We Cannot Stand Idly By

Message in Reaction to Mass Murders, May 2022

In the span of ten days, this nation has been stunned by the two mass murders. On May 14, a man twisted with racism and antisemitism targeted a supermarket frequented by people of color. He murdered 10. Of those shot, 11 were Black and two were White. Yesterday, another deranged man committed the unconscionable crime of targeting school children at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Twenty-one innocent people were murdered, including 19 children. Many others were wounded. Words cannot adequately express our sorrow and outrage.

In both cases the murderers were heavily armed and wore protective body armor. In a more innocent age, we might say that it is unfathomable why a citizen would want to own body armor. Unfortunately, we know that it is not unfathomable. Those who purchase body armor are preparing for violent confrontation. That police, the military, and professional security personnel require body armor and automatic weapons is understandable. But the stockpiling of arms and body armor by citizens has led to a plague of violence that must be stopped. We have witnessed too many mass murders take place in the United States. To the nightmarish memories of Columbine High School, the Aurora theater, the King Soopers in Boulder, the Walmart store in El Paso, Sandy Hook Elementary, the nightclub in Orlando, the concert in Las Vegas, and Tree of Life Synagogue, we now add Buffalo’s Tops Friendly Market and Robb Elementary School to the list of shame that stains the morale of our nation.

Following the clear expression of fear and frustration by the majority of American voters, our elected leaders can no longer stand idly by and do nothing. 

As we do every year, Temple Sinai will honor the memory of the men and women who died defending our nation on the Erev Shabbat before Memorial Day. Veterans will offer special prayers and tributes as we reflect on the lives loss in the defense of our liberties. How sad it is that we will need to add the names of more victims to our Kaddish list this week. We will think of innocent victims who died and pray for their families who will forever carry the grief caused by the murderous actions of a heavily armed and protected monster who stole from them life and liberty.

Please join us Friday night at 6:00 pm for prayer.


Rabbi Richard S. Rheins
Senior Rabbi Temple Sinai