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05/17/2022 04:53:58 PM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

198. That is the number of mass shootings that have occurred in the United States since the beginning of the year. The number averages out to ten mass shootings every week. I just shake my head, but no longer in disbelief or amazement. Not even shock nor dismay. I feel anger, outrage, and disgust. Last year there were 693 mass shootings, which is nearly two every day. What has happened to America that people feel that their only solution to their perceived malaise is to shoot others?   The fact that Black Americans were apparently specifically targeted in Buffalo, with the Jewish community being blamed for the presence of immigrants in the United States, bodes poorly for the safety of both of our communities. The screed of the alleged shooter demonstrates the identical paranoia that the alleged Tree of Life shooter wrote about, which tells me that fears that have been labelled “The Great Replacement Theory” continue to grow unabated. The mass shootings in so many different places can be reduced to this same line of thinking.

Unless you are a Native American, you are the product of a family that at some point immigrated to the United States. It is very possible that any one of the immigrant aid organizations that exist today might have assisted your forebears in their resettlement in a strange land. Apparently is was acceptable to aid your family, but it is not acceptable to aid other families if they are not the same as you. We continue to see H speech devolve into violence, as the mix of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia is a toxic brew propelling far too many to act in ways unimaginable. How someone who considers themselves a true American, and proudly states that they love America, can abhor the vast majority of Americans is a mathematical quandary that I do not have an answer for.

The roots of this disenfranchisement go deep, and focus upon education, employment, financial comfort, and control. When you learn H at the kitchen table, by the time you are partially through your public school years, it is not possible for even the best education to unlearn what your parents have taught you, because your parents are your primary teachers. I regularly use the metaphor of a weed, that we must carefully excise the root if we want to eliminate H. We must also find ways not to focus on the symptoms, but on real, deep and lasting solutions. Every American must have an equal opportunity for a quality education leading to a quality job with a good income and benefits. We are not succeeding in these areas. Rather, the underclass is growing in permanence and percent of all Americans. There are wonderful people throughout our nation working really hard in communities to address these inequalities. They frequently toil in anonymity, and do not always have the financial support necessary to grow their outreach and increase their impact. This should be what good government does: come up with creative and workable solutions to the challenges that face Americans.

In the meantime, as the H and the violence it begets grows, we must work even harder and partner with the Black community, communities of immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community and all communities that face various forms of prejudice. As a collective voice, we must support each other and take the strength of our commonalities to effect change. Future generations will look back upon us. What will they see?


Sat, July 2 2022 3 Tammuz 5782