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Yesterday, as we were putting the final touches on our seder menu, a violent and horrible tragedy occurred at not one but two centers of the Jewish community in Kansas City. Today is a mournful day for those lost, and not necessarily a day of answers or political rhetoric. Â But it is the day of our first Seder, and it is impossible not to think about how this impacts our celebration of freedom. Â So here is my humble attempt to acknowledge the weight of this crime on this most important of days.
The most important thing to say is that I mourn for the three innocent victims of this senseless shooting. Â My heart goes out to their loved ones as they try to face this new and bitter day. Â I grieve for all of the people in Kansas City who witnessed this evil; especially the parents whose children have now witnessed the worst of human behavior firsthand, and who I imagine have been forever changed. Â I quiver a little bit more knowing that the place where these events took place is very similar to the place where I work, as the randomness and horror feel that much closer to me. Â I am deeply saddened, saddened as I am by every senseless act of violence, and saddened as a Jew, an American, and a human being.
It is premature to try to make meaning out of something so unthinkable, but I also feel like yesterday’s events cannot go unrecognized at my Seder table. Â They bring a wave of solemnity, as I will be thinking about the people in Kansas City and elsewhere who have family members missing from their own tables because of violent and unexplainable crimes. They also demand a recognition of of good fortune, that we have one more day to celebrate life with those we love the most. Â While we may be thinking of those we have lost, we must celebrate the joy of the present moment. Â They remind us of the need to constantly strive for a better world, that the work is not over, and it will never be completed by a single generation. Â On Passover, I am reminded that we are all members of the community of the human race, and that the price of our freedom is the responsibility of looking out for one another. Â For today, that means sending a little bit of extra love to Kansas City, and a challenge to think even harder about what we might do tomorrow to repair the world.
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