A good person in our community asked me this question at the rally we organized yesterday. And standing there, amongst well over 2,000 community members in an inspiring and important evening, watching incredible teen leaders from Parkland, Florida, our Senator Bob Menendez, our Federation President Scott Krieger, outstanding rabbis, and other leaders in the community speak, here’s my response....
Something must be done, and something must be done now.
We support our young people’s call for common sense gun legislation.
We call on all legislators, both statewide and national, to have the courage to enact common sense measures to combat gun violence.
When you look at the regulations and licensing surrounding something as basic as driving a car, it’s incredible that purchasing and owning a gun, something potentially much more deadly to others, doesn't have similar protective measures.
There’s no easy answer to solving gun violence, but the enormity of the problem requires us to make every effort. That’s why we had a rally. If we don’t, what happened in Parkland will happen again. So... if there's any issue that’s truly bipartisan and Jewish, it's this: saving and protecting the lives of our children.
It wasn’t the job of the rally to solve this problem – lo aleinu hamelacha ligmor – but to continue the discussion here – ve’lo anachnu b’nei chorin lehibatel memena – to give the members of our community an opportunity to mourn together, to engage emotionally, to understand what happened, and to pledge our mutual commitment to work towards a solution.
I’m proud that our Jewish Federation and our community helped to broadcast the voices of our younger generation today. We look forward to their success and will continue to support their efforts in any way we can.
Why did our Federation organize the rally? Because, in the words of Rabbi Avi Friedman of Congregation Ohr Shalom in Summit, we can’t stand idly by when blood is spilled. And because, in the words of our Federation President Scott Krieger, a child’s life is worth more than every law on the books.
Why did our Federation organize the rally? Because in a free society, in Heschel’s words, some are guilty but all are responsible.
Why did our Federation organize the rally? How could we not have?
My deep thanks to my colleagues for their hard work in making last night’s rally happen, to Temple B’nai Abraham for opening their sanctuary to host this important event, and to the thousands in our community who came out in support of these brave kids and to the continued task ahead. We may not finish it soon, but we are not free to desist from starting it either.