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10/24/2019 08:53:42 AM


Rabbi Brad Levenberg

The note was passed to me in the middle of a b'nei mitzvah service: there has been a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. My heart sank as I felt for those who were present at the Tree of Life synagogue that morning, those who were injured, those who would soon be preparing for funerals. It did not occur to me during those initial moments that we had crossed a barrier, a threshold, a line that had not been crossed in the story of anti-Semitism in this country. But I was on the bima, and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to interrupt the service to share the news with those assembled. I looked at the kids leading the service and I wanted to preserve their innocence for just a few…more…minutes.
The outpouring of love and support from neighboring congregations was immediate and overwhelming. We received emails from our clergy partners declaring solidarity and we received notes of condolence from Holy Innocence and Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Zainabia center, our Muslim communal partner in Sandy Springs. 
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) declared the following Shabbat to be #ShowUpForShabbat and invited Jews and non-Jews to show up at a synagogue for Shabbat services on Friday night or Saturday morning. And our Temple Sinai community was bursting at the seams that Shabbat, with standing-room-only in the Freeman Family Chapel that Shabbat morning. I led that service and felt the warm embrace of a community declaring “we are with you” and “never again” and “this rise of anti-Semitism is not us.” 
It’s hard to believe that it has been a year.
This Shabbat, in commemoration of the tragedy at Tree of Life last year, the AJC is once again calling on Jews and non-Jews to #ShowUpForShabbat. On Friday evening, during our service, we will offer a special liturgical selection to commemorate this sad Yahrzeit. As well, the Consul General of Germany, Dr. Heike Fuller, will be delivering the sermon. To the best of my knowledge, the Consul General of Germany has never graced our bima. And I know for a fact that Consul General Fuller has never spoken during a service at a synagogue. 
This Shabbat is most certainly one for which we should all show up. We are stronger together, and, this Shabbat, together we will be.
Shabbat Shalom,

Sat, July 4 2020 12 Tammuz 5780