Heartbreak into Shabbat: Rabbi Timoner’s Message to the Community after the Christchurch Shooting

Dear CBE Community,

As we prepare for Shabbat, our hearts are broken from the murderous hate that killed 49 Muslims during prayer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Before killing and wounding innocent worshippers, the murderer released a manifesto citing American white nationalism as his inspiration. With Pittsburgh still so clear in our memories, we know how threatened and vulnerable all Jews felt after our own people were targeted in one of our holy places. We also know what it felt like when the larger community stood with us to make clear that we were not, and would not be, alone. We remember in particular how the Muslim community encircled us with their love and support.

As I write this, there is an interfaith prayer vigil taking place in Washington Square Park in Manhattan. Over the coming days, we will be identifying additional opportunities to show up collectively for our Muslim brothers and sisters, and we will be sharing those with you.

This is Shabbat Zachor when, in preparation for Purim, we remember Amalek, who attacked and killed the weakest among our people when we escaped from Egypt. Amalek is understood by our tradition to be the force of hate that seeks to destroy the vulnerable and the stranger in every generation. We commit on this Shabbat not only to remember but also to blot out that force in this generation, by standing up to white nationalism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism wherever they emerge.

We pray on this Shabbat for healing for the wounded, comfort for the mourners, and true peace among us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Timoner