by Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback

Monday, April 29, 2019

As we were celebrating the last day of Passover, another Shabbat was shattered by violence. Our hearts hurt for and with our sisters and brothers in Poway; we mourn for the loss of life, pray for strength and healing for those injured as well as for the Chabad community in Poway and our entire community as we walk through this tragedy.

In the Psalms of Hallel, chanted during Passover, we cry out to God from the “narrow places,” and are assured that God answers expansively; over and over, the message of Passover is one of hope. And so, even as we mourn—as we are angry and sad and worried—we will not give in to despair. We will continue—publicly and proudly—to come together as a community to learn and grow and celebrate as Jews. We will combat anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred of all forms wherever and whenever they are found and we will never, ever succumb to fear.

Our Religious School returned from our Passover break on Sunday and on Monday, Wise School resumed. Our security team has taken all necessary precautions to continue to provide for our safety.

On Sunday, I joined clergy and congregants from the entire Los Angeles Jewish community for Remembering for the Future: A Community-wide Yom HaShoah Commemoration in Pan Pacific Park. The afternoon event honored the memories of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust with an intergenerational focus. Through music and survivor testimonies, we reflected and remembered together.

We know that these conversations—about growing anti-Semitism and its effects today—are challenging. They are conversations that we will continue to have in partnership with you and your children. On the evening of May 19, after our last day of Religious School, I will host a dialogue at Wise with Elan Carr, the U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism. You may learn more and RSVP for the event here.

In the midst of this all, the clergy, staff, and leadership of Wise join me in expressing the hope that your Passover was joyous and celebratory. We wish you—and all the world—a week of peace.


Rabbi Yoshi