I am a person who is full of words. I am a writer, a poet, a sermonizer, a blogger, a talker. Lots and lots of words.

And sometimes words escape me.

I don’t know how to convey the sorrow I feel at this one-year anniversary of the horrific murders at Tree of Life Synagogue on a lovely Shabbat morning.

I don’t know how to convey the anxiety I feel when I hear of yet another mass murder, in yet another city. I wonder, do I know someone there? And then I think, does it matter if I know anyone? Were children killed? But, does it matter how old the victims were?

I don’t know how to tell you about the tears that I can no longer shed. About the hard shell that is forming around my heart, shielding me from feelings that I simply don’t want to feel again.

I cannot begin to tell you how helpless I feel in the face of this onslaught of killings, hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism.

Senseless murders. Kids cowering in school. Armed guards outside our places of worship. Outside my place of worship, the place where I feel most safe, most comforted, most surrounded by the love of a caring community.

I cannot tell you how I feel. But I can tell you what I believe.

Like the unknown person who wrote on a cellar wall in Germany during the Holocaust,

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I cannot feel it.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.

And I believe in us.

I believe with all my heart that normal, everyday citizens like you and me can make a difference.

I believe that our nation is better than this, that humanity is better than this, and I believe that we have the ability and the responsibility to do everything in our power to make our communities safe.

I can’t tell you how I feel; words escape me. But I know what I must do. And I will use my words, my actions, and all of my resources to work to restore sanity and safety.

This is the sermon I gave tonight at our @ShowUpForShabbat service in memory of those who perished at the Tree of Life Synagogue on October 27, 2018.


Memorials in front of the Tree of Life Synagogue after the murders there last year.