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Poway: From Darkness to Light

Friday, 3 May, 2019 - 2:10 pm

Once again America has been shaken by another horrific shooting last Saturday at the Chabad Center in Poway. Once again, it’s a young teenager who, we are told, had everything going for him and was destined to a glorious future and no one who knew him can believe he did this. Once again, innocent life was cut short and others wounded in this senseless act of anti-Semitism. Once again the pundits, Media professionals, Politicians, psychologists, Radio and TV hosts and syndicated writers all over the fruited plain are busy analyzing the brain and mentality of John Earnest and are trying to figure out what got into him. I am sure the ‘professionals’ have this killer’s profile all spelled out and can tell us exactly when and why he went off the deep end.  

I am sorry my friends; the question is not what got into him but rather what did not get into him.

What unfortunately did not get into him and so many other young Americans is the simple truth that there is a G-d who created the world and every human being in it in his image.

What did not get into him is that there is a higher authority who created both, Lori Kaye and John Earnest, for a purpose and that G-d needed them to live here on earth as free people with a mission to fulfill.

What did not get into him was that life has meaning and value and that the world is not a jungle.

What did not get into him was that skin color and ethnicity is irrelevant to G-d. We are all created with a unique soul and He needs every one of us without exception to do our part in making this world a place where G-d can feel at home.

How unfortunate it is that these simple truths did not make their way into this monster’s consciousness.

The question is why? Why does the obvious not make it into the thought process of our youth?

The Heroic Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, gave the answer to millions who watched him and listened to him. But first a few words on this incredible human being. If you tuned in to him over the past few days you saw a Jew, whose soul is on fire. You saw an emissary of G-d inspiring millions from his hospital bed to stand tall and turn darkness into light. You saw a man who without his index fingers pointed towards G-d and helped millions rediscover those above mentioned truths. What a Jew. What a Chassid. What a Shliach (emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe). He is the envy of so many fellow religious leaders. No one envies the ordeal he experienced, but perhaps many envy the emergence of a wholesome soul who rose to the occasion and proved to the world that G-d lives, Judaism lives, Chassidism lives and basic human dignity lives.

Rabbi Goldstein was invited yesterday to attend the national day of Prayer held on the White House lawn during which President Trump asked him to speak. The rabbi spoke so eloquently about the past week, how it changed his life for the good and what it all meant to him. Then he spoke about the youth in American and what we need to do to really stem this kind of violence. He said that we have to get back to basics. He implored and spoke about a Moment of Silence in our public school system. That every school day should begin with a Moment of Silence when every child can contemplate life, meaning, purpose and who created them and why. Can you imagine the impact that would have on our youth? This is not a one-time thing. We are talking about every single day for sixty seconds. The parents (not teachers) are the ones who will tell the children what to think about. This is the only real way to change the consciousness of our youth, set them on a path of morality and basic decent behavior and give them a healthy moral compass with which they can navigate and live lives of meaning and purpose.

I know that some of you think this might be trivial. Believe me it is not. This one moment will change the tide. The fact is that millions of children and teens go through years of their life without thinking about G-d at all. It’s sad but true nonetheless. We need to change that. Our founding fathers envisioned a society who would be G-d conscious. They understood that without G-d America will become a jungle. Indeed, it sometimes feels like we are living in a jungle. Last Saturday morning was one such moment. Ever since, Rabbi Goldstein has been transforming the jungle into a home for

If only America listened to him.

The problem with John Earnest is not “what got into him” but “what did not get into him”.

Let’s make sure he is the last killer. Adapt the Moment of Silence.

Shabbat Shalom.

As you might have heard, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway, has urged Jews all over the world to attend Shul services this Shabbat. The Jewish response to such evil and darkness has always been to add more light and goodness. Let us all unite with millions of other Jews around the world and fill our synagogues this Shabbat.  I received this poem and am sharing it with you, as it so powerfully captures the mood, the moment and the call to action to which we must all respond.



And wherever you are : Go To Shul !


Rabbi Yisroel Spalter

Written by Blumie Raskin Abend

This week
I will go to Shul.
For Lori Kaye,
A woman in 2019 who died
Because she was born
A Jew.

I will go to Shul
For my grandfather
Who survived the hellish nightmare
That was Auschwitz
But who’s family
I never knew.

I will go to Shul
For Eva, the instagram poster
Who wanted to live
Who wanted to be a child
But her youth
Was ripped away from her.

I will go to Shul
For Gabi and Rivky Holzberg
Who were murdered
In cold blood
In their home.

I will go to Shul
For baby Shalhevet
The child of Chevron
Who barely lived on this earth
And now occupies a place
On High.

I will go to Shul
For my grandmother
Who’s parents died of starvation
Under Stalin’s rule
Who survived by the skin of her teeth
Through Russian orphanages
And cruel dictatorship.

I will go to Shul
For the Six Million.
I will go to Shul
For the Israeli soldiers.
I will go to Shul
For the Russian progroms.
I will go to Shul
For the Roman massacres.

I will go to Shul
For the heroes of
The Spanish Inquisition.
I will go to Shul
For the Jews sent to Siberia
I will go to Shul
For the Babylonian exile.

I will go to Shul
For my children.
I will go to Shul
For your grandchildren.
I will go to Shul
Even though I can’t help but feel
A tiny bit afraid.

I will go to Shul
To show them we are strong
We are brave.
We are not the people
Who cowered in fear.

This week
I will go to Shul
Because I am a Jew.
Will you


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