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From Deep Sadness to Profound Joy

02/22/2017 03:35:29 PM

Feb22

A feeling of shock and sadness enveloped me as I read about the vandalism at the Jewish cemetery in Saint Louis. A cemetery is sacred and hallowed ground. Wreaking havoc within one is more than an act of prejudice. This is the land where we say our last good byes to loved ones, where we shed tears of deep sadness and where we visit to remember the beautiful lives that were a part of our life. Vandalism in a cemetery is much worse than hate speech; it is hatred in action.

Visions of the cemetery in Jewish Warsaw return to my heart. Desecration by the Nazis was rampant. Headstones were overturned and used for construction of walls and roads.I can only imagine the pain of the surviving family members as they watched the most sacred space of their family members desecrated.

We are living in a new reality. In the past few weeks many dozens bomb threats have plagued Jewish institutions. Swastikas have been discovered on University campuses and Neo-Nazis like hate groups now number over 900 in the United States. Sadly, I often wonder when our little Jewish community will know some form of this virulent hatred.

Then, in the midst of my sadness, I read an article detailing how within days of the cemetery desecration in Saint Louis the Muslim community had raised $20,000 to help fix the destruction. My heart soared. This act of compassion and kindness is worth so much more than the generous amount of money raised. In the midst of fire laden hatred a new alliance is forged. Jews and Muslims across the country are finding ways to support each other. History is changing. From despair, a new light is shining. I find beauty in this new alliance.

Jews and Muslims in America may create a new reality. Brought together because of rampant hatred towards both of our communities, we are finding that there can be more that unites us than divides us. Our pain is real and it is deep but so is our joy at newfound friends.

Tue, September 17 2019 17 Elul 5779