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heidi




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 1:59 pm
Someone just forwarded me this letter from the rabbi of the shul in California who lost a congregant and a finger.
----------------------_-------------------------------++++++
A Terrorist Tried to Kill Me Because I Am a Jew. I Will Never Back Down.
I do not know why God spared my life in my Poway synagogue. All I can do is make this borrowed time matter.

By Yisroel Goldstein
Mr. Goldstein is the rabbi of Chabad of Poway, Calif.

April 29, 2019

Today should have been my funeral.

I was preparing to give my sermon Shabbat morning, Saturday, which was also the last day of Passover, the festival of our freedom, when I heard a loud bang in the lobby of my synagogue.

I thought a table had fallen down or maybe even that, God forbid, my dear friend Lori Gilbert Kaye had tripped and fallen. Only a few moments earlier I had greeted Lori there; she had come to services to say Yizkor, the mourning prayer, for her late mother.

I went to the lobby to check on her. What I saw in those seconds will haunt me for the rest of my days.

I saw Lori bleeding on the ground. And I saw the terrorist who murdered her.

This terrorist was a teenager. He was standing there with a big rifle in his hands. And he was now aiming it at me. For one reason: I am a Jew.

He started shooting. My right index finger got blown off. Another bullet hit my left index finger, which started gushing blood.

After the massacre in Pittsburgh, we had a community training. Now that training kicked in. Somehow my brain directed my body to the synagogue ballroom, where the children, including two of my grandchildren, were playing. I ran toward them screaming “Get out! Get out!” I grabbed as many as I could with my bloody hands and pushed them out of the building.

One of our congregants that day, Almog Peretz, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces, ran after me to help get the children to safety and took a bullet in the leg. His eight-year-old niece, Noya Dahan, took some shrapnel to hers. Then an amazing miracle occurred: The terrorist’s gun jammed. Two other heroic congregants — an Army veteran named Oscar Stewart and an off-duty border patrol agent named Jonathan Morales — rushed toward him and he fled.

The ambulances had not yet arrived. We all gathered outside. I don’t remember all that I said to my community, but I do remember quoting a passage from the Passover Seder liturgy: “In every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.” And I remember shouting the words “Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live!” I have said that line hundreds of times in my life. But I have never felt the truth of it more than I did then.

I am a religious man. I believe everything happens for a reason. I do not know why God spared my life. I do not know why I had to witness scenes of a pogrom in San Diego County like the ones my grandparents experienced in Poland. I don’t know why a part of my body was taken away from me. I don’t know why I had to see my good friend, a woman who embodied the Jewish value of hesed (kindness), hunted in her house of worship. I don’t know why I had to watch Lori’s beloved husband, a doctor, faint as he tried to resuscitate her. And then their only daughter, Hannah, sob in agony as she encountered both her parents collapsed on the floor.

I do not know God’s plan. All I can do is try to find meaning in what has happened. And to use this borrowed time to make my life matter more.

I used to sing a song to my children, a song that my father sang to me when I was a child. “Hashem is here,” I would sing, using a Hebrew name for God, pointing with my right index finger to the sky. “Hashem is there,” I would sing, pointing to my right and left. “Hashem is truly everywhere.” That finger I would use to point out God’s omnipresence was taken from me.

I pray that my missing finger serves as a constant reminder to me. A reminder that every single human being is created in the image of God; a reminder that I am part of a people that has survived the worst destruction and will always endure; a reminder that my ancestors gave their lives so that I can live in freedom in America; and a reminder, most of all, to never, ever, not ever be afraid to be Jewish.

From here on in I am going to be more brazen. I am going to be even more proud about walking down the street wearing my tzitzit and kippah, acknowledging God’s presence. And I’m going to use my voice until I am hoarse to urge my fellow Jews to do Jewish. To light candles before Shabbat. To put up mezuzas on their doorposts. To do acts of kindness. And to show up in synagogue — especially this coming Shabbat.

