As the rabbi of our community, it feels very important to write after the terrible events at the Ariane Grande concert in Manchester earlier this week. Our Jewish tradition is full of words, ritual and language for describing our experiences and for marking our losses. Yet even a culture such as ours sometimes lacks the words to speak of the reality that we face. I suppose that is realistic. Our world is not the world of our ancestors, not exactly, and so we in every generation will need to find the language and the tools to deal with our own reality. Looking back over this past week, there is only a visual memory…the faces of those young people, and their parents. Their sense of excitement, their special occasion. How can we respond to this pain, to this terrible communal loss? I wish that we too could place candle where they were lost, or to stand with the crowd and sing, and give each other strength. But Manchester is quite far away.
We will have to gather up our courage to carry on with our lives, to push aside the everyday anxieties, large and small. This is a very important time to be available to the young people in our community in particular, because however hard it is for us as adults to think about this terrible attack, it was in a way an attack all the more on them, on their dreams and on the things they love. Perhaps more than ever we will have to dig deep into our own Jewish resilience, and remember, as far as we can, our capacity to focus on life. Using our rituals and our blessings to acknowledge the holiness of all of life, and the language of our progressive traditions to face up to the brutal reality of these destructive and death-dealing ideologies. I hope that you have a peaceful Shabbat.