Or Ahavah joins with the LGBTQ community, the residents of Orlando, and others across the globe in horror and outrage for senseless and vicious acts of murder that occurred in the early morning hours on June 12th. We also join them in prayers for strength and healing for those directly affected, for all of us who grieve, and for all who yearn for a better world where acceptance and love overshadow hate, intolerance and self-righteousness.
The murders occurred on Shavuot, the time of joy for the Jewish people who commemorate receiving Torah, especially, the Ten Sayings. Though the rabbis give many reasons for why the mixed multitude standing at Sinai were given Torah, the overarching one is that Torah is the primary way of civilizing us humans who have all kinds of instincts and capacities. The Sixth Saying exhorts: Do Not Murder, but here we were in the wee hours of the morning, as some Jews were up studying to make a tikkun, a fixing for the world, a mass murder overtook people because of their life style choices.
None of us are powerless to do something about hate-based violence and hatred veiled behind religious and social values. There are many avenues to pursue: political, charitable, social and spiritual. Hate-based mass murder because of race, religion and sexual orientation is increasing throughout our world! We cannot let ourselves become indifferent and just assume that this is a fact of life! “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Yes!
Though there is much work to be done, not one of us is powerless! As our sages teach in Mishnah Avot: You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it .
Each year Or Ahavah has a Tzedakah Project for a community organization that may be located anywhere in the world. This year we are raising money for a Jewish organization that actively promotes peace. Donors may have input into the selection, which will be made by board members in August. Funds will be raised through February 2017. A tzedakah box will be available at every Or Ahavah gathering. 100% of donations will go for the selected Jewish peace project.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation but do not ordinarily attend Or Ahavah events and services, you can send a check, made payable to Or Ahavah, 15919 Nottinghill Drive, Lutz, FL 33548. You may also leave a message on our website at orahavah.org about which Jewish based peace project you would like to see selected.
L’Shalom, With peace,
Rabbi Debrah Shenefelt
Barry Shalinsky, Board President
Dr. Robert Norman