There is HOPE AMIDST HATE. Hatred erupted with 14 pipe bombs being mailed to Democrats and those opposed to President Trump. Hatred erupted when a White Supremicist killed two Black people on Kroger’s property in Tennessee. Hatred erupted when an Anti-Semite killed 11 Jews with an AR-15 at Tree of Life Temple in Pittsburg. Hatred erupted when President Trump downplayed the events and continued his twitter and campaign rants against “fake news” and opponents, exhibiting minimal empathy. Hatred erupted when he bullied himself into visiting the memorials of the Mt. Zion victims when he was repeatedly told he was not welcome, tone-deaf to assuming any responsibility for creating an environment for hatred. Sadly, the President became an object of hatred by many which in turn caused many of his followers to hate those who criticized the President.

Hope shined when thousands showed up at vigils to remember, weep and empathize. Hope shined when thousands gathered at Mt. Zion Temple in St. Paul, Minnesota for a Tree of Life Vigil. Standing room only with more people standing outside! The sound of the Shofar commenced the occasion. The speakers were men and women across the faith spectrum: Christian, Muslim and Jewish. Hope shined when Rev. Nancy Nord Bence of Protect Minnesota spoke of rolling away the stone of opposition against gun violence protection laws, citing the story of Jesus and Lazarus. Hope shined when Muslim women spoke of resistance and the call to vote. Hope shined when Sami Rahamin, who lost his father to gun violence, spoke of the preciousness of life and the support he was shown by the Temple Minions who supported him in his grief. Hope shined when Rabbi Sim spoke of the need for community in helping us move through this tragic time. Hope shined when all of the inter-faith leaders gathered on the chancel to sing and provide inter-faith witness of our ONENESS for life against gun violence.

Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker, vigil presider, focused our ONENESS by reminding the gathering that we are all created in the IMAGE OF GOD. God gathers us, loves us so we can love together, weep together, create change together, to bring forth gun violence prevention into reality. Shalom!


Ron Letnes