Comments from Rabbi Crimmings

On Tuesday evening, March 19, I had the opportunity to stand with other faith leaders at Northwest Islamic Community Center in solidarity and prayer. I was so touched to see so many Bet Shalom members come out in support of our neighbors at this difficult moment.  I know there were many others who wanted to be present but couldn’t and so I’d like to share the brief words of prayer I offered at the service. Please be in touch with me anytime if you are interested in being involved in our ongoing interfaith efforts.

Our hearts are broken over this tragic and senseless loss… for the children who lost parents, parents who lost children, for those who lost a sibling, spouse, friend, mentor, student, community member… There are no words that can bring back the lives of those murdered in a prayer space just like this one, and for this we weep.
And for this we come together to declare that we will not stand idly by as hatred permeates in our midst.  As Jews, we have a responsibility to stand up against all forms of hate, particularly hate that targets individuals for their religious expression.   We have this responsibility not only because we have been targets ourselves, but also, and more importantly because it is our moral imperative.
The terror attack in New Zealand was an act of baseless hatred, called Sinat Chinam in Hebrew.  Sinat Chinam represents the worst kind of hatred, a hatred that is not based in any kind of lived or real experience… but rather prejudice, fear, intolerance.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook taught that the only way to fight Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred, is through Ahavat Chinam, baseless love.  This type of love is an intentional choice to approach those we have never met with openness, honor, and respect.   My prayer tonight is that we can come together in Ahavat Chinam… as neighbors and partners together in the pursuit for love.