For as long as I can remember, Monday has always been a pumped-up zone; a powerful reboot and supercharged start to the work week, awash in all kinds of list-fulfillment and “let’s-do-this-ness.”
And normally, the energy (ahem Jennergy) flows, often to an overflow capacity, which you may have noticed, wink.
But today, despite a list long enough to keep me busy for 10 Mondays, I’m finding it pretty hard – if not impossible – to muster even a kernel of the usual mojo, as my mind – and eyes – stay fixated on the oversized screen images before me of the 11 victims of the vicious hate-motivated shooting at Pittsburgh’s TREE OF LIFE Synagogue this past Saturday, believed to be the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history.
Try as I might to turn the media off and resume focus in my home office, I can’t help but stay riveted to the announcer’s updates and interviews with loved ones and friends of survivors, who, in turn, choking back tears, pay homage to the decent, wonderful people (aged 54-97) who were so tragically killed in yet another senseless, violent mass shooting.
“He was a generous and fun-loving grandfather …” “She was so bright and easy to be around … ” “A powerhouse intellectual … ” “A devoted brother … ” represent just some of the simple but powerful words used to describe the victims.
And, as they continued to be spoken, tears welled and streamed down my face for there is truly no difference between them and my treasured relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues exercising their basic democratic right to attend the religious place of worship of their choice, be it temple, synagogue, church, mosque or other.
Heartbreakingly, all these good citizens did was go about their usual Saturday activities in a usually peaceful, vibrant neighbourhood … only to be met by the worst possible of fates in the confines of what was ironically their most sacred space.
As the tears continue to stream, I ask myself, the universe, and whoever is reading: How can this even be? How many more shootings and tragic loss of lives will it take for even the most basic actions – agreed upon by the majority of Americans – to be taken?
I ask myself too if many have forgotten how pervasive and impactful are our choice of words and tone? My mother paper, the Montreal Gazette, ran an award-winning campaign a few years back “WORDS MATTER” that so brilliantly underscored just how powerful our words are. I’m guessing reminders are needed, especially for those in great positions of power ….
That said, this is not a traditionally political space (I reserve that for the brand new Instagram sister handle @diaryofapolitigal) but still can’t help but ask the questions here as well on a day when still more senseless violence motivated by profound racism and hatred has paralyzed a good community … yet again.
May the greatest power in the world – LOVE – be with the survivors and their loved ones and the loved ones of the victims and may it see the synagogue and congregation through its painful and painstaking rebuilding.
As their courageous Rabbi Jeffrey Myers said to MSNBC reporter Hallie Jackson in regards to the damage of the hate and terrorism: “They can cut off the branches of our TREE OF LIFE, but the tree will continue to grow.”
Amen. Still choosing love and all the good it can bring in this world.. Evil is no long-term match.