January 16, 2022
Dear Members of Temple Emanuel,
Today we breathe a sigh of relief that Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three members of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas survived their harrowing ordeal yesterday. We give thanks that all were reunited with their families and escaped physical harm.
We gathered last night on a Zoom call, with 1000 other Rabbis, Cantors, and leaders of the Union for Reform Judaism, to pray and to comfort each other. We did not yet know what the outcome would be during our time together, but just being together renewed our strength and our courage to face this horrific situation.
We are all aware of the rise of anti-Semitism across this nation and the world. From guards during services to many security improvements made to our campus we are taking seriously this unfortunate reality and what it might mean to our well-being. Just today we hired an additional security guard for United Jewish School classes and a GRPD officer circled our campus numerous times throughout the morning.
But we cannot let those who wish to do us harm keep us away from coming together as a community to worship and study and celebrate. If we do then we allow hate to overshadow our congregation. In times like this we need to lean on each other more than ever, and to remember that we are an extended family.
We share with you what our colleague, Rabbi Hara Person, the Chief Executive of the Central Conference of American Rabbis shared with us last night: As our colleague Marc Katz wrote in piece on antisemitism, “we are a people blessed with perseverance, boldness, and fortitude. Help us to tap into these virtues. All darkness will disappear when we join our light with the light of others. May this happen speedily in our day so that we, along with all humanity, might find our place under our vine and fig tree and none of us shall be afraid. (Micah 4:4)
Please know that we are thinking of every member of our community, and we are here for you in any way we can be. Do not hesitate to contact either of us.
With our thanks to God for yesterday’s outcome,
Rabbi Michael Schadick (Rabbi@grtemple.org)
Cantor David Fair (Cantor@grtemple.org)