We’re all grateful that the attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Texas ended with congregants and rabbi safe, but we’re shaken, too. It’s not unusual to feel scared or angry, helpless or sad after an occurrence like this. You are not alone: Your Berith Sholom family is here for you now and always. Please reach out to Rabbi Gordon or President Beth Hershenhart if you or your kids want to talk. If you find yourself continuing to dwell on this attack, or feeling stuck, please schedule a time to talk with Rabbi or call a mental health professional. Jewish Family Services provides counseling at reasonable rates, both in person and over phone and zoom. You can reach the organization at 518-516-1126 or visit https://jfsneny.org/programsservices/counseling/
We want you to know that the Board of Trustees reviews our safety and security plans on a regular basis and will do so again in light of this attack. To quote Rabbi Cytron-Walker, in an interview with The Forward, “It’s such a random occurrence, and the percentages are so low. I have literally led thousands and thousands of services at Congregation Beth Israel, and this was the first time we had such a traumatic incident. We have to be hospitable and we have to be secure. And we have to find ways to strike that balance.”
We are also working with our local Jewish Federation to bring to our area the kind of training that Rabbi Cytron-Walker writes about, which helped save their lives: “Over the years, my congregation and I have participated in multiple security courses from the Colleyville Police Department, the FBI, the Anti-Defamation League, and Secure Community Network.” Like CPR training, we hope we never have to use it. But the rare times when it happens, the more people who are trained, the better.
Below, we have gathered some resources — practical, liturgical, and philosophical — for responding, comforting, and planning. As you find additional resources, please share them in our “Members and Friends of Berith Sholom” Facebook group, or email the office with them.
Each time we are confronted with violence we’re shaken out of complacency. So we affirm Am Yisrael chai! We, the Jewish people, still live! We pray, Ufros aleynu sukkat sh’lomecha — Eternal One, spread over us your sukkah of peace. And we renew our commitment to action: learning to protect ourselves and others, forming strong connections between communities to combat hatred, and working to heal the world.
Wishing you peace and comfort,
Debora S. Gordon, Rabbi Beth Hershenhart, President
To contact President Beth Hershenhart, email: President@BerithSholomTroy.org
To schedule time with Rabbi Gordon, follow this link: Calendly.com/RebDebGordon
A prayer of healing for the hostages, congregation, and community of Colleyville:
“Imagine It’s Christmas: A Reflection on the Tragic Events in Colleyville, Texas” by Leah Wolff-Pellingra, who served as our High Holy Day Cantorial Soloist for several years:
“Jewish Resources for Coping with Acts of Terror”
Links to resources for parents and educators; for prayer; for action.
“Helping Children to Process Acts of Terrorism”
“After Colleyville: A Renewed Focus on Synagogue Safety and Security."
Also contains links to prayers, songs, and resources for speaking with children.
“9 Things to Consider When Creating an Inclusive Security Plan”
“Texas rabbi details standoff: Gunman ‘literally thought that Jews control the world’”
“I have been racially profiled by the police. I still want them protecting our synagogues”