Standing Together Against Violence

by Arliene Botnick, February 1, 2017

First we were stunned. It was surreal. The noise was not clattering pans. It was gunshots. We all started running, abandoning our luggage, personal belongings – none of it mattered. We took shelter in corners, behind counters, wherever we could. Arms around one another as if arms could protect us from the bullets. After about 15 minutes of not knowing, we were relieved to see massive security in the airport; police, F.B.I., Homeland. And about 10 hours later, we were told the lockdown was over and slowly we were transported by security buses to a holding warehouse where eventually some 3000 of us were able to find rides and accommodation since all flights were cancelled. Our departure from Florida was delayed 3-6 days.

Five people lost their lives that day. Parents, grandparents, singles returning from vacation. There were the wounded as well, both physically and emotionally.

And we said, thank God. Let’s go home to Canada where it is safe! What a terribly changing world. Because in “safe” Canada on January 29, another unbelievable, senseless shooting. Muslims praying in a Mosque. Fathers, grandfathers, young men, at worship murdered indiscriminately. Six lives lost, families destroyed, more physically and emotionally wounded.

Our hearts go out to all victims of violence. It make no sense. No matter how many times I read about these shootings, bombings, attacks; I have no answer to this depth of hatred.

We are all created in God’s image. Our Rabbis tell us that taking one life is akin to destroying the world. And that’s what these shooters, bombers, destroyers are doing, trying to destroy the world.

We must stand together against this fanaticism, this violence. We must protect one another and understand that when God is challenged by Cain asking if he was his brother’s keeper, the answer is YES. We are responsible for one another. And just as I stood with my family sheltered in a nook being protected by just ‘arms’, we must keep protecting and supporting and respecting one another, and enough “arms around one another” has to succeed. It has to!!

Filed under: Educator's Message

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