) thought to be the locale where Jesus shared the loaves and fishes - taking special note that today marks the start of Ramadan: Today, as we join our fellow Americans in mourning the victims of the hate-crime in Charleston, South Carolina, and as we re-commit to fighting political violence, racism, and bigotry, Americans for Peace Now (APN) also condemns the torching and vandalizing of the Church of Loaves and Fishes in Israel. The attack on the historic Benedictine Monastery near the Sea of the Galilee, which caused damage in the millions, is apparently another in a series of arson and vandalism in Christian and Muslim houses of worship in Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, carried out by extremist Israeli Jews.

APN, an American Jewish organization that works to ensure Israeli security through peace and the viability of Israel's democracy and Jewish character, is alarmed at the proliferation of religion-related hate-crimes and hateful speech in Israel. A day before the historic church in the Galilee was torched and vandalized with graffiti admonishing "idol-worship," Israel's own Minister of Religious Affairs, David Azoulai, was quoted as saying that Reform Jews are "a disaster for the people of Israel."

As the holy Muslim month of Ramadan starts today, we call on Israeli authorities to show zero tolerance toward crimes of hateful, extremist Jewish nationalist-religious zealots, especially ones directed at Israel's religious minorities. Violence directed at Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites in Israel should be treated with the same zero-tolerance approach as an attack on worshipers at a historic church in South Carolina.

And within the hour Dianne and I leave for a few days in Ottawa for a jazz festival. Life and death, joy and sorrow are always intermingled, yes? My heart is full with sorrow and anger. My soul is not at rest. My spirit is rightly troubled. Perhaps no one captured this aching paradox better than a colleague, the Jewish rabbi of North Adams, Rachel Barenblat who put it like this in her blog: What can I do to change the reality in which this kind of hate crime is possible? (Please read her entire reflection here:

This morning we prayed Psalm 34: how long?

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.

The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,

To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,

And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

NOTE:  I will not be posting for the next five days.


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