The shooting that left 11 dead Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh is the latest in what has become an all too familiar scenario. Someone with hatred in his heart for a group of people decided to act out with unspeakable violence against innocents. Prior to Tree of Life, we've witnessed such violence at the Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City and a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, to name only a few recent examples.

The emotions that we’ve experience following these attacks are many. Fear, outrage, fatigue, despair, helplessness, hopelessness - people process these horrific acts differently. Yet I would urge everyone, in his or her own way, not to give in to acceptance or tolerance for these hateful actions. While they seem to be a tragic reality in today's world, we as a society cannot normalize this behavior. As Pope Francis stated yesterday while leading prayers for those killed in Pittsburgh, "all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence," so we are praying for God "to help us to extinguish the flames of hatred that develop in our societies."

In times like these it can be difficult to maintain hope that things can change. Yet that is what Jesuit education has done for generations – educated students about differences and tolerance, advocated for peace and social justice and worked for change in an imperfect world.

Let us unite our mind and hearts with our Jewish brother and sisters by praying a prayer of the Kaddish:

Glorified and sanctified be G_d’s great name throughout the world
which was created according to His will.

May G_d establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days,
and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon;

May G_d’s great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored,
adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be the One,
beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that
are ever spoken in the world; Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us
and for all Israel; Amen.

G_d who creates peace in His celestial heights,
may He create peace for us and for all Israel;

Please join me in praying for strength and healing for all those impacted by this attack, and for the victims - Joyce Fienberg, 75; Richard Gottfried, 65; Rose Mallinger, 97; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; David Rosenthal, 54; Bernice Simon, 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Daniel Stein, 71; Melvin Wax, 88; and Irving Younger, 69.

Let us pray for an end to prejudice, ignorance and intolerance.


Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.