A pit in our stomachs: thinking about Poway

Yesterday morning, many in the Kavana community were marking the 8th day of Pesach with a truly beautiful and uplifting Shabbat/Festival morning service. Unbeknownst to us at the time, 1250 miles south, Jews similarly gathered were experiencing a terrifying attack on their synagogue. Just six months after the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, it leaves a pit in our stomachs to think that perhaps this is becoming a pattern.

Yesterday morning, many in the Kavana community were marking the 8th day of Pesach with a truly beautiful and uplifting Shabbat/Festival morning service.  Unbeknownst to us at the time, 1250 miles south, Jews similarly gathered were experiencing a terrifying attack on their synagogue. Just six months after the attack on Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, it leaves a pit in our stomachs to think that perhaps this is becoming a pattern.

The topic comes up regularly among Kavana's leadership, of course, of how we can achieve the proper balance for our own community... taking hate-crimes and attacks on places of worship seriously and putting appropriate security measures in place, and yet not letting fear drive our decision-making or our community's culture. We are committed to continuing to walk that fine line.

We are also gratified that at times of crisis, people show up to be together in person. This week, we have a full slate of Kavana events... and two seem like particularly appropriate ones to point folks towards: 1) the Yom HaShoah Commemoration this Wednesday night, with local author Karen Treiger (distressingly relevant, and our memorial prayers will serve double duty), and 2) our monthly Friday night service (always a salve after a distressing week). Both will be opportunities to be in community -- to sing and pray, to give and receive hugs, to grieve together and feel empowered together.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is offering several Safety Training workshops the week of May 13th that are open to the community. If you are interested in attending on behalf of the Kavana community, please click here for more info and also email us to let us know that you are registering.

Meanwhile, we extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert Kaye z"l and healing prayers to the others who were physically injured and/or traumatized at Chabad of Poway this morning. We at Kavana will continue advocating for the kind of sensible gun legislation that will keep weapons out of the hands of those who intend to do harm to others. We will continue condemning antisemitism, and also white nationalist / white supremacist ideologies. We resolve to combat hateful actions and also hateful speech by spreading love and compassion.

Yesterday morning's haftorah offered us a vision of a world redeemed... one in which "the wolf shall lie down with the lamb" and "you shall draw water in joy from the springs of salvation" ("ushavtem mayim b'sasson mimayenei ha-yeshuah"). May we find the strength to continue charting the course towards this vision, even when the path feels long and winding.

In grief, solidarity and hope, as we head into the new week,

Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum & Rabbi Josh Weisman