I am a proud emissary of Chabad-Lubavitch, a movement of Hasidic Judaism. Our leader, the great Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, famously taught that a little light expels a lot of darkness. That is why Chabad rabbis travel all over the world to set up Jewish communities: I have colleagues in Kathmandu, in Ghana, as well as in Paris and Sydney. We believe that helping any human being tap into their divine spark is a step toward fixing this broken world and bringing closer the redemption of humanity. It is why 33 years ago my wife and I came to this corner of California to build a house of light.

Because we are obviously Jewish, identifiable by our black hats and beards, it has also meant that some of us have been targets before. Eleven years ago, my colleagues Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who ran the Chabad of Mumbai, India, were murdered with four of their guests. They were targeted by the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba because they were Jewish. And over the years people I know have been harassed and assaulted by thugs in the neighborhood where I grew up, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in incidents that typically go unreported by the press.

In his vile manifesto, the terrorist who shot up my synagogue called my people, the Jewish people, a “squalid and parasitic race.” No. We are a people divinely commanded to bring God’s light into the world.

So it is with this country. America is unique in world history. Never before was a country founded on the ideals that all people are created in God’s image and that all people deserve freedom and liberty. We fought a war to make that promise real.

And I believe we can make it real again. That is what I pledge to do with my borrowed time.
-------_--------+-+_---------------------------------------++++++

That is his letter.

The below is my commentary.

His conclusion from this horrible, anti semitic terror attack? We can make America great again.
Really American Jews?
Don't you know that the Germans living in their beautiful villas also downplayed anti semitic caricatures in newspapers?
They also thought that terror attacks specifically aimed at Jews were isolated incidents.
They thought that Germans were a refined and enlightened people.
That the Jews were well entrenched and vital to the German society.
And when they realized they were wrong they had nowhere to run.
I know.
Israel doesn't have a Target or Costco. Israelis are rude.
Their road manners are non-existent.
But do you not see the writing on the wall? You have elected officials denigrating the Jews in public forums.
Hitler was an elected official.
What are you waiting for?
We will welcome you with open arms .
I hope you open your eyes before it's too late.


Last edited by heidi on Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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flowerpower




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:03 pm
Very scary! I heard there was some vandalism done in a shul in LA too.
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:04 pm
I'm confused. Is the rabbi saying he is moving to Israel?
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:07 pm
allthingsblue wrote:
I'm confused. Is the rabbi saying he is moving to Israel?


I think the last bit was Heidi commenting on the fact that the rabbi said he will try to bring more light to America as opposed to moving to Israel. Or maybe someone else’s comments. And she’s saying that America is not going to be great again because the elected officials are anti semetic and saying that hitler was an elected official too. But comparing Hitler to trump is stupid.


Last edited by mommy3b2c on Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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heidi




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:08 pm
No.
The rabbi is saying he will stay in America.
The point of my post, which I obviously mistakenly thought was crystal clear is:
Why are you Americans living with your heads in the sand? I
Why aren't you moving to the only country in the world that wants you?
I edited the OP.
Hope it's clearer.


Last edited by heidi on Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mommy3b2c




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:10 pm
heidi wrote:
No.
The rabbi is saying he will stay in America.
The point of my post, which I obviously mistakenly thought was crystal clear is:
Why are you Americans living with your heads in the sand?
Why aren't you moving to the only country in the world that wants you?


Because life isn’t that simple. When moshiach comes we will all move to Israel. Maybe before that. Who knows? But this is golus.
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southernbubby




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:10 pm
Lori's husband is asking that Jews return to Judaism via organizations such as Chabad and Partners in Torah. To him, that is the essence of the wake up call.
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:11 pm
heidi wrote:
No.
The rabbi is saying he will stay in America.
The point of my post, which I obviously mistakenly thought was crystal clear is:
Why are you Americans living with your heads in the sand?
Why aren't you moving to the only country in the world that wants you?


You might want to throw in a dotted line or something between the article and your comments, since I thought they were one and the same.
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Rubber Ducky




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:16 pm
Here is a link to the statement on Yeshivaworld.com: https://www.theyeshivaworld.co......html

They cut and pasted it from the New York Times, where it appeared in the Opinion section.

Heidi, can you edit your post to make it more clear where the statement ends and your commentary begins?
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:18 pm
mommy3b2c wrote:
Because life isn’t that simple. When moshiach comes we will all move to Israel. Maybe before that. Who knows? But this is golus.


And yet, it's pretty clear that kibbutz galuyot is one of the earlier stages of geulah, before moshiach reveals himself, while there still is bechirah (aka when we can still say "life isn't that simple").
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heidi




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 2:20 pm
mommy3b2c wrote:
Because life isn’t that simple. When moshiach comes we will all move to Israel. Maybe before that. Who knows? But this is golus.

Yup.
That's exactly what the European Jews ה' יקום דמם said
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heidi




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 3:40 pm
From the dearth of responses I guess I understand.
6 inch heel debates are what really matters.
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SixOfWands




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 3:47 pm
heidi wrote:
From the dearth of responses I guess I understand.
6 inch heel debates are what really matters.


What do you want people to say?

Rabbi Goldstein's statement is very moving. I wish him the best of luck and health, until 120.

The rise in anti-semitism throughout the world is troubling.

So is your comparison between tragic but BH rare occurrences that are not sanctioned by the US government and the murder of 6 million men, women and children through government action.

Most of us presumably have privately invoked Godwin's Law and went about our business.
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allthingsblue




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 3:49 pm
heidi wrote:
From the dearth of responses I guess I understand.
6 inch heel debates are what really matters.


Honestly, at this point all I can do is Daven and try to be a good Jew, thus hastening the geulah. I can't move to Israel now as dh and I wouldn't have jobs...
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asmileaday




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 4:02 pm
I don't think your solution is rational.
Firstly, Israel doesn't even have room for all the Jews of the world.
Secondly, I may get bashed for this, but say what you want Israel IS NOT a safe place. I'm sorry, it just isn't.
I'll wait for Moshiach to gather us all and take us there iy"h.
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doodlesmom




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 4:16 pm
heidi wrote:
No.
The rabbi is saying he will stay in America.
The point of my post, which I obviously mistakenly thought was crystal clear is:
Why are you Americans living with your heads in the sand? I
Why aren't you moving to the only country in the world that wants you?
I edited the OP.
Hope it's clearer.


Israel isn't too desperate for chareidi chassidim either.
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southernbubby




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 4:24 pm
Shuls should have a few armed congregants and an active shooter drill. Armed members can take turns guarding entrances.
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SixOfWands




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 4:49 pm
southernbubby wrote:
Shuls should have a few armed congregants and an active shooter drill. Armed members can take turns guarding entrances.


At Chabad, where new people come all the time? Yizkor, when people come out of the woodwork?

For the NYC police department, hit ratios (hitting the suspect when shooting) were below 30 percent for gunfights (18 percent) and from long ranges (23 percent from more than seven yards away). However, in cases where suspects did not return fire, NYPD officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time. Accuracy levels were above 30 percent when the target was seven yards away or closer (37 percent). Do you really think that armed congregants are going to do better than NYPD? I know everyone wants to be safe. I sure do. But this isn't the answer.
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 4:54 pm
I think you all are forgetting the world is a very small place nowadays. This shooter may very well have been motivated by online forums frequented by people from other countries in the world. The new zealand shooter was Australian.

I think there are some scary trends towards anti semitism in many many western countries today, mirroring a general trend towards extremism. eg trump, corbyn, brexit.

What the USA has in addition to the general worldwide trend is easy access to guns. So a teenager with no terrorist or military background is able to get a gun and shoot 4 people.
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giselle




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Apr 30 2019, 5:04 pm
heidi wrote:
From the dearth of responses I guess I understand.
6 inch heel debates are what really matters.


Your hostile comments are not going to help get responses.
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