These people have inspired us all.

 

Dear Friends,   

Right now, we pray for the people in Oklahoma:  the families, the first responders, anyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy. Most of us, fortunately, can only imagine the devastation and how the lives of these people will not be the same for a very long time.

When I was a child, my mother would sometimes come upon two of my other brothers arguing.  She would look at me and say, "What's going on?"  

I would reply, "I didn't do anything…"   

"That's the problem,"  she would reply. "You have to DO something!"

In Jewish law, if you just stand by, you are not innocent:  you are guilty for doing nothing.  It clearly says in Leviticus, "Do not stand idle by your brother's blood." Remaining passive or neutral is not an option in Judaism.

It is, therefore,  heart-warming to witness the goodness and generosity of so many people who immediately came to the rescue in Oklahoma. 

Rhonda Crosswhite draped her body across six students inside a Plaza Towers Elementary School bathroom stall. She focused on providing what little comfort she could to the screaming and sobbing children beneath her. The tornado of warmth and purity that she created is not limited to Oklahoma—it reverberates across the entire country and beyond, and we admire her and learn from her example.

The courageous teachers in Oklahoma have inspired and touched people across the globe. We’ve all watched the news coverage and heard about neighbors, friends and strangers all helping people get out from the rubble.

I am aware of my dear colleague & friend Rabbi Ovadia Goldman (www.jewishokcrelief.com), who brought in three interns to help and make counseling available to those who had suffered loss, and organize a truckload of 20,000 pounds of meat products and 1,000 pounds of cheese from Kosher companies.

We recognize at least three types of people in this world:  those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who have absolutely no idea of what is happening.  I want to salute all those people who had the compassion and courage to take action, especially as my colleague Rabbi Ovadia Goldman did. He stands as a role model for the way in which we try to teach responsibility to our youth. 

As we celebrated our amazing 9th Hebrew School graduation, what better way to illustrate to those children who will no doubt be our future leaders, how to help make the world a better place, than by using a living example?  We were so excited to see not just the progress the children had made in Hebrew, but also in their characters:  Hebrew School is not just about language, it's also about how to live, and how to connect with Hashem in order to bring healing and clarity to what often seems to be a very dark world. We know we have succeeded when we have achieved these goals.

Click here to see the Graduation Celebration photos.

These people have inspired us all. Let’s take that inspiration and translate it into action.

With many blessings,

Rabbi Fishel & Ettie Zaklos