Compassion, grief, Gun violence, Hate, Sorrow, Tree of Life Synagogue, Violence


“Shoes on the Danube Promenade” by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer.

I cannot let it go — the unconscionable tragedy against the worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. One week after eleven people were gunned down there, 100 people gathered on a cold, drizzly Saturday outside the still unopened place of worship for a “healing service.”

We gathered in Macon as well, to stand in solidarity, remember those who lost their lives, pray for their grieving families, and keep vigil with our Middle Georgia Jewish community. I do not know the capacity of Temple Beth Israel, but I do know that every pew was filled, people were standing along every wall and in every corner and flowing out onto the sidewalk. I was moved, as were many, by the outpouring of love and support expressed in the Macon Shabbat Service.

And so it should be. All of us must pay close attention to the stark reality that this was one of the deadliest attacks on Jews in United States history. To guard against this kind of violence, we  must link hands without considering race, ethnicity, religious tradition, gender, age, sexual orientation or any label that divides us. We must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We must never forget the history that allowed hate and violence to harm various groups of people.

During WWII, Jews in Budapest were brought to the edge of the Danube, ordered to remove their shoes, and shot, falling into the water below. Sixty pairs of iron shoes now line the river’s bank, a ghostly memorial to the victims. It is one of many memorials erected to remind us, to ensure that we will never forget and never repeat such history.

May God make it so.




2 thoughts on “Remembering”

  1. Totally agree with everything you have written. The Jewish people have been persecuted for thousands of years. My own great great grandmother Elizabeth, came from Eastern Europe seeking peace in England & found it in the arms of my gentile great great grandfather. I’m so glad she left when she did way before the war, or our story and family would look different. Her descendants might have suffered the horrors of Poland, Holland, or whenever they may have tried to run.
    This blog has reminded me of the cost of hate & how close it can hit home personally.
    We should never forget the past so it is NEVER repeated.
    Thanks for this blog.


    1. You are so right that we must never forget. If we’re honest, we will find that discrimination, hate and violence hits close to home for many of us. I am so grateful that my grandmother and grandfather were able to flee from the violence of Mussolini with my infant mother and came to this safe, welcoming nation. God help us as we try to welcome those who come to this country today in these times of xenophobia. May God guide us all toward kindness.


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