We are deeply saddened by the shooting that occurred earlier today at Chabad of Poway just outside San Diego. We send our prayers to the congregation, to all of Poway, to the Jewish people broadly, and to faith communities throughout the world.
As you know, BJBE has embarked on several additional security protocols and initiatives over the past year to enhance protection of our congregation and congregants. Our security committee meets regularly to discuss potential risks at BJBE and determine the best ways to address them. We have a new security guard team that is working with us; you likely have noticed our officers during services; during JLC on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday; as well as at many other events during the day and evening. These guards are all off duty police officers.
In addition, we have restricted entry to the congregation to the front door only, with other doors being locked, except under very limited circumstances. Many of you have key cards that provide building access and we encourage those of you who do not yet have a card, to please contact the office.
Finally, we ask that all of our congregants and visitors always say something if you see something that does not look or seem right. Please speak with someone in the office or speak with one of the security guards.
Now more than ever it is important that we come together as a community unified both by our faith and also our commitment to keep our synagogue safe.
Rabbi Karyn Kedar and Cantor Jennifer Frost
Tracy Friend and Lisa Wilson, Co-Presidents, BJBE
Jill Rhodes and Mark Brodson, Co-Chairs, BJBE Security Task Force
A Note from Rabbi Fenster:
Like you, I am searching for answers. Like you, I am sad, in shock, angry, afraid, and heartbroken. And, like you, I will not let hate defeat me. Like you, I will not allow terror to deny my convictions. Like you, I will insist that the sanctuary is a place of solidarity, comfort, resolve, and peace. Like you, I will proudly stand arm in arm with sisters and brothers who will join us to build a world worthy of our prayers.
As more information emerges, and as a community recovers, and as we reflect on the events of the past six months, I share this prayer with you:
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים
(Eil malei rachamim)
God of Compassion, this is not normal.
It is not normal for weapons to disrupt prayers of freedom and memory.
It is not normal for houses of worship to have protocols for responding to violence.
It is not normal for leaders, partners, and friends to extend thoughts and prayers in the wake of another attack.
God of Peace,
We refuse to accept this as normal.
We refuse to resign to apathy.
We refuse to give in to forces that seek to divide.
We refuse to allow time to dull our moral outrage.
רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל תִּקוָה
(Ribono shel tikvah)
Master of Hope,
In the face of hate, strengthen our hearts to insist on love.
In the face of darkness, uncover our eyes to find sparks of Your light.
In the face of violence, open our hands so we might extend them in peace.
To those we have lost, grant perfect rest under the sheltering presence of your love.
To those who are in pain, grant wholeness, comfort, and healing.
To those who survive, grant us the faith, courage, and wisdom we need to build a world of peace.