Response to Parkland, Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Friends,

 

I want to touch base with all of you in the aftermath of the tragic shooting yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

 

It was Valentine's Day--a day of celebrating love, and Ash Wednesday--a day of expressing faith.

 

Seventeen people, ranging from 14 to 49 years old, went to school to learn and to work, and their lives came to a tragic, and senseless end. 

 

There are stories of teachers and staff heroically ushering children to safety and losing their own lives in their efforts to shelter their students.

 

Teachers, students,  a coach , a dancer, a musician, a soccer player. Eight girls and women, nine boys and men, ranging from 14 years old to 49 years old.  All too young to die.

 

Eight school shootings  thus far at U.S, schools in 2018.  It is mid-February, friends.

 

We are shaken to the core, and at the same time, we are less and less stunned each time we turn on the news because it is happening so often, we have begun to get accustomed to the words: "Another school shooting...."

 

We may already have begun to forget that less than a month ago, a 15 year old student opened fire at a Kentucky high school, killing two students and injuring 18.  

 

It is hard to believe that the fifth anniversary of Sandy Hook passed in December, with no new gun control laws being passed, and nothing on the horizon.

 

Nineteen year olds cannot buy beer, but they can obtain guns.

Something is terribly, terribly wrong with this scenario, whatever one's politics.

 

We grieve along with the families of these seventeen victims, who did nothing more but go to school.  

But teddy bears, and candlelight vigils, and prayers are not enough.

 

Please, please, make your voices heard on this matter.  Lobby, write letters, call your congressman, support organizations like Ceasefire NJ.

 

As we hold our loved ones tighter in the wake of this recent horror,  let's search in our hearts for how we can work toward an end to this. May we never, ever, accept this as the "new normal" for our country.

 

Holding you all in extra care at this time,

 

Rabbi Marsha J. Friedman

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