Vigil

Vigil-Web-8

Rabbis Ariann Weitzman, David Greenstein, Marc Katz, and Elliott Tepperman lead 200 members of the religious, political and social Montclair community at B’nai Keshet to mourn the victims of the Tree of Life massacre at a vigil of prayers, song and support, Sat. night, Oct. 27. Photo © Adam Anik

This past Shabbat the worst attack on Jews in American history took place. Many of us were stunned, horrified, angered and grief stricken. What does one do in such a circumstance?

One answer was provided by our rabbi and our community: Congregation Shomrei Emunah co-sponsored a vigil along with congregations Bnai Keshet and Temple Ner Tamid.

Unfortunately, due to the late hour of the email notice that went out to the congregation about the vigil (it could not be sent out earlier because of Shabbat) there were few Shomrei members in attendance. How I wished our congregants could have been there for this special evening – a chance to come together to share our pain and find comfort in one another’s embrace. Having spoken to a number of our congregants, I know many wished they could have attended.

As Rabbi Greenstein wrote in his email to the congregation on the following Sunday afternoon, “The sanctuary at Bnai Keshet was filled with mourners. We stood together in prayer and song, in silence, in weeping, in reflection and in determination.” We also stood together in gratitude for our communities who sustain us in ways that are incalculable. The sensitivity and humanity of the rabbis and other visiting clergy present set a standard for all of us in dealing with such a tragedy. One couldn’t help but feel that we were blessed to have spiritual leaders on this evening, who understood our needs and created a loving spiritual environment for us to mourn together, to share our thoughts and concerns, and to pray. Other members of the clergy from the area, whether Christian or Muslim provided additional solace and support that touched all those present.

As Shabbat approaches, I urge everyone to attend services this weekend. Shomrei’s President Sara Ann Erichson put it perfectly: “Please join us this Shabbat as a symbolic act of solidarity.  What could be a more fitting response to the murders in Pittsburgh?  We are not afraid.  We will not hide.  We are not going to think twice about affirming our identity, faith and community.

 

Rabbi Ariann Weitzman holds the cup of wine for Rabbi David Greenstein's prayers at the vigil at B'nai Keshet  to mourn the victims of the Tree of Life massacre Sat. night, Oct. 27.

Rabbi Ariann Weitzman holds the cup of wine for Rabbi David Greenstein’s prayers at the vigil at B’nai Keshet to mourn the victims of the Tree of Life massacre Sat. night, Oct. 27. Photo © Adam Anik

See additional photos of the event at The Montclair Local

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Nick Levitin

Nick Levitin

Nick joined Shomrei in 2009 and is a past president of the shul. Almost since joining, Nick has been interested and involved in every aspect of the synagogue while also volunteering for many active roles. Nick runs his own photo portrait business and is Shomrei's unofficial photographic historian. He attends Shomrei with his wife, Audrey and children Nina and Josh.
Nick Levitin

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