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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. But it is the day of our first Seder, and it is impossible not to think about how this impacts our celebration of freedom. 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. My heart goes out to their loved ones as they try to face this new and bitter day. 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. 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. 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. 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. While we may be thinking of those we have lost, we must celebrate the joy of the present moment. 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. 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. 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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