This past Sunday we gathered as a synagogue family with children as young as 12 years old to raise our voices, share our feelings, and learn what meaningful action we can take to reduce gun violence in our community. This was a hard, heart-wrenching conversation. The feelings of fear, anger, and sadness expressed by our middle school and high school students cut to the very core our being. We reinforced the need to voice these feelings, and that as their rabbis and cantor, we will always be “safe adults” to whom they can turn.
We know our Temple Emanu-El family does not stand alone in the need to give voice to these feelings or take action. The Atlanta Rabbinical Association (ARA) has organized around the cause of gun violence prevention, and Temple Emanu-El is working collaboratively with each synagogue in the Atlanta area on this issue.
Just over four weeks since the shooting in Parkland, Florida and a movement of citizens fed up with unmitigated gun violence is beginning to mobilize. As a Jewish community, we emphasize that we use prayer as the impetus to action. We pray for the healing when we are sick, and we also go to the doctor. We pray for safety in our homes and schools, but we must also take real action to see that peace is a reality. This coming Shabbat, March 24th, we will pray with our feet. We will march for our lives.
Abraham Joshua Heschel, the great rabbi of the civil rights movement, spoke of his protest as prayers of the feet. For him and for us, we must show our communities and our elected representatives that we will not stand idle by the blood of our children while more of our students remain vulnerable to gun violence. Therefore, JOIN US this Saturday, March 24th @9:30am for the Atlanta March for Our Lives. Please register online at http://bit.ly/marchwithURJ
At 9:30 am we will meet at the Hilton Garden Inn downtown, which is around the corner from the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Our teens will help us begin this march with intention and Jewish spirit. At 10:30am we will make our way to the start of the march. We will proceed from the Center for Civil and Human Rights at 11:00 am to the State Capital and conclude at around 1:00 pm.
If you have any questions or concerns about the march or the cause of gun violence prevention, please reach out to any of the Temple Emanu-El clergy.
As the prophet Micah said of what is required of each of us, “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”