21/22 January 2022, 19/20 Shevat 5782

I need to share this as we go into our own Shabbat. Shabbat Yitro where we will read the 10 Sayings that are the backbone to our religious and social commitments. There is something about Congregation Beth Shalom that seems similar to us; a mid sized suburban shul dedicated to be welcoming, open and committed to helping in the world. I watched the healing service for the community; it was, as you can imagine extraordinary. Unpolished, open, generous and gracious. We can learn from this and our commitment to training, safety, security and making those cups of tea for strangers as Rabbi Charlie Citron Walker did.

Statement on the synagogue siege in Texas
By Rabbi Rebecca Birk and Rabbi René Pfertzel
Co-Chairs of the Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors

We watched with horror the events unfolding in Colleyville, Texas, where a gunman took hostage Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and three of his congregants during the Shabbat service. A service where he’d been welcomed.

We were relieved and grateful to see the hostages emerge unharmed after a testing ordeal and we firmly condemn this act, which sadly reflects the madness of our time.

Such a situation is what we’ve all dreaded, when Islam and Judaism are erroneously pitted against each other.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rabbi Cytron-Walker, his family and his community, Beth Israel.

Places of worship are sanctuaries and everyone should feel safe whilst praying.

Rabbi Cytron-Walker’s words now inspire and inform us all, as he declares his thanks and appreciation for his community, his family, the prayers and vigils and most movingly for being alive.

We pray for a world where weapons will be replaced by words, and loving kindness is the foundation of human relationships.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Rebecca