With his permission, I share the following from my dear friend, colleague (and Hartman Institute classmate), Rabbi David Cohen, who serves as Senior Rabbi of Temple Sinai in Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
People never think it will happen in their town. Less than 48 hours ago, it happened close by, in Oak Creek; two and a half weeks ago, farther away, in Colorado. All we know – perhaps, all we will ever know – is that when such violence occurs, its effects are felt far and wide. In his poem, “The Diameter of the Bomb “Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai, describes the way circles of influence radiate from “ground zero”:
of the bomb was twelve inches
and the diameter
of its effective range
about twenty-five feet,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a sixty miles,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making a circle with no end and no God.
We stand in silence and in solidarity with the Sikh community of Milwaukee and the community of Aurora, Colorado. We pray “Mi she’Berach,” that healing will come to those who were injured, and to the community, at large. To those who mourn the death of friends and loved ones we offer the tradition’s words:
המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך אבלי ציון וירושלים
HaMakom y’nachem etchem b’toch sha’ar avlei tzion viYirushalyim
May God console you with those who mourn in Zion and Jerusalem.