May 16th, 2022
We are devastated and outraged at the news of yet another act of white supremacist-motivated mass murder, this time leaving 10 people dead and three others injured, in Buffalo, NY on Saturday. The shooter specifically targeted Black people and hoped to inspire others who share his white supremacist ideology by live-streaming the murder. The shooter espouses “replacement theory,” an idea now moving alarmingly from the right-wing fringe toward the conservative mainstream. This theory claims that people of color, with support from Jews, are seeking to replace white people in the United States.
We are reminded again that our safety as Jewish people is bound up with the safety of Black, Latino, Asian, Native and LGBTQ people and all other targeted minorities. We must continue to envision and fight for a society rooted in love, equity and justice for all. And we must keep working for that world by building inter-communal relationships, by advocating for better public policy, by rooting out racism in ourselves and our institutions, by calling out the danger of white supremacy wherever we see it, and by mobilizing people to vote and hold elected officials accountable.
It is hard not to become cynical and inured to this violence when our country has experienced 198 mass shootings in 2022 alone, including yet another one this weekend at a church in Southern California, as our country’s fanatical obsession with guns continues unabated and after years of inaction on the part of our lawmakers to limit the availability of guns in this country. But Judaism teaches us that we cannot lapse into despair and inaction. Every day we recall the experience of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Our tradition tells us that the sea did not split until they began walking into the water. Rather than being immobilized by fear or waiting for God or others to take action on their behalf, they created their own path forward.
We, too, must take steps in the fight for a true peace, a peace founded in love, equity and justice. We do so in partnership and solidarity with those who share our vision.
We pray for comfort for those who are grieving loved ones and friends after this tragic act of hatred and hope that those injured experience a refuah shleimah.