To the editor:
Our Jewish heritage teaches us to turn things over again and again to understand them and to learn from them. In allowing time to collect my thoughts and to consider this violent attack on Har Nof synagogue that initially left me speechless, I find that I cannot escape the irreparable rending of the universal fabric of our collective spirituality.
When the two disturbed men filled with hate entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, their act of terror, as horrific as it was, was infinitely augmented by the fact that this heinous attack was perpetrated upon innocent people whose lives were devoted to the reparation and healing of others and the perfection of our world as well as the fact that it occurred in a place where people convene to bridge the gap between human beings and the divine.
As human beings, we are outraged and disturbed and saddened; we demand justice and succumb to anger. As Jewish spiritual leaders, however, we are even more devoted to our path of healing. We see evil in the world and wish to blot it out with God's love. We see brokenness and terror and disturbance and seek to channel Divine harmony.
In so doing, we offer prayers for those who have passed through this life; may all of their lives be remembered for a blessing.
Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, leaves behind his wife, Breina, six children and grandchildren.
Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, 43, leaves behind his wife, Yakova, and five children ranging in age from 5 to 16.
Rabbi Kalman Ze'ev Levine, 55, leaves behind his wife, Chaya, nine children and five grandchildren.
Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, leaves behind his wife, Miriam, five children and grandchildren.
First Sgt. Zidan Nahad Seif, 30, the heroic Israeli-Druze police officer, the first responder to the attack, leaves behind his wife, Rinal and 4-month old daughter, parents and five siblings.
We ask for prayers for their families and loved ones so that they may begin healing from this horrific event that has caused so much suffering.
In addition to those who fell at the hands of two men (and those who support their ungodly acts) who chose to disrespect God's ways and one of humanity’s most sacred contracts in desecrating prayer, we keep in our hearts and pray for a speedy and complete healing for those still suffering from the wounds, physical and psychological, imposed upon them by the twisted will of two men.
The most seriously injured among them are: Eytan Ben Sara, Moshe Ben Atara, Aryeh Ben Bracha, Chaim Yechiel Ben Malka and Shmuel Yeruchem Ben Baila.
May the mourners be comforted, may those in need of healing be made whole, and may we all remember how precious is each life and each moment, especially those spent in spiritual reflection and in community.
Jews know all too well the stinging hand of suffering without cause. May this memory fade with a future of unending days of peace and a world filled with God's love.
Rabbi Gerald R. Fox
President, South Jersey Board of Rabbis and Cantors