On behalf of Congregation Brith Sholem, I am writing to express gratitude for the outpouring of love and support from people throughout the Ogden area. After the massacre in Pittsburgh, Jews across the nation were shaken and deeply distressed. The perpetrator had taken out his fury and resentment against our people as they gathered to worship in peace. In response to this heinous act, American Jews resolved not to give in to terror or to hide our grief but rather to stand in unity with Pittsburgh. That week, there were vigils and memorial services. At Brith Sholem, opportunities to express both grief and solidarity were planned during our usual Shabbat (sabbath) services and an additional service on Saturday evening. We never dreamed that the services would draw standing-room-only crowds where non-Jews greatly outnumbered Jews. Many were members of other faith traditions. All were welcome. When we sang, we sang with full voices, and when we prayed, we prayed with full hearts. The presence of our brothers and sisters buoyed all of us up. By reminding ourselves as a community that the good will never bow to the evil among us, we all did our part to light candles in the face of darkness. In the words of Elie Wiesel, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” And, I would add, to show our resolve to build a better world.

Judi Amsel


